Roca’s bathroom accessories pay homage to Barcelona’s 20th century architecture

The Spanish bathroom brand Roca will exhibit the Tura and Nu collections during Milan Design Week, both of which celebrate the brand’s origin story.

Timeless style and architectural forms spring to mind when trying to describe Roca’s collections of bathroom accessories, which always celebrate the rich visual landscape of its native Mediterranean. 

Founded in 1917 in Barcelona, Roca has been shaped by the city’s dynamic spirit and artistic heritage, evolving to become a leading company in bathroom product design, manufacturing, and sales for architecture, construction, and interior design. It combines tradition with innovation and a commitment to sustainability, serving customers in 170 countries across 79 factories with over 21,000 employees, whilst always remaining a 100% Spanish company.

Roca bathroom accessories _ Milan Design Week 2024 _ Barcelona
© Roca

It’s no surprise then, that on the occasion of Milan Design Week, the brand has chosen to lean into its origin story. From 15 to 21 April, Roca will present its cutting-edge developments across two different spaces, highlighting a focus on sustainability with the latest e-kiln technology, as well as its latest collections: Tura, Nu and Avant. 

Mediterranean Perspectives @ Salone Del Mobile

As part of the International Bathroom Exhibition at Salone del Mobile, Roca has called upon Barcelona-based architecture firm Mesura to create an immersive pavilion. Inspired by the Spanish city’s architecture, the installation called “Mediterranean Perspectives” features a design that unfolds into a central plaza, inviting visitors to step inside and explore its newest collections.

Among them is the award-winning Nu collection by Studio Inma Bermúdez. Together, with Roca, the Spanish design studio has given taps a colourful makeover influenced by the “explosion of colour in interior design”, which the studio says has taken hold in Spain since the pandemic.

Mediterranean Perpectives, Sketch by Mesura, Salone del Mobile.Milano 2024 – © Roca

Roca’s colourful Nu taps pay homage to Mediterranean homes

The initial inspiration came from whitewashed Mediterranean houses with their blue, green, and red doors, whilst other references include the multicoloured mosaic floor tiles commonly found in Barcelona’s Modernist apartments.

Beneath the faucet handles are small red and blue dots, indicating hot and cold water, respectively. These dots remain hidden until the tap is turned on, forming a smiley face when combined with the faucet’s rim. 

Nu features three different handles – Pin, Stripes and Dome. The Dome handle features a whimsical rounded shape, contrasting with the slender elongation of Pin and the cylindrical body of Stripes, which bears ridges reminiscent of vintage stereo knobs. The collection also comes in six eye-catching colourways – honey yellow, cobalt blue, mint green, glossy white, titanium black, and chrome. 

Nu collection by Studio Inma Bermúdez – © Roca

To promote water conservation, Roca has incorporated an aerator at the top of the faucet that helps to reduce water flow without compromising pressure. This design not only conserves water but also contributes to sustainable water usage practices. 

In an effort to minimise energy waste, the taps are designed to default to cold water upon opening, thus reducing unnecessary heating emissions and supporting eco-friendly energy consumption. The Nu collection taps are also manufactured in Europe and shipped without single-use plastics to lessen the environmental impact of long-distance transportation.

Nu collection by  Studio Inma Bermúdez for Roca
Nu collection by Studio Inma Bermúdez – © Roca

Inma Bermúdez from Spain and Moritz Krefter from Germany are the creative duo behind Studio Inma Bermúdez and the “Nu” collection. Based in Valencia since 2007, their approach is defined by a blend of German precision, Mediterranean light and a respect for the environment. 

The Tura collection reflects the geometric principles of Barcelona’s rationalist architecture

Visitors to the pavilion will also experience The Tura collection, which draws inspiration from Barcelona’s 20th-century architectural masterpieces including “La Ricarda” by Antonio Bonet, “Casa Ugalde” by José Antonio Coderch, and the “Joan Miró Foundation” by Josep Lluis Sert. 

Designed in collaboration with local designer Andreu Carulla, design elements such as shutters from these buildings are reimagined into pieces for the bathroom space. Tura includes washbasins, furniture, bathtubs, toilets, and bidets, all of which are engaged in a dialogue with the functionalism of these architects, echoing their poetic curves, superimposed volumes, and sophisticated rationalism.

Tura collection by Andreu Carulla – © Roca

Meanwhile, sustainability is naturally woven into the collection with 100% natural ceramic material meant to last generations, FSC® certified wood, and recycled cork lids that double as trays for the washbasin.

Similar to how Coderch transformed humble bricks into avant-garde structures, Tura utilises traditional ceramics to carve out a new design language. Stemming from the fusion of shifting volumes, the collection embodies the essence of Spanish “cul-tura” and “architec-tura,” marking the convergence of tradition and innovation.

Tura collection by Andreu Carulla – © Roca

“The design of the TURA collection is simple and restrained, with smooth contours, and the occasional use of wood and recycled materials,” says Roca. “The storage boxes are made from recycled felt, and replicate the shadows produced by shutters and pergolas, a motif that can also be found on the side of the ultra compact washbasin.” 

Avant: a revolutionary, space-saving toilet

Also on display will be Roca’s Ona and Targa collections, as well as its award-winning toilet design, Avant. With an integrated cistern and patented flushing system, Avant addresses the growing demand for space-efficient bathroom design, reimagining the bathroom experience by blending elegant design and silent efficiency.

Avant’s patented flushing system is based on the Venturi effect, delivering a powerful yet water-saving flush. Complementing this flushing system is the Roca Rimless® Vortex dual-flush mechanism, ensuring silent operation and reduced splashing for maximum hygiene and optimal performance. Recognized for its innovative design, Avant received the prestigious iF Design Award 2024 for bathroom product design.

Avant’s patented flushing system is based on the Venturi effect, delivering a powerful yet water-saving flush – © Roca

Sparking Change @ Fuorisalone Cross Vision

As if one impressive spectacle wasn’t enough, Roca will also present “Sparking Change” as part of Fuorisalone Interni’s “Cross Vision” exhibit. The installation is designed by Mario Cucinella Architects and draws inspiration from the recent launch of the world’s first electric tunnel kiln at Roca Group’s production plant in Gmunden, Austria.

The installation includes 1,200 3D-printed ceramic blocks produced using a low environmental impact process that uses virgin clay and recycled ceramics. These blocks will be formulated to create a curved backdrop with a colour gradient that symbolises the operating temperatures of the ceramic firing process.

Arch. Mario Cucinella – ©Julius Hirtzberger

 “This installation is evidence that technology and digital tools are no longer merely instruments for creating but also for stimulating new ideas,” explains Mario Cucinella, Founder & Creative Director of MCA – Mario Cucinella Architects (read our interview here).  

To further underline Roca’s sustainability efforts, the self-supporting structure can be dry assembled and easily disassembled, ensuring its potential for reuse at future events. Whilst inside, web augmented reality will allow visitors to immerse themselves in an interactive experience to learn more about the benefits of Roca’s new zero carbon tunnel kiln.

“The electric tunnel kiln is a highly efficient and sustainable alternative to traditional production methods that rely on fossil fuels,” explains Roca. “The progress made in achieving complete decarbonisation in ceramics production demonstrates its feasibility, economic viability and potential to pave the way for a sustainable future.”

Sparking Change, Sketch – © Mario Cucinella Architects

This achievement marks a significant advancement in Roca Group’s journey toward a net-zero sanitaryware production facility, aligning with the company’s decarbonization strategy. It will also play an important role in helping the Group achieve its SBTi target of carbon neutrality by 2045. 

Roca’s past, present and exciting future

‘Mediterranean Perspectives’ and ‘Sparking Change’ are examples of Roca’s dedication to innovation as well as an honouring of its history. Both installations encapsulate the very essence of Roca’s rich heritage and core values, which are rooted in the Mediterranean ethos of harmony with nature and reverence for tradition. 

Roca’s Ruy Ohtake Collection – © Roca

Mediterranean Perspectives will be showcased at Salone del Mobile, Pavilion 10 Stand nº B19-C12 at Rho Fiera Milano from April 16 to 21. Meanwhile, Sparking Change will be featured from April 15 to 28 at the Fuorisalone Interni “Cross Vision” exhibit, hosted at the University of Milan, Via Festa del Perdono, 7.


Open full width

Send this to a friend