A look behind the scenes at the Axor Manufaktur in Schiltach in the Black Forest: one-off designs to meet the most exacting requirements

Quality testing at the Axor Manufaktur

Here, the final touches are applied to mixers, showers and bathroom accessories

January 2016. Craftsmanship and high-tech: within an exclusive service division, employees have been manufacturing customised mixers, showers and accessories for private and project customers since 2002. The options offered by the Axor Manufaktur range from special finishes through to inscriptions, elegant engravings and length modifications. "We want people to feel good in the bathroom and to enjoy their experience of water. For this they need products that are top-notch in every respect", said Philippe Grohe, Vice President of Design Management at Hansgrohe SE. "In particular, we offer valuable support to architects and interior designers, to help them successfully design luxury bathrooms for their customers. Our Axor Manufaktur makes their work easier because it means that we can meet their specific design requirements easily and in conformity with their design plans", explained the grandson of the company founder.

Small team, big achievements
The eight-member team headed by Alexander Kuderer, Head of Axor Product Planning, fulfils a wide variety of customer requirements – including engravings, special finishes, or even length modifications. "We want to help customers create their own personalised bathroom", said the Head of Axor Product Planning. Whether we're dealing with a project or private customer, precision and a passion for detail are par for the course in the manufacture of our exclusive mixers. Each employee is trained to meet the high standards of the Axor Manufaktur. After all each piece, in collaboration with the specialist departments, is manually ground, polished and then checked to ensure flawless quality. This demands skill and experience in dealing with metal objects and exquisite surface finishes. Last but not least, the matt sheen is the result of meticulous craftsmanship involving extensive, uniform finishing treatment. The team members are particularly proud of the bathrooms they recently completed for a Chinese luxury hotel complex, where they provided the mixers with extra decoration in the form of Swarovski crystals. The Axor Manufaktur also successfully implements smaller private customer projects: for example, the production of an exclusive surface finish in the owner's favourite colours for the bathrooms in his luxury villa.

"One of the main focuses of our business is extending mixers”, explained Alexander Kuderer. "First of all, a trained eye needs to determine whether it's even going to be possible to modify the length, because we may be restricted by the design and geometry. Provided that it is technically feasible, the actual steps involved in extending a product require many hours of work, the appropriate technology, and detailed processing of two base sets", continued Kuderer.

At the Axor Manufaktur, craftsmanship is complemented by high-tech services. The in-house PVD chambers coat mixers with special metallic finishes. The PVD technology, or "Physical Vapor Deposition technology", involves the use of noble gases under laboratory conditions; these are "ignited" in a strong magnetic field to produce a vapour, in the process coating with a special finish. This is then particularly scratch-proof and resistant to cleaning agents and other external influences.

Custom products involve technical challenges
In most cases where individual customer requirements involve a special surface finish such as gold finish or black chrome, design modifications cannot be ruled out. "Cruise ships typically have mirror-image bathrooms; this means that the pull rod hole on one basin mixer needs to be on the left, and on another it needs to be on the right", explained Alexander Kuderer. "At a beautiful holiday resort in the Pacific, mixers from the Axor Starck collection were recently requested to include extended spouts and different handles. We also PVD-coated the surface in a nickel finish – the reason for this was both aesthetic and practical, because the salty sea air on the island would corrode a galvanised chrome finish over the long term", continued Kuderer. At the trendy gourmet restaurant "The Jane" in Antwerp, Axor kitchen mixers and Axor Uno² electronic mixers in brushed black chrome finally fulfilled the requirements of famous interior designer Piet Boon; the elegant, dark surface finish fits really well into the purist ambience of the converted chapel. Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola, on the other hand, selected the brushed gold finish when she was coordinating bathroom mixers from her Axor collection with the natural tones in the newly designed spa at the "Four Seasons Milan" luxury hotel.

An unabated penchant for gold
When it comes to surface finishing, the majority of requests are for the gold finish. Two-colour finishes, where the gold finish adds a touch of exclusivity to the chrome-plated mixer, are also popular. The Axor Manufaktur currently offers fifteen standard finishes and will discuss any further colour request with the customer. In addition, special inscriptions, logos and emblems can be applied to mixers, showers or accessories using laser technology. In this way, any modification to the bathroom adds a personal touch that exudes premium quality.
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