Sebastian Herkner discusses the inspiration and design process behind Zencha, a new bathroom series he has created for Duravit.

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The shape of the square version of the free-standing bathtub, made from DuraSolid and measuring 1250×1250 mm, is drawn from the above-counter basin. Bathers are invited to immerse themselves into the deep water, an experience reminiscent of a Japanese Onsen bath

Your attention to detail and the desire to add unique elements to the products are key facets of your work. How did you apply this when creating the Zencha collection?

With the Zencha series I wanted to highlight our understanding of authentic materials and the way they can evoke emotions. I was inspired by the Japanese tea ceremony, its attention to detail, and the way it has of slowing things down. I brought this into the design, in a low-key way by focusing on the detail, such as the delicate, curved edge of the washbasin, which is inspired in turn by delicate teacups that nestle in the hand. It was important to engender an ambience in the bathroom where we can recharge our batteries in the morning and enjoy some ‘me time’ in the evening.

Sebastian Herkner has won numerous design awards, including the Elle Deco International Design Award (EDIDA)/Best Designer of the Year 2021, Maison & Objet/Designer of the Year 2016, and an iF Design Award

You talk about ‘authentic materials’. What impact do these have with Zencha?

For me it’s very important to use authentic materials, including wood, ceramic, and glass. I also use a textured glass that plays with light and shade, creating a variety of reflections. I believe that this is part of the harmony of this bathroom and its overall creation. I like to think everyone can interpret Zencha for themselves. As the designer I provide the stage, but everyone chooses how to dance on it.


The furniture of the Zencha collection is designed in a modular fashion and can be deployed in a variety of ways, for instance as open shelves or drawers with push-open and self-closing technology. Combined with the above-counter basin, they become a beautiful centrepiece in the bathroom

How did the design process progress for the new collection?

I first started discussions with Duravit three years ago and we very quickly agreed on the story we wanted to tell. Working closely with the Hornberg plant for ceramic and Schenkenzell for furniture, my team and I developed the entire collection consisting of washbasins, bathtubs, mirrors, and furniture. This was the first time I had developed a bathroom ceramic series and relied to a large extent on the vast knowledge, willingness and openness of the Duravit employees. It was important for us to project the delicate elegance of the gentle, outwardly curving washbasin edge on to the furniture. The gentle frames of the storage furniture are testament to Duravit’s technical excellence.


Black textured glass with a lined pattern breathes sensual elegance into the bathroom. Matched here with the furniture carcass in Graphite Super Matt and above-counter basin in Anthracite Matt

How important is it to you to make full use of the (design) freedom that you have as a designer in your projects?

As a designer it’s a privilege for a company to give you the freedom and trust to develop a new vision for them. Zencha is my interpretation of Duravit and shows how I want a bathroom to be. However, ultimately such a development involves cooperation from both sides.


As storage for everyday items, the furniture and cabinets lend structure to the space and create a homely feeling. Cabinet fronts in the Black Oak variant are warm and tactile

In our fast-paced world, the bathroom is also a place of reflection and calm. How do you think this is changing the design of this room in the home?

In our homes we have places where we communicate, whether its the kitchen, bathroom, or the bedroom, which these days may sometimes be used for working. I find that the bathroom is the last place that is limited to its original function: reflection, relaxation, and spending some occasional time alone.

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For more information, please visit the Duravit website.