Bathroom Design Week

Upon a recent visit to Bette's HQ, the German bathroom expert revealed a whole world of architectural typologies in a new, immersive proof-of-concept experience.

The reception area of newly opened BettePlaces at the company's Delbrück HQ – an immersive proof-of-concept space for communication, experience and inspiration

'This is not just a showroom': going BettePlaces | News

The reception area of newly opened BettePlaces at the company's Delbrück HQ – an immersive proof-of-concept space for communication, experience and inspiration

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'You'll always find me in the kitchen at parties,' goes the old pop song from the 1980s.

But when it comes to Sven Rensinghoff, the marketing chief at premium German bathroom brand Bette, it’s mostly the bath. The first time I met him, a number of years ago, he was in the middle of a photo shoot at the ISH Frankfurt trade fair, lying in one of the manufacturer’s latest, high-end tubs. Clothes on, I should add. No water.

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The 16 microhouses displayed show off highlights from different Bette collections, such as the Pond Silhouette (top) and Lux Oval Highline bathtub (bottom)

'This is not just a showroom': going BettePlaces | News

The 16 microhouses displayed show off highlights from different Bette collections, such as the Pond Silhouette (top) and Lux Oval Highline bathtub (bottom)

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When I saw a recent LinkedIn post of him at the company’s intriguing new showroom-cum-architectural-installation BettePlaces – installed, true to form, in a bathtub – my interest was piqued. So I made the trip up to Delbrück in Germany, where the company’s been specialising for over 70 years in natural-glazed, titanium-steel bathroom elements, to take a look for myself.

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Customers and potential business partners can get a unique impression of Bette on site with the help of the architectural installations (top) as well as product and material libraries (middle, bottom)

'This is not just a showroom': going BettePlaces | News

Customers and potential business partners can get a unique impression of Bette on site with the help of the architectural installations (top) as well as product and material libraries (middle, bottom)

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Putting the show in showroom

‘BettePlaces is not just a showroom,’ Rensinghoff was keen to emphasise when I got there. ‘We wanted to give our customers a new perception of our brand. So, it’s a place for communication, experience, and inspiration.’ Designed by Lake Constance-based office atelier 522 and organised across 1,800 square metres of prime floorspace at Bette HQ, the project is fundamentally about proof-of-concept, demonstrating to architects, planners and dealers, via 16 stand-alone ‘micro houses’, how the brand is as much a trusted project partner as it is a supplier of high-end products.


‘We wanted to give our customers a new perception of our brand. BettePlaces is a space for communication, experience, and inspiration’


The word ‘journey’ is overused these days, when what we really mean to say is experience or process. But I find its use in this context a valid one. Visitors to BettePlaces move through a diversity of sense-engaging architectural typologies, redolent not only through their formal expression, but also their judicious material selection, of bathroom spaces from different cultures around the globe.

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Visitors to BettePlaces travel far and wide through the experience of bathroom typologies from all regions of the globe – and beyond. Japan (top, middle) and outer space (bottom) are just a few of the expertly curated examples

'This is not just a showroom': going BettePlaces | News

Visitors to BettePlaces travel far and wide through the experience of bathroom typologies from all regions of the globe – and beyond. Japan (top, middle) and outer space (bottom) are just a few of the expertly curated examples

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A place of sustainability

‘Made from a wide variety of materials, such as concrete, clay plaster or Yakisugi-charred spruce wood, each bathroom possesses a very specific aesthetic and constructional situation, with Bette products as the highlight,’ explains atelier 522 CEO Philipp Beck. ‘Product design and architecture merge, showing in the finest detail how good design can draw everything together: from the spaces in which we live, and their individual architecture, to the centre of the home – the bathroom.’

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Made from a wide variety of materials, such as concrete, clay plaster, or Yakisugi-charred spruce wood, each bathroom exemplifies a merging of product design and architecture to show the unifying effect of attention to detail

'This is not just a showroom': going BettePlaces | News

Made from a wide variety of materials, such as concrete, clay plaster, or Yakisugi-charred spruce wood, each bathroom exemplifies a merging of product design and architecture to show the unifying effect of attention to detail

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The sustainability narrative is baked in, of course. Here you have trend-eschewing archetypical interiors featuring long-life, fully recyclable bathroom products that are fabricated from natural materials. ‘We wanted to make BettePlaces a place of sustainability,’ says Beck, moreover, of the exhibition build itself. ‘From floor to ceiling, from the exterior facade to the interior, care has been taken to design and implement every micro house as responsibly as possible.’


Here you have trend-eschewing archetypical interiors featuring long-life, fully recyclable bathroom products that are fabricated from natural materials


‘But where’s Delbrück?,’ I hear some of you asking. I admit, I had to look it up on Google Maps. (The answer is in between those two fair-city heavyweights Cologne and Hanover.) The trip is well worth it. Not only to experience BettePlaces, but to wander through the company’s thrilling manufacturing halls, where heavy metal and robotic automation meet old-fashioned handcraft expertise.

Sparks fly at Bette's manufacturing halls, where heavy metal and robotic automation meet old-fashioned handcraft expertise

'This is not just a showroom': going BettePlaces | News

Sparks fly at Bette's manufacturing halls, where heavy metal and robotic automation meet old-fashioned handcraft expertise

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Beam me up, Bette

That said, should this not be on your itinerary any time soon, fear not. ‘We’re going to digitise each of the micro houses, so that clients and partners who can’t visit us in person can nonetheless immerse themselves in BettePlaces,’ explains Rensinghoff. ‘It’s a different way of talking to our audience, where we can go deep into detailed planning for a range of structural requirements and, in doing so, offer valuable advice.’

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Though BettePlaces can be visited virtually through a 3D tour offered by the company, analogue visitors can experience the extra benefit of visualising the different bathrooms in otherworldly landscapes through a series of smartphone-based AR filters

'This is not just a showroom': going BettePlaces | News

Though BettePlaces can be visited virtually through a 3D tour offered by the company, analogue visitors can experience the extra benefit of visualising the different bathrooms in otherworldly landscapes through a series of smartphone-based AR filters

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The digital is also deployed on the ground, meanwhile, to deliver an even more memorable experience for analogue visitors, through a series of smartphone-based AR filters that transform the various interiors into super-charged, otherworldly, yet playful, landscapes. ‘Bathroom architecture in another dimension,’ as Beck puts it.

From Delbrück to infinity!

© Architonic

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