With DuraSolid, the Duravit AG research team developed a new and unusual mineral material. The interaction of selected raw materials creates a high-tech material that is particularly suitable for the production of baths and shower trays. It stands for durability, high stability and slip-resistance. In addition, thanks to the special material quality, it can be used to create new shapes.
High-tech material and a new design
DuraSolid primarily consists of natural materials with resin as a binding agent and colour pigments. These individual raw materials are mixed in the DuraSolid centre in Bischwiller in a computer-controlled process and are then prepared for casting. The resulting homogeneous casting mass is poured into the master mould. Casting is followed by two drying stages that are necessary for the further processing of the high-tech material. In the first step, the liquid casting mass is hardened in a master mould in the drying chamber. In the second step, the solidified mass in the moulds is tempered in a drying oven at temperatures of up to 70 degrees. The final material hardness is achieved during these drying stages. When fully cooled, the baths are given a final finish in the polishing booth. The resulting baths have no visible joins or seams and, thanks to the material structure, have a matt and velvety surface finish. "This high-quality finish creates a particularly soft and warm feel", adds Eric Mercier. The use of a unique white material with full-body colouring gives the bath a monolithic appearance. The white, homogeneous DuraSolid material can also be repaired in the event of any damage. When carried out correctly, repairs are completely invisible. Another advantage of the material is its anti-slip surface structure that offers additional safety.
Designer Philippe Starck recognised the potential of the new material and was inspired to create a completely new shape
The flexibility of the material gave him the freedom to create a three-dimensional, sculpture-like bath: the design is characteristic of Philippe Starck and based on the archaic form of an oval tub. The sides of the bath open up like a tulip at the top to create a completely unique effect. A gently shaped headrest that can also be used to put down bathroom accessories, adds the finishing touch. The optional air-whirl system is integrated successfully: air is supplied via tiny, almost invisible holes in the base of the bath that are a harmonious part of the design.
"Our work with Philippe Starck on the Cape Cod bath represents a significant step in the further development of smart design. It involves material experts, product developers and designers working together in a complementary way. Soon after the market launch at ISH 2015, orders for the DuraSolid bath were already well above the planned annual volume. That speaks for itself", says Frank Richter. A success that is only possible thanks to the perfect symbiosis of high-tech and craftsmanship.