- Technology

Dornbracht installation aims to challenge the way people experience water

German kitchen and bathroom manufacturer Dornbracht has unveiled plans for a virtual-reality installation at this year’s Milan design week, which will examine how technology can change the way people interact with water.

Dornbracht’s Is Memory Data? installation will see visitors put on VR goggles and experience water in an “unprecedented, playful” way.

In reality the installation will comprise a simple bucket and hose, but through the goggles it will appear as a marble basin with a “hyper fountain” that spouts luminous water droplets and geometric shapes.

Surrounding it will be “high-gloss scenery” rendered with graphic stripes and multicolour surfaces.

Is Memory Data? installation by Dornbracht at Milan Design Week 2019

“Visitors will discover water as an interface – between an individual and technology, between materiality and immateriality, between physical and virtual experience,” the company explained.

“Within a subversive, laborato­ry-­like setting, virtual-reality applications will allow visitors to experience the materiality of water anew.”

Is Memory Data? installation by Dornbracht at Milan Design Week 2019

The fountain is based on Dornbracht’s Supernova tap model.

“You feel the water flowing over your hands, but your eyes see something completely different in the VR. You experience changing materials and interacting with them,” says Mike Meiré, the brand’s creative director.

“It is very interesting to see what this does to the brain and especially to your senses.”

Is Memory Data? installation by Dornbracht at Milan Design Week 2019

The name of the installation derives from the company questioning whether our interactions with water in the real world can be accurately recreated in a virtual realm.

It is the first project to emerge from Dornbracht Research Lab, a new research project of the company launched by Meiré, which will carry out long-term investigations into the intersection between technology and water.

“As its title divulges, [Dornbracht Research Lab] is iterative and searching in character,” the company added. “Consciously open and unbiased, the format is devoted to questions that contribute to the brand’s long-term vision: creating water experiences that move individuals at an elementary level.”

Is Memory Data? installation by Dornbracht at Milan Design Week 2019

Dornbracht is headquartered in Iserlohn, Germany. It has been producing kitchen and bathroom fittings since 1950, when it was founded by Aloys F Dornbracht.

Last year the brand teamed up with German studio Sieger Design to create a six-square-metre home spa for micro-apartments, responding to urbanisation and the subsequent shrinking of properties.

The company has also released a spa-inspired bathroom collection that includes a massaging shower and a tap that can give facials.

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