German premium manufacturer PHOS defies the volatility of short-lived trends with their truly long-lasting, highly durable and aesthetically designed architectural products made of stainless steel.

The best-known product of the Karlsruhe stainless steel manufacturer PHOS – the man-woman pictogram – was awarded the Red Dot Design Award, the iF Design Award and the Good Design Award (Design: Andreas Winkler)

A solid ally: PHOS | News

The best-known product of the Karlsruhe stainless steel manufacturer PHOS – the man-woman pictogram – was awarded the Red Dot Design Award, the iF Design Award and the Good Design Award (Design: Andreas Winkler)

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Have you ever been to the Bundestag in Berlin? Or the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg? Admittedly, the two buildings differ vastly in form and function – yet they have a number of unexpected points in common. In addition to their great architectural, as well as respective cultural and political charisma, they share another significant, if less conspicuous, feature: details supplied by the Karlsruhe-based stainless steel specialist PHOS.

In the Bundestag, these are the free-standing doorstops, specially fabricated for the extra-high, extra-heavy doors, while the Elbphilharmonie employs PHOS door and doorbell plates. Another important reference project is the new headquarters of the Federal Intelligence Service in Berlin, where thousands of employees hang their jackets on PHOS coat hooks every morning.

The hygienic properties of stainless steel are unsurpassed, especially in the bathroom. Along with easy maintenance, all PHOS products can be coordinated and combined with each other, from the extra-thin shower rod to the soap dish and towel rail

A solid ally: PHOS | News

The hygienic properties of stainless steel are unsurpassed, especially in the bathroom. Along with easy maintenance, all PHOS products can be coordinated and combined with each other, from the extra-thin shower rod to the soap dish and towel rail

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PHOS is a niche manufacturer. Beginning in 1994, the maker of stainless steel architectural products was among the first suppliers of attractive coat hooks and fittings in this material – entirely free of plastic or superfluous detailing. PHOS grew out of the architectural office of Andreas Winkler, who in response to a dearth of architecturally adequate fittings on the market simply designed some himself. In 2008, Mario Grundmann took up his ideas and founded PHOS Design GmbH. A workshop was established and PHOS positioned its products in the premium segment.

A key component of the innovative manufacturing process at PHOS is the utilisation of traditional craft in combination with CNC series production. At the factory on Karlsruhe’s Rhine harbour, the staff, now 25 in number, fashion quality products out of stainless steel – 100% Made in Germany. Alongside its series items, the factory also manufactures to dimension, from a single piece upwards. Each finished element is then hand-polished.

Every product is handcrafted and one-offs are also available to order. PHOS' products are then shipped all over the world

A solid ally: PHOS | News

Every product is handcrafted and one-offs are also available to order. PHOS' products are then shipped all over the world

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PHOS products are now in demand worldwide thanks to their quality and spare aesthetics, with the medium-sized company posting tremendous export figures. Even in Abu Dhabi, for example, the BVLGARI Hotel, designed by the Milan architectural office Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, equips its bathrooms with shower curtain rods from PHOS.

Indeed, shower curtain rods in the bathrooms of luxury hotels. The trend towards open showers and bathtubs, or the use of glass doors to enclose them, is gradually abating, giving rise to a renaissance of the traditional shower rod and textile curtain. And there is a good reason for this: tactility.

In the area of furnishings and fittings, this means the use of materials that appeal to our sense of touch – in contrast to the smooth, cold surfaces of everyday objects that don’t satisfy our desire for sensory stimulus: smartphones, tablets and touchpads.

Absolutely architectural: the hooks and wardrobe hanging rods from PHOS speak a unified design language which underscores their value

A solid ally: PHOS | News

Absolutely architectural: the hooks and wardrobe hanging rods from PHOS speak a unified design language which underscores their value

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Along with the trend towards tactility, there are practical benefits of the curtain-and-rod combination. The curtain fabric can add splashes of colour, and it absorbs sound and thereby improves the atmosphere in the bathroom. The ultra-narrow shower curtain rod from PHOS also affords extra space, because in today’s no-step showers, when the curtain is pulled back, floor area is opened up.

In addition to the shower curtain rods, PHOS offers all of the further bathroom furnishings and fittings one might desire, such as towel rails, shelves, shower caddies and magnetic soap holders. Due to the material’s hygienic, durable and water-resistant characteristics, stainless steel is simply predestined for use in bathroom products.

Make a good first impression: freestanding and wall-mounted shoe shelves and round stainless steel wardrobe for the corridor

A solid ally: PHOS | News

Make a good first impression: freestanding and wall-mounted shoe shelves and round stainless steel wardrobe for the corridor

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But the material is excellently suited to the home’s hall and entry area as well. PHOS shoe and coat racks have an unadorned elegance and are decidedly sturdy and can be optimally adapted. The shoe rack, for example, is adjustable in width and height and, with its solid oak seat surface, also serves as a bench. A premium design feature: the wall-mounted shoe rack almost appears to float.

Once perceived as rather technical in character, stainless steel has made its way from public buildings and office furnishings into private living space, thanks to good design and finely polished surfaces. Unlike many materials that trend into, and back out of, favour, stainless steel has come to stay.

‘Less, but better.’ This could be the PHOS credo, and one perfectly suited to today’s zeitgeist: we consume less, but choose products of higher quality which last longer and – especially when it comes to furniture and fittings – are timeless in character. The PHOS rectilinear design vocabulary fits effortlessly into almost any environment, making a quiet yet significant contribution to the interior aesthetics.

Also suitable for heavy doors: the PHOS door stopper with handlebar

A solid ally: PHOS | News

Also suitable for heavy doors: the PHOS door stopper with handlebar

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By the way: Even if you have never set foot in one of the prestigious buildings mentioned above, there is a strong chance you have encountered a PHOS product at some point. One of the best-known products from PHOS is its man-woman pictogram, a three-time design award winner, which discreetly points the way to the lavatory in many public buildings, offices and hotels around the world.

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