Michael Schmidt lives and works in Stuttgart. His firm, which goes by the name of code2design, is active in the kitchen, bathroom and office segments. In the field of sanitaryware, he made a name for himself with the Silk and Icon collections he designed for Keramag. Michael Schmidt has a knack for recognising potential and people who ought to work together. He is also somebody who acts on his principles, as the interdisciplinary research and development project he is currently conducting with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO) on the theme of universal design in the bathroom goes to show.
"Because of the demographic changes in our society, the bathroom will move up into first place in terms of its relevance and importance as an interior space," predicts Michael Schmidt. "If people want to live in their own home for as long as possible – and according to numerous surveys, that's precisely what more than 90 percent of us want – a multigenerational, barrier-free or access-friendly bathroom has to become the norm. And by the way: this kind of bathroom is great for kids too, because it's safe," says the designer, picking up on what looks set to be the key issue in the bathroom of the future.
With the Silk collection, he has already demonstrated that age-appropriate functionality and cosiness are by no means mutually exclusive. The German designer works for Italian bathroom specialist Falper on a regular basis and is nothing short of a virtuoso when it comes to using bathroom furniture, fittings, freestanding bathtubs and shower cabins to create emotional spaces and interior worlds that only bear any resemblance to a bathroom at second glance. Schmidt also developed a series of countertop washbasins for Falper, which have the appearance of handmade ceramic and look extremely thin-walled. The series consists of three organically rounded basin shapes in a solid surface that is made almost entirely of organic material and looks just like ceramic.
Schmidt sees the combination of architecture and product design as an important interface for future developments: "We have to call on the architecture to provide things that satisfy our modern needs and requirements of a bathroom. Intelligent lighting in conjunction with daylight, privacy and acoustics is a good example of what I mean. That's why whirlpools have died a bit of a death: most of them are too loud," explains Schmidt tersely; he is, after all, a designer who always says what he thinks.