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Product – Investment Goods



Laufen Bathrooms AG

Dr. Werner Fischer –

Director Research and Team


SaphirKeramik is a new ceramic material, recently developed by the traditional Swiss company Laufen. It is notable for its extreme stability and hardness. The hardness of the substance results from the admixture of the mineral corundum. Colourless in its pure form, this inspired the name given to the new potter’s earth ceramic – one variety of corundum is sapphire. Thanks to its outstanding hardness and resistance to bending, the material opens up completely new design possibilities even when traditional production processes are retained. It can be used to create delicate, thin-walled forms and narrow radii of a kind impossible to realise in ceramics before. Whereas edge radii of 7–9 mm were formerly regarded as state-of-the-art, now minimum values of 2–3 mm are technically feasible. And the use of SaphirKeramik offers yet more benefits: it is lightweight in view of the reduced material deposition, which means the economical use of energy and raw materials in production and for that matter in transport.

Comments of the nominators

This innovative material development seems to come right out of a picture book. It opens up revolutionary vistas and latitudes of possibility for the design of hygienic products, as well as offering ecological advantages. The fact that Laufen has collaborated with Konstantin Grcic, Patricia Urquiola and Toan Nguyen gives a suggestion of what it may be possible to achieve with the new material.

Comments by the Jury

Since time immemorial, new materials have been among the most important driving forces in the development of design. With SaphirKeramik, the traditional Swiss brand Laufen has come up with an innovation that is as surprising as it is remarkable, with implications for hygienic ceramics which can only be approximately estimated at the present time. The composite material, which

manages without any chemical additives, has amazing specific properties of hardness and rigidity, and moreover offers the enormous economic advantage that it can be processed using traditional production methods. Aspects like environmental friendliness and sustainability may not have been central to the development of SaphirKeramik, but nonetheless make an essential contribution to the positive overall image of the material.