Presenting for the very first time at Milan Design Week, Belgium-based Ideal Standard arrives with Connect Air, a new bathroom fixtures collection, along with “When Lightness Designs Space,” a pop-up installation at MUDEC in the Zona Tortona that helps illustrate the collection’s modern, light design. Ideal Standard is dedicated to delivering high-quality design at affordable prices. Obsessed with design and innovation, they have a deep understanding of bathroom fixtures—whether residential or commercial—and manufacture products with clean, strong, unfussy lines.
To learn more about the Connect Air collection we spoke with designer Robin Levien from StudioLevien, who has been designing with Ideal Standard for some 35 years (“I’m beginning to get the hang of it by now!” he tells us). Working as a consultant, Levien says it’s been a very supportive and innovative partnership. “I talk about being a child of the 1960s when the Beatles were popular and they were known as the Fab Four. F-A-B was ‘fabulous’ but for me it’s ‘functional, affordable, beautiful.’ If you can combine those three things—all designers talk about functionality and beauty, but affordability is really important to me because it’s no good being an amazing designer and designing wonderful things that nobody can afford. It’s about making design democratic; making it available to people and accessible to people,” he says.
The Connect Air collection includes around 100 pieces—cabinets, sinks, tubs, bidets and toilets, which are available in wall-hung and back-to-wall versions and feature AquaBlade technology, one of the company’s latest innovations. Unlike a standard flush, AquaBlade’s design eliminates the overhanging rim, meaning flushed water flows from the very top of the bowl, resulting in 95% of the toilet bowl being rinsed clean with every flush and no hard-to-clean surfaces—overall, much more hygienic.
Torsten Tuerling, the brand’s recently appointed CEO, shared his thoughts on the brand’s desire to be part of Milan Design Week. “The Italian market has always been key for us, and will continue to be so—and I’m proud to be here,” he says. More broadly, Tuerling’s sentiments echo those of Levien, “With the new range,” he tells CH, “We follow the most recent design trends and add a degree of functionality—it’s this combination of contemporary design and function that hasn’t existed before.” Of equal importance, he says, “What’s really special is about this is, we don’t limit this range to a exclusive, luxury clientele; it’s a range that can reach broad markets. We make outstanding design affordable.”
Learn more about the Connect Air collection at Ideal Standard. If you’re in Milan, visit their “When Lightness Designs Space” installation where AR and VR help bring the products to life at Milan’s Mudec (New Museum of Cultures), Via Tortona, 56, through 17 April 2016.
Images by Paolo Ferrarini and Evan Orensten