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JAN DĚDEK, senior designer
of studio Storz, Austria

What current trends in the design of bath tubs can you see?

I am personally viewing the trends of bath tub design from two angles. The first one are the shapes. It is a combination of very sharp edges on the outside and rounded, organic shapes inside. It is very minimalistic and clean, forming an interesting, nice harmony. We followed this trend while developing our new bath tub LoveStory II. In the inside, we copied the irreplaceable shape of a heart but we simplified the outer lines, designed them cleaner with a shift towards a modern, simple appearance.

Another direction followed by the current design are - in my opinion - innovations as lighting methods (diverse translucent surfaces, not only point lights) or water supply solutions (without armatures, I am really glad that within this area we ran ahead of our time when we developed our You bath tub in 2005, and we mounted in it the filling inlets from the lumbar support bolster. This trend has been constantly developing during the course of time because apart from the aspects of aesthetics, it also has its practical benefits.

Originally, you come from the Czech Republic, you studied automotive design in England, and you work in an Austrian design studio. Can you see any differences in bathroom equipment between us and other countries?

Bathrooms still stay being a very intimate area. Everyone designs his or her ordinary bathroom in line with own individual taste, and that is something just marginally influenced by trends. Where I am now, in the Austrian mountains, I can see a dominance of retro style. Larger bathrooms, lots of old wood like from some disassembled hay loft. However, all this is combined with modern elements, bath tubs and wash basins so the resulting eclectic effect fits greatly into our region (Pinzgau around Zell am See).

The Design Storz studio has been known mainly in the field of automotive design. You have worked on assignments for brands as Volvo, BMW, Porsche, Audi... Can you see any parallels between the development of cars and bathroom equipments?

Yes, of course, there are connecting points. Our focus on vehicle design is our big advantage, and it is very well applicable on other products, too. In the first place, it is about correct proportions and surface finishes. And of course it is also about ergonomics, what feeling you get from a bathroom or car interior. A big challenge for us is to think about bathroom products in a way so as to make them fit for as many user types as possible. In case of bath tubs for instance, it works just as in case of cars - they must safely and nicely accommodate a two-meter-tall man as well as a tiny Asian girl.

You made this completely true with your bath tub You. And which branch is developing faster – automotive design or the design of bathrooms?

It would rather be the automotive industry. It is more elaborated, finances flowing into it are significantly bigger. Bathroom design, in my opinion, also flourishes but it could have more concepts. It lacks a vision of how future bathrooms could look like in let's say twenty years, in what points it could be better, and how could people use it better.

RAVAK is the only Czech company with that you at the Design Storz studio cooperate. You are developing bath tubs for us. Which bath tub from your production do you perceive as the most exceptional?

From the practical point of view, I like the XXL and You bath tubs. Thanks to organic shapes made to please every user I started liking your Avocado bath tub, and now also LoveStory II.

The innovated bath tub LoveStory II is specific by its round inside shapes, its emotive design. It somewhat takes a step aside from the current trend of purism and clearly defined edges. Why did you choose this approach?

You are right, the current trend follows a route of rather less sophisticated, sharper forms. But can you imagine an edgy heart? LoveStory has its history. We developed the first model back in 2002 already, and at that time, it literally became the icon of not just your production but of the entire bath tub market. That is why we again based our work on this emotive design and kept it on the bath tub bottom in such a way so as to make the new LoveStory II also oriented on romantic moments and physical contact of two people beside each other. This is a tub for lovers, for everyone who wants to enjoy physical contact with his or her partner. At the same time, however, we created the design cleaner and with simplified lines. As with all products, we strive for clean shapes and a clear design language.

What is the time span to create the design of such a bath tub?

It has more phases. We started with a workshop where we fine-tuned your requirements as the client's side and connected these with our first thoughts.

Then there was the creative phase with lots of sketches and with subsequent presentation where three favourites were picked. After that, we continued with detailed design of these three, and selected from them a single variant at our next meeting. This process took about 3-4 weeks with 2-3 designers working on this project.

Subsequently, there were 2-3 weeks for creating a virtual model using CAD software.

Communication was more intensive so as to allow for the satisfaction of both parties with the result. The development part was relocated to the town of Příbram, the first real model was made, and we kept coming for consultations and to give comments so that the design would be finalized up to the last line.

What assignment was the most prestigious for you/Design Storz studio in your history? For what brand?

This is hard to evaluate; every project is exceptional with something, and the studio has been here for 30 years already. One of the biggest ones was for example a yacht for Schoechl or Lindner tractors. We do lots of projects for automotive companies or for instance for company Mindset where we participated in the development of an electric vehicle including a model in the ratio 1:1. The smallest ones, on the other hand, are probably tooth brushes for Colgate.

What assignment was the most difficult?

Sometimes you find out that even a banal assignment as for example a waste container is more challenging than some car exterior design...

Thank you for the interview
Jana Šlefrová