The courage to conceal

Interview with Christoph Behling

Industrial designer Christoph Behling

Interdisciplinary teams at Geberit develop design studies that form the basis for creating new products. One example of what their work has produced is the "floating plate": this provided the inspiration for the Geberit Sigma50 and Sigma60 flush plates.

Interview with industrial designer Christoph Behling

Geberit: What do you enjoy about working with Geberit?
Christoph Behling: Geberit has maintained its vision of combining technology, infrastructure and aesthetics to create bathrooms that really look to the future. And it's courageous enough to keep its product features concealed. The floating plate is a good example of this – here, you can't actually see the technology or construction techniques – the know-how, in other words – that make the product what it is. There isn't even a hint of it on show. So it's clear that, for Geberit, innovation doesn't start and end with what's on the outside of the product; that is, the plate.

The floating plate started life as just a design, without any functions at all. How did you go from that point to creating a new product?
The functional aspect came along a few years later. We carried out joint discussions about the technology to work out what kind of designs would be needed. The floating plate was exactly the right solution, as it was able to take the functional requirements on board and present a design that conveyed lightness and airiness.

What was your job during the process of designing the floating plate?
I had to use the floating plate as a basis for making the visible invisible, and taking a refined, unobtrusive approach that would still imply excellent quality. The real accomplishment in the design is what it keeps hidden. A plate like this is every architect and interior designer's dream – something that's both highly discreet and extremely easy to use.

Did you design the Geberit Sigma50 and Sigma60 flush plates on that basis?
Yes, and in the Sigma60, we've brought the floating plate concept right down to brass tacks. Its design and technology are stripped down to the bare essentials – and the features that remain are exceptionally simple and unobtrusive. It's an example of getting design down to a fine art – and it fits perfectly with the Geberit philosophy.