25 Years of Innovations for the Bathroom

The AXOR Brand Celebrates Its History, Products, People – and Bathroom Design

The exclusive Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II: venue for the AXOR anniversary celebration in April 2018, right in the heart of the design metropolis of Milan. Fans of the AXOR brand and good design, designers, customers, and international press representatives gathered here to congratulate AXOR on a quarter of a century of brand history.

AXOR: A new era for the bathroom 

25 years of AXOR are synonymous with 25 years of design history. A story of success that has had an enormous influence on the bathroom and on those who use, plan, or furnish it. If it weren't for the forward thinkers of the faucet and shower manufacturer from the Black Forest, the bathroom would not be the way we know it today. But as is so often the case in history, it is the pioneers who are misjudged and even derided by many. In the end, however, there is recognition: The avantgarde can be celebrated like AXOR at the 2018 Salone del Mobile in Milan.

World-famous designers toast to their history with AXOR

In Milan, AXOR celebrated a quarter of a century of brand history and products that changed the bathroom dramatically - like the AXOR Starck collection. It was revolutionary in 1994 with its new joystick handle, and its minimalist design is still groundbreaking today.

At the same time, the collection was a prelude to the successful cooperation between the AXOR brand and Philippe Starck. He’s one of the brand’s more than ten design partners, who are some of the best in their fields and have been connected to AXOR for several years:

Some of them came to Milan, celebrating in person and raising their glasses: to all the people who the AXOR brand what it was then and now.  

The roots of the AXOR brand: A company with design history

This story started all the way back in the seventies, when Klaus Grohe first brings color into play – or better put: into the bathroom. He thinks in new ways and redefines the bathroom. He works with Hartmut Esslinger, Georg Spreng, and Andreas Haug. Later known as frog design, they and Klaus Grohe rake in Hansgrohe’s first design award in 1974. for the Tri-bel hand shower, which heralds the colorful age in the colors red, blue, yellow and brown – the era of colorful products, tiles, and accessories in the bathroom.

At the same time, it’s the start of a long-standing design partnership. Andreas Haug joins Tom Schönherr to found the design studio Phoenix Design in 1987. Since its beginnings, they have produced countless award winners with the company from the Black Forest. AXOR Uno, AXOR Montreux,AXOR ShowerHeaven 1200/300 4jet, ... The list is long, very long. Meanwhile, more than 500 design awards decorate the company’s trophy cabinet for faucets, showers, and accessories developed with Phoenix Design, Philippe Starck, Antonio Citterio, Jean-Marie Massaud, Patricia Urquiola, Front, Nendo, and Barber & Osgerby. This list is also extensive – for one company alone. More than eight external design studios work for the Black Forest company. 

A brand is born: "AXOR makes the bathroom personal." 

Klaus Grohe has a sharp eye for design and details. Again and again, he puts the familiar to the test, be it in form or function. He’s bold: When the bathroom's primary function was cleaning, he founded a brand that developed products and bathroom concepts that went beyond that.

AXOR wants to turn the bathroom into a place of calm and reflection, of security and relaxation in a fast-paced life. In 1993, AXOR is launched and celebrates its premiere at the ISH in Frankfurt in March. “AXOR makes the bathroom personal." The slogan of the first product catalog gets to the heart of the AXOR brand – and is still true today.  

Brilliant designer meets innovative decision-makers: AXOR Starck changes the world

The first drumbeat of the still-young AXOR brand is the realization of this conviction: AXOR Starck. The collection was developed with Philippe Starck, the French native and probably most famous designer of versatile designs, ranging from spectacular interior designs to simple, everyday items.

Philippe Starck makes the bathroom into a feel-good room with his "Salon d’Eau" spatial concept. He uses plaster instead of tiles on the walls, bright colors, and large windows. The furnishings are based on simple things in life: a sink in the shape of a simple bucket of water, a bath tub that goes back to its wooden roots, or a faucet reminiscent of the historical handle pump at the well. AXOR Starck is revolutionary in its design and function. The extremely narrow shape forces developers in the Black Forest to develop a new cartridge. The intensive research was worth it. The functional heart of the lavatory faucet is not only very slim, but also produces a new handle variant: the joystick. A trend-setting innovation that paved the way for new faucet designs. 

A guarantee for success: A deeply rooted design culture with a long history

"AXOR Starck is a prime example of how closely design and innovation, form and function are connected together in our company." Jürgen Groß should know: The Head of Research and Development has been with the company for more than 23 years. Together with designers like Philippe Starck, Antonio Citterio, and Jean-Marie Massaud, he’s gotten several of the AXOR brand’s innovations off the ground.

Groß knows that the interplay of technology and design isn’t always easy, but it is indispensable. "It’s a bit like a game of tug-of-war: On one end is the designer and on the other is us, the technicians. Sometimes one side pulls more, sometimes the other, but both are always at eye level and only want one thing: the best design with perfect function. That can be exhausting at times, but it’s the only way to achieve exceptional results and real innovations," Jürgen Groß says.

"It requires a culture of innovation and an understanding of design that’s deeply rooted in the company. We’ve built that up over many years of intensive cooperation with these design greats, who are among the best in the world and are all different. It's what makes us who we are."

The AXOR brand's be-all and end-all: Its various designers

There are many successful examples of the innovative strength of the AXOR brand, among them AXOR Citterio, AXOR Massaud, and AXOR Urquiola. In his first collection from the year 2003, Antonio Citterio focuses on striking shapes, brilliant surfaces, and a monumental appearance. AXOR Massaud is a symbol for organic bathroom design. With it, Jean-Marie Massaud celebrates the natural world and its elements in the bathroom. In AXOR Urquiola, Patricia Urquiola plays with quotes and symbols, with asymmetrical and flat shapes. The result: a collection in a perfect blend of styles. 

Completely different approaches by three very different creative minds. With one thing in common: They all stand for the stylistic diversity of the AXOR brand, ranging from classic to modern.

All AXOR bathroom collections are as unique as their users. They make personal bathroom furnishings possible. One example is the industrial design products of AXOR Montreux. This collection is in the tradition of the first industrially manufactured faucets at the turn of the century. But it also works puristically with AXOR Uno, a formally simple bathroom collection. The AXOR Massaud collection focuses on organic forms. No matter which style suits you best, the products are always marked by the brand’s first slogan: "AXOR makes the bathroom personal."

To the future and the next revolution in the bathroom

The AXOR brand celebrates 25 years of customization in the bathroom, design and luxury, living your very own style, and personal expression. That’s what everyone all raised their glasses to. And to the future, which AXOR heralded with an absolute novelty, a breakthrough in customizationAXOR MyEdition by Phoenix Design.

Friends of the brand, our design partners, customers, and journalists joined in on the celebrations. All the doers, creative minds, and forward thinkers who make the AXOR brand what it is were also there. 
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