Ulli Finkeldey and Kai Uetrecht work together under the name Nexus Product Design and are active in the fields of medical technology, office machines, household and kitchen furniture, upholstered furniture and accessories. In view of the wide variety of bathroom products they have created for the sanitary sector – including fittings, showers, tubs, washstands, bathroom furniture and space-structuring concepts – the duo can certainly be regarded as specialists for the bathroom segment.
The studio is located in the ground-floor apartment of a two-family house in a rather conservative residential area of Bielefeld – not necessarily a classic, inspiring setting for an idea factory, you might think. But as you talk to the two very different designers, you realise it was in fact right here that they developed a milestone in the history of sanitaryware design: Ulli Finkeldey and Kai Uetrecht think in systems and believe in the big picture. That's also why they have the patience and staying power to spend several years at a stretch collaborating with a manufacturer's product management and engineering department on the development of highly complex product systems until they are ready to go into production.
The rc40 range for burgbad was one such challenge and kept the studio busy for a considerable length of time. "What we need is intelligently used space," says Ulli Finkeldey. "It's spatial quality we want. People have a need to experience the space physically – the proportions of the room, the light or the view of the surroundings. A piece of furniture is just the thing for promoting, defining and structuring spatial quality. Many products just can't do that. Especially not in the bathroom."
The innovative module system rc40 has been enhanced and extended by the addition of various new components. The collection gives architects and bathroom planners totally new possibilities for structuring the bathroom – at a time when bathrooms are becoming increasingly cosy and users' desire for more "space" for what used to be the smallest room in the house seems to be growing all the time. "By creating island solutions or usage areas, we can give the space a completely new quality – it permits a new quality of life as well. We can now provide the architect with stimulating ideas for presenting the bathroom to his client from a totally different perspective," explains Kai Uetrecht.
Whilst the two Westphalian designers share a passion for detail, they are far less enthusiastic about being part of the show in the design circus. Instead, Nexus prefers to reward its clients with innovative ideas – especially when it comes to complex and long-term developments. "If somebody sings in the shower and feels good while he's using it, we've done a good job," says Ulli Finkeldey, aptly summing up how, for him, quality in use comes first.