Axor demonstrates the meaning of the word 'icon' with its Axor Icons series – iconic designs designed by icons, Antonio Citterio, Jean-Marie Massaud and Philippe Starck.

Just as in pop culture, film or fashion, icons can also be identified in design – here embodied in the form of designed objects rather than in a person

Axor Icons turn water into poetry | News

Just as in pop culture, film or fashion, icons can also be identified in design – here embodied in the form of designed objects rather than in a person

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If a pop or film star in his or her role as an artist as well as in his or her private life embodies a break in an established norm of values, he or she is referred to as an icon: Madonna is one, Audrey Hepburn was another. In fashion, Karl Lagerfeld let himself be called one, as did Vivien Westwood. The Orthodox Church, on the other hand, calls images of saints - derived from the ancient Greek word eikon, for "image" - icons. And the design world also knows the term, but uses it more for the designed object and not for its designer; however inseparable the two may be. So what makes a design such an icon?


Since 1993, the design brand has been working with internationally renowned designers to create bathroom and kitchen objects that are distinctive, progressive and outstanding in their design and manufacturing quality


Just like the stars of music, film and fashion, and just like the holy images of orthodox Christians, a design icon must be able to be decoupled in time and thus remain significant regardless of changing trends; in short, it must be timeless. A good example are the author designs by designer greats such as Philippe Starck and Antonio Citterio for AXOR. Since 1993, the design brand has been working with internationally renowned designers to create bathroom and kitchen objects that are distinctive, progressive and outstanding in their design and manufacturing quality. "For AXOR, however, a true icon should also be placeless," emphasises Anke Sohn, Head of Global Brand Marketing at AXOR.

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Giving shape to water: Philippe Starck has already designed several series for AXOR. AXOR Starck V (top) makes the invisible visible, AXOR Starck (above) is inspired by a fountain pump

Axor Icons turn water into poetry | News

Giving shape to water: Philippe Starck has already designed several series for AXOR. AXOR Starck V (top) makes the invisible visible, AXOR Starck (above) is inspired by a fountain pump

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The dramaturgy of a single element

An icon "must inhabit diverse spaces, shape different worlds and express different personalities - while remaining true to itself," Anke Sohn continues. In this context, five of the company's collections can be singled out that can undoubtedly be regarded as defining:

Firstly, there are the fittings by French designer Philippe Starck. AXOR Starck V, for example, which lets the water swirl up through its flawless crystal glass body like no other fitting - more sculpture than washbasin fitting. "Transparent yet visible, constant yet constantly changing, the whirlpool casts a spell over the dreamer, who interprets the magic as a fantastic world into which he can immerse himself," is how AXOR formulates what gives water in the bathroom an unprecedented dramaturgy.

AXOR Starck Organic is reminiscent of a branch that is supplied with the nutrients it needs to live through fine water vessels that transport the most precious element for life on earth

Axor Icons turn water into poetry | News

AXOR Starck Organic is reminiscent of a branch that is supplied with the nutrients it needs to live through fine water vessels that transport the most precious element for life on earth

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In contrast, Starck's first design for the company appears much more functional: The amount and temperature of the water can be regulated via a kind of joystick, the shape is inspired by a classic fountain pump and is so reduced that attention is entirely given to the element of water. "This pleases the pragmatist, who uses the archetypal design of the tap to tell a story about the beauty in simplicity. But it also pleases the expressive, who reinterprets the archetype in a modern way and integrates it into a space of personal expression," the brand explains.

Starck in the bathroom

AXOR Starck Organic is also characterised by the basic idea of the archetype, but finds its model in nature. Thus the collection of fittings designed by Philippe Starck in 2012 looks like the piece of a branch that has solidified into stainless steel. Like the plant with its water and nutrient transporting vessels, man cannot survive without water - this is what this parable wants to convey to us. And that is why AXOR Starck Organic is not a purely functional object, but rather a reminder of the high value of this precious element, which - luxury or not - must always be used sparingly. "The gently flowing form of the fitting, which invites the eye and hand in equal measure, inspires the naturalist who interprets sensuality in the form of cosy colours and materials," explains AXOR. "At the same time, the abstract sculptural quality of the design excites the futurist who interprets sensuality through uncompromising furnishing concepts."

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Like a waterfall, a broad gush emerges from the rectangular plateau of AXOR Massaud by Jean-Marie Massaud, and so changing the shape and haptic sensation of the usually point-directed water jet

Axor Icons turn water into poetry | News

Like a waterfall, a broad gush emerges from the rectangular plateau of AXOR Massaud by Jean-Marie Massaud, and so changing the shape and haptic sensation of the usually point-directed water jet

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The fact that nature can nevertheless also appear lavish now and then is reflected in AXOR Massaud, a collection by Frenchman Jean-Marie Massaud. A geometric plate protrudes from an organically curved base, from which a wide gush of water emerges. "The perfectly shaped jet has the shape of a silky waterfall," describes the manufacturer. "Reduced to the essentials, AXOR Massaud appeals to the minimalist who interprets nature in its purest form." And the eclectic "who interprets nature in its wild, unbridled opulence" will also be delighted by the design.

Classical architecture as a space of pathos and sophistication

Finally, that leaves the classicist as well as the modernist, which are by no means mutually exclusive at AXOR, but find a home in a product by Antonio Citterio. AXOR Citterio embodies the spirit of Italian neoclassicism in an unobtrusive yet unmistakably luxurious way, AXOR explains. While the classicist, "who interprets classical architecture as a space of pathos and refinement", is fascinated by balanced proportions and elegant geometries, the modernist, "who understands classical architecture as a place of light and space", is dazzled by the hand-polished surfaces.

AXOR Citterio by Antonio Citterio is an expression of Italian neoclassicism. Like all AXOR icons, it is available in a choice of up to 15 different AXOR FinishPlus finishes

Axor Icons turn water into poetry | News

AXOR Citterio by Antonio Citterio is an expression of Italian neoclassicism. Like all AXOR icons, it is available in a choice of up to 15 different AXOR FinishPlus finishes

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It is precisely this state of tension between the functional norm and what deviates from it that makes these five collections of fittings icons - albeit avant-gardists rather than pop stars. And water becomes poetry.

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