Interview with designer Partick Frey: “I wanted to create a feeling of softness and warmth.”


TitanCeram – the innovative ceramic material that Villeroy & Boch developed especially to manufacture stylish premium bathroom elements. After TitanCeram was first used for the delicate Artis washbasin collection and the extravagant Octagon pedestal washbasin, in 2017 Villeroy & Boch is launching a bathroom collection made from TitanCeram – Finion. The successful designer Patrick Frey, who is renowned for his unusual yet useful combinations of form and function in his works, came up with the high-quality design of the sanitary ceramics and furniture. In the interview Patrick Frey talks about the creation of the Villeroy & Boch Finion collection. 

Patrick Frey, born in South Korea in 1973, studied industrial design at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hanover between 1996 and 2002. In 2007, Patrick Frey founded his Studio for Industrial Design that works for brands such as Bree, Authentics, Elmar Flötotto and Vial. In the very first year of founding his own company, Patrick Frey received the Lucky Strike Junior Designer Award, the most prestigious award for young designers. Since then, many of his works have won international awards, including the iF Product Design Award and the Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum. Patrick Frey has been teaching at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hanover since 2014. 

Photo: Frank Schinski, Ostkreuz 


Mr Frey, designing a bathroom collection was uncharted creative territory for you. How did you approach this task?

Ceramic was a new material for me as I had never really worked with it before. So I first delved deeper into the subject of “ceramics”. I took part in a workshop and gained an insight into the manufacturing process at Villeroy & Boch. I was amazed by the precision and complexity of the production. Simply how time-consuming it is to produce the forms and how the ceramics shrink during the firing process. All that needs to be considered when you are developing a design to make sure you create a compelling collection.  

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I go to trade fairs to get some creative input. That doesn’t just mean replicating what you see, but also taking it further, creating your own thing. I also keep in contact with colleagues and discuss innovative concepts and ideas with them. And naturally inspiration from music, art and life per se also flows into my designs. 

Which challenges did you face in developing the Finion collection?

It was quite complicated to develop Finion, which comes with about 20 ceramic products and furniture. I created a free concept, based on associations with the bathroom and the role it plays in our home and life. Sounds and images, but also the moods and needs of the users. 

How did you transfer that to the products?

I’m a furniture designer by nature and normally work with warmer, softer materials such as wood, leather and fabric. Ceramic, on the other hand, is very hard and smooth and looks cool very quickly – an effect I didn’t want to have in my bathroom collection. So the real challenge was to create cosiness and a feeling of softness and warmth even with ceramic. 

How did you solve that?

I created soft transitions and developed a flowing design with strong contours for the washbasins. To do so, I laid a cloth over the form and transferred the silhouette of the flowing fabric to the ceramic. This allowed me to take full advantage of the TitanCeram material as it enabled me to develop very thin fine forms.  

And how did you “create warmth”?

Mainly with the furniture. Warm shades are at the fore, with splashes of gold to add the right touch. I can’t wait to see how experts and consumers are going to react to Finion. 


Here you will find further information about Patrick Frey and Villeroy & Boch.