Design Boss Brigitte Ziemann on Design Made by BLANCO

The clear design of Blancomodex-M 60, characterized by its basic cube form, is both eye-catching and an architectural statement. Its strong, autonomous character, making it an irresistible item of furnishing in a discerning kitchen architecture context, is a vital feature of this product.  Modex has won a number of awards for its innovative design.

Blanco Sinks, Mixer Taps, and Waste Systems

With the aesthetically designed functionality of its sinks, mixer taps, and waste systems, Blanco has been setting overarching benchmarks for years while, at the same time, creating modern designer classics. In line with quality, innovation, and service, the design also numbers among the fundamental values of the brand. Its special characteristics are reflected in the products of the sub-brand Blanco SteelArt: At the company’s Sulzfeld-based high-tech manufacturing facility, exclusive, hand-made stainless steel solutions are created with the support of state-of-the-art production technologies. Whereby well-conceived system design right down to the last detail is an outstanding feature of the work carried out there.

Awarded Designs

Numerous awards including distinguished, internationally renowned design prizes underline the design competence of Germany’s most important sink manufacturer. The systemically conceived concepts never fail to impress technical experts and customers alike. Most recently, the SteelArt sink Blancoattika, a striking top-mounted bowl won the iF product design award 2013 and the Interior Innovation Award 2013. Blanco’s new hot water system Blanco Hot also won the Interior Innovation Award 2013. What is so special about Blanco’s design? An interview with design boss Brigitte Ziemann.

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Precision right down to the last detail: exceptionally tight, excellently coordinated radii characterize the design of the SteelArt sink Blancodivon (photo shows the Blancodivon 5 S-IF). Its elegant appeal is further enhanced by the handmade Blancoclaron bowl and extra-flat IF installation rim it features. Harmony in perfection with Divon e.g. the Blancolevos operating elements.

Contemporary Design Philosophy

What meaning do such prizes have for the company?

Brigitte Ziemann: We are very pleased to receive such recognition and are very appreciative of it, all the more so because we have been able to demonstrate impressive continuity over the years. We do not however make a good design for the awards but instead for our customers. Our aim is to offer for kitchen planning purposes tailor-made components underpinned by a sound, contemporary design philosophy. Notably in an age in which living and functional spaces have to meet requirements above and beyond their originally intended purposes and not infrequently are used universally, good design is in demand more than ever.

BLANCO’s Design Competence

What is the basis of BLANCO’s design competence?

Brigitte Ziemann: One of the main factors behind this is without doubt the fact that we with our own design team comprising four industrial designers have built up wide-ranging expertise in and around the kitchen. They work closely and directly with the company’s product management, marketing, sales, development, and engineering departments. It is a big advantage that all persons involved in the process are based directly in-house.

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Nomen est omen: thanks to system design, the form, and finish of the minimalist SteelArt operating elements Blancokantos including mixer tap, soap dispenser, and pop-up can be combined outstandingly well with Zerox line products. Their precise linear styling reflects the striking zero-radius design of the stainless steel bowls. The same minimalist straight-lined styling characterizes the SteelArt system accessories as in the case of the add-on draining board made of stainless steel with its innovative, concealed drainage outlet.

What has to be taken into account during the development phase?

Brigitte Ziemann: The first questions to be answered initially are those concerning, for example, place of deployment, general styling, and price segment. We then move on to define product features, material, color, finish, interaction with the local environment, etc. The final stage involves the creation of a well-conceived solution, taking account of the local environment and the intended use while at the same time complying with our high innovative standards. Needless to say, it is also important to ensure that the requirements of industrial series production are met. Degree of efficiency, process optimization, and cost situation are all number among the key aspects of our work.

The Definition of Good Kitchen Design

How do you define good design?

Brigitte Ziemann: Nowadays, the term design is used in an inflationary manner for example in connection with short-lived consumer goods featuring striking trends popular at the given time. For kitchen planning purposes, however, the priorities are different: a kitchen should still please even after 15 years. To this end, aesthetics and functionality need to be planned for the long term. The design language has to be contemporary but at the same time durable. However, design needs to be underpinned by an innovative basic concept and should after all be received enthusiastically by the customer.

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The fact that Blancoyovis-S is inspired by nature is obvious and its filigree looks are eye-catching too, whereby the water flow and temperature control are convenient and easy to operate. Winner of the red dot award, the kitchen mixer tap coordinates perfectly with the CombiColours palette of colors available for Silgranit sinks.

What sort of time frame are we talking about here?

Brigitte Ziemann: A period of seven to ten years is a time frame in which tastes change substantively. Design, materials, and colors in the furnishings sector are affected by popular influences to a lesser extent. Even if the color accents of the 1970s are currently in evidence to an increasing degree – Blanco still won’t be producing a garishly bright sink any time soon.

What is needed above and beyond durable design concepts?

Brigitte Ziemann: You can design the most wonderful forms but if at the end of it all the surface isn’t streamlined or a transition homogenous, the specific intentions underpinning the design are no longer evident. Only via technically excellent quality can good design stand out.

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Strong Blanco design team (from left to right): Reinhard Koska, Oliver Kuch, Brigitte Ziemann, Mario Mauz.

About Brigitte Ziemann

Brigitte Ziemann has been in charge of design at Blanco since 1995. The industrial designer, who studied at the University of Applied Design in Schwäbisch Gmünd, has a Modus made of Silgranit at home where she washes up and works and she enjoys cooking a variety of dishes and inviting guests around when possible.




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By Danica Maričić

Interior Designer and Integrated Marketing Communications Pro, Loving Writing and Photography, Passionate about Life & Style, “True Blue” Mediterranean Girl, Curious Traveller & Designer