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17 Nov, 17

THG Paris has teamed up with award-winning designer Timothy Corrigan for his first foray into bathroom design

In a bid to move away from its stance of traditional and contemporary styles, as separate entities, THG has decided to blur the lines of these juxtaposing designs, to speak to a wider market. With a long-term relationship with designers, including  Christofle, Baccarat and Bernardaud, THG wanted its latest collection to have a broader voice and appeal outside of its native French market. This is where designer Timothy Corrigan steps in. With offices in both Europe and America, he was placed to speak to a wider audience as he comments:  “They came to me and said you understand Europe but you also understand America and the international market. 70% of all our projects are outside of America, so I understand the whole global voice and where design is going.” Three years in the making, he has now created two brassware collections called West Coast and Grand Central. They combine classical styling with contemporary design and manufacturing methods.

Design influences

Citing how his aim was to create a range symbolising “jewellery for the bathroom”, Timothy Corrigan drew inspiration from the glamour of the Art Deco period, with was epitomised by the likes of Cartier, Tiffany and Christofle-designed accessories. In fact, his designs hone in on a lot of the same manufacturing techniques used for watches and decorative accessories. These include ribbed designs, fluting, and diamond shapes, all of which have been incorporated in the Grand Central and West Coast collections. However, the taps also allow for customisation of certain elements, such as finishes and handles. Corrigan comments: “Not only do THG have all these range of huge finishes, but you can mix elements on the taps, on the handles, and make each one [tap] individual and make each one customised.” This is a first for THG, where all the components from a collection can be made to include the same design details, from towel bar and toilet roll holder, through to soap dispenser.

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Alongside these traditional techniques, West Coast and Grand Central also feature a pattern which Corrigan states is exclusive to the range. He explains: “I went to the factory and I was working with a guy who said ‘I’ve developed a pattern, a technique which I’ve invented, and basically I’m the only one who can do it’. He’s trained one other person to do it in the factory.” The result was an engraving of lines onto the brassware, producing an intricate pattern which is never the same on each product.

But it’s not only jewellery which has influenced his brassware design but also architecture. Corrigan designs have also been inspired by his American background. The ribbed lines, which are visible on the neck of the taps in the Grand Central collection, are reminiscent of the columns at Grand Central Station in New York. West Coast still includes the lineal design incorporating the jewellery theme but exudes a cleaner finish and tries to transcend the traditional theme associated with the brand.

Overcoming challenges

While the two collections display European design aesthetic with belted waist and finial details, Corrigan admits there were certain challenges which he had to overcome. His prior work has been centralised upon furniture and materials, where aspects such as fluid dynamics did not have to be considered. When creating West Coast and Grand Central, Corrigan confesses some of his original drawings had to be altered. He comments: “When I’m designing a line of fabrics or I’m designing a line of furniture it’s not nearly as technical as this. This has to really function. They do testing in multiple countries to make sure it works everywhere and meets safety standards. There were a lot of technical things I had to learn. I designed 14 different collections and then they said ‘well this is wonderful but aero dynamically it’s not going to work very well.’ You have to look at all those things; I developed things which went from square to round because they said it’s going to be difficult.”

Throughout this process, however, products and ideas were developed which THG had never used before. Through Corrigan drawing on his previous design experience, THG was able to bring a fresh perspective on how traditional taps and brassware were developed. He comments on the process: “There are some things which you will see, for example there is a hand spray for the shower, where it goes from square to round. There were little details which were a challenge for [THG] to figure out how to do and it was fun. It was the technical aspect of doing things which they hadn’t done before.” 

Designs also had to be modified due to the popularity of different kinds of taps used in Europe compared to the rest of the world. The differing handles forced Timothy to adapt his original drawings, once more, to ensure his collections appealed to the global market. He explains: “What I learnt was in the UK and Europe the majority of people use cross bar handles, in the rest of the world outside of Europe, the majority of people use levers. So you have to have designs for both. Another difference also was in Europe and the UK the majority used a low spout whereas the rest of the world they use a high spout. So it was about figuring out how we took those elements and had both.”

Why THG?

The decision to collaborate with THG was because it aligned with Timothy’s own design company and brand. With both THG and Timothy Corrigan being positioned in the high-end market, there was an ability to understand the target audience and the type of products suitable for the consumer. Corrigan, however, also explains it was the authenticity and quality of the products produced by THG which persuaded him to work with them: “It’s such a treat to be able to work with a company where the quality is unquestionable. It’s not often you can say this is a company which, I can put my hand on my heart and say if it’s not right if it doesn’t work, they are going to fix and repair it. If the quality is there they stand by their product, which seems increasingly important today.”

Looking to the future Timothy would like to do another collection with THG but states there are no current plans in the pipeline: “I would love to do [another collection] in the future as I really loved working with the company. I loved the process of it. I’m hoping this will do so well they will come back to me and say please do another!”