Vola proudly celebrated its 50-year milestone throughout 2018. The Danish design company, renowned for producing and innovating modernist pioneer Arne Jacobson’s original 20th-century designs, has taken the opportunity to reflect on its core founding values that have driven its longevity.
Half a century of minimal, highly-crafted and sustainable bathroom products since the very first 112 tap, Vola is proud that its core values have remained constant since 1968. It was Verner Overgaard, founder of Vola, who inspired a Danish sense of curiosity and passion for learning. This approach has resulted in an enduring inventiveness that will smoothly carry Vola through the next 50 years.
Looking back over half a century of production, it was clear to the Vola team that Overgaard’s values are still wholeheartedly embedded within the designs and the craftsmanship. Whether it’s in a sketch, material, technology or a person pulling up a chair to join the discussion, innovation is always at the forefront.
If you’re fascinated by what drives Vola’s inventiveness like us, this final instalment in a series of six films celebrating the brand’s 50th anniversary explores how these values translate into practice. Titled ‘Always evolving’, the film reveals the unique company culture Vola has nurtured. The narrative follows the innovative spirit inspired by uncompromising design, curiosity and inventive craftsmanship.
Vola shows that innovation is really a mindset achieved through values. Continuing Overgaard’s way of thinking, the company’s craftspeople strive to do their best, daily. Vola’s eagerness to explore new processes, and its resourceful approach are values seen reflected in the highly functional simplicity of the products, and their serene, perfected finishes.
Applying this perspective to design and production, resulted in innovation from the first 112 tap designed by Jacobsen, to a whole range of products based on the Vola modular system. Modularity has ensured consistency and continuity, yet allows for the flexibility desired for today. While the core concept of pure design, simplicity and function has remained the same, progressive technology, and careful adjustments have allowed Vola to continue on an onwards trajectory, pushing the boundaries of design.
The Vola T39 towel warmer is an example of this modular innovation. The design means that it can be customised to any space. While owning a piece of classic Vola design, users can also adapt it to their contemporary needs.
Vola’s pioneering longevity means that even the very first products are still in production – and, it goes without saying, a lot has changed since the second half of the 20th century. Throughout the challenges of the last five decades from industrial revolutions, increasing awareness of environmental issues, growing consumer demand for sustainability, even social changes in how people use their bathrooms, Vola has continued to thrive by staying true to its founding values and future vision.
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Water – the vital element that brings us life, green plants, a refreshing splash – runs through the heart of Vola. At home, the Danish brand has shaped the way we experience water for half a century, and in return, the path of water guides how each Vola product is designed.
The celebration of water is a daily ritual at Vola and on the occasion of 50 years, Vola has followed the influence of water right back to the source in 1968 when the company was founded. Fifth in a series of films Vola has commissioned to celebrate five decades of timeless design, ‘Water and Wellness’ explores how water runs through the history, craft and philosophy of the brand.
The film shows how Vola’s deep connection with water is rooted in the Danish affinity with nature and in its geography – the endless coastline, meandering peninsulas, islands and natural lakes. This connection with water permeates Danish culture, and is closely related to wellbeing, spending time outside, staying healthy. Just watching the lapping waves, the cantilevering pools and horizon between the sea and the sky in Vola’s ‘Water and Wellness’ is enough to relax us, even from a place far, far away.
Vola understands water – the measured curve of the 090FM floor-mounted tap gently flexing into the freestanding bath creates a balanced flow and even distribution of water. Technology and innovation has seen the bending of the steel of the FS1 tap perfected, so that the shape quietens the water’s impact, entirely removing the splash, while the form softens the stream against the skin.
Thanks to Vola, the modern bathroom has been through somewhat of a revolution. No longer merely functional, today the bathroom is a daily sanctuary to soothe the body and nurture the soul. Wellbeing isn’t a trend for Vola, it’s embedded in the culture of the brand and its home in Denmark, and has been for 50 years.
A Vola design, with its minimalist lines, soft curves and quality craftsmanship, can transform a straightforward space into an escape. No wonder architects and designers are seeking out Vola designs – they can elevate a family home or an architectural icon alike into a modern moment of pure wellbeing.
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Danish brand Vola is proud to have been environmentally conscious ever since its beginning in 1968. Driven by the purest materials and carefully developed processes, when a Vola product is made, 100 per cent of waste is recovered and recycled. Vola celebrates this in the latest film in a series commissioned to mark its 50th anniversary.
‘Design itself is not enough,’ says Peder Nygaard, factory director at Vola, who explains how, in addition to design, it’s the finely-tuned craft-led processes that lay the foundations for Vola’s sustainable approach.
Vola products have always been made in Denmark, where every step of the manufacturing process is carefully considered and exacted. Vola keeps everything close to home to ensure absolute precision over each stage of production. The team continuously ask questions: How can we throw away less? How can we reuse more? The result – a product that becomes purer, and purer still, from every refinement of its design and production.
This highly-crafted process is met with Vola’s commitment to pure materials. Vola only uses the finest quality brass and stainless steel, always sourced from trusted suppliers with long-term relationships with the brand. The recycled waste materials carefully collected from the manufacturing process remain pure, and are always sent back to the foundry to be reshaped into the next batch of raw material, beginning the process again to create a new product, or replacement part. Proving its steady commitment to less waste, Vola makes new parts available for each well-loved product, prolonging lifespans even further.
The Vola round-head shower is an example of how original design meets pure material and process. It’s an art that Vola has been mastering since 1968 – the art of the unseen, in which utility is fluently folded between the elegance of good design.
Take the 060, it begins life as a 600kg cylinder of solid brass or stainless steel. This is then sliced succinctly into 43 discs, which are then carved to form its contemporary shape. The flat circular head envelops its technical function subtly within its pure shell, hiding the practical details that the user doesn’t need to see. For an object as eloquently designed as this, material takes centre stage.
Against a minimal palette, the quality of craftsmanship of Vola products shines. Belgian interior designer Federic Kielemoes is known for his stripped back, clean and restrained style. He provides the perfect base for the 111X and 5471R-061A in brass, seen here installed in a neutral bathroom in an apartment in Belgium.
Similarly in Kasterlee, Belgium, a pool house built of raw concrete and timber designed by minimalist Arjaan De Feyter is a canvas for Vola’s natural brass fixtures including the Vola 2471-061 shower. The grey wall surface by the Belgium-based company Texture Painting, using the ‘Microtopping’ technique, provides a textured base to enhance the clarity of the brass in its pure state.
Vola’s interest in natural materials and the environment stems from a very Danish sensibility that is rooted in respect for nature. The 060 round-head shower in brass (5471R-061A and 311) is thus very much at home inside a cedar wood-lined bathroom in the heart of a forest in upstate New York.
This bathroom, anchored by Vola design, is part of a new ‘tiny home’ dwelling designed by Denmark’s most celebrated contemporary architecture studio BIG and NYC-based company Klein. The 16.7sq m prototype is made of natural, sustainable timber designed to be built, tailored and completed within four to six months. Like this resourceful architectural design, Vola products are crafted to prolong our relationship with nature through sustainable design.
It’s a comfort to know that a Vola product respects the environment; a quality that isn’t immediately seen – like the refined process, purity of material and unseen functionality of the design – yet is vital to understanding the brand. While our relationship to the environment has changed remarkably over half a century – for better and worse – Vola’s awareness of sustainability, 50 years on, continues to help us to exist alongside and within nature.
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