Taking the Helm of bathroomware design

Written by

25 July 2021


4 min read

The desire for quality, design-led bathroomware has resulted in manufacturers and world-class designers collaborating on projects that have resulted in some truly iconic designs—and no one does it better than the Italians.

When it comes to the world of high-end design, the Italians are renowned as world leaders and bathroomware is no exception.

Since 1950, the family-owned, Italian company Zucchetti has been manufacturing designer bathroomware for discerning customers and now produces more than 600,000 items annually across the Zucchetti and Kos brands.

Recent collaborations include working with Venice-based design studio Zaven and New York-based industrial designers, Visibility. Available now in New Zealand is Zucchetti’s Helm Collection, designed in collaboration with David Lopez Quincoces.

“Helm is the first line of stainless steel taps launched by Zucchetti, both in single-lever and three hole versions. The design has been enriched through the introduction of colours, textures, vertical ridges and knurling—making it both visually appealing and high-performing,” says Kirsten Robertson, Architectural & Design Consultant for Robertson Bathware, the exclusive distributor of Helm in New Zealand.

Available in four finishes—including Brushed Black—and with two handle options—cross or lever—Helm was awarded a prestigious Red Dot Award for product design in 2021.

Helm: form and function lies at the heart of the collection

“Helm comprises a collection of single-lever or two-handle mixers—with cross or lever handles. David began with pure geometric shapes, combining them to create a versatile line with broad appeal that is particularly well suited to the world of architecture, providing different solutions to varied market demands,” says Kirsten.

Thanks to a particular technical solution, the lever engages on the body of the single lever mixer, with a simple horizontal cut, that maintains the continuity of the clean and rational shape.

“Single lever mixers are fitted with sintered ceramic-disc cartridges, 25mm in diameter, certified in compliance with the strictest international standards. Two handles mixers with lever handles are fitted with quarter-turn ceramic disc headworks, while the version with cross handles is fitted with half-turn ceramic disc headworks.

“The collection is manufactured from AISI 316L stainless steel and all components are made of lead-free materials that are resistant to corrosion and scaling. Finishes include Brushed Stainless Steel PVD, Brushed British Gold PVD, Brushed Gold PVD, Total Black PVD, and Brushed Copper PVD. The two-handle option is also available with knurling at the base of the handle, in either parallel or crossed patterns.”

Helm basin mixers are available in two-handle or single-lever options and you can opt for weave or vertical knurling or no knurling on the handles.

Zucchetti: in collaboration with the world’s best designers

“While not necessarily a household name in New Zealand, David Lopez Quincoces is regarded as a master in modern design in his native Italy. After completing a masters in interior design at Politecnico de Milano, he founded his own studio, Quincoces-Dragò & Partners, collaborating on projects in the fields of architecture, graphic design, interior design and industrial design—with brands such as Lissoni Associati, Trussardi, Arcis Motor & Cycle, TJ, Brera, Living Divani, ADD, Salvatori, Doctor Smood and Lema,” says Kirsten.

This was the first collaboration for Zucchetti and Quincoces-Dragò & Partners.

“I think that approaching a project as an outsider instead of being too immersed in the sector, as was the case with this project, has its advantages—it allows you to bring your own aesthetic and it's easier to achieve what you want or need,” says David.

“The process behind Helm was actually a little different as Zucchetti usually works with brass, so working with stainless steel on this project meant approaching the object from a completely different perspective in terms of construction technique. We decided to approach it as though it was a set of pieces, a small Lego set to put together.

“From there, it became a question of perfecting the proportions of those elements—gradually refining and simplifying until you find the right identity. The aim is to create an element or language that is as timeless as possible so that the object in question can exist for much longer.”

David says that while designed as a collection of tapware and accessories for the bathroom, the design intent with Helm was to make it as versatile as possible so that it could be used across diverse settings, from residential applications through to a variety of hospitality venues, such as hotels and restaurants.

Helm was awarded a prestigious Red Dot Award for product design in 2021.

Learn more about the Helm Collection from Zucchetti.