The new Vola product line up consists of – a free standing range including a bath FS1 , basin FS2 and shower FS3, a new heated towel rail system T39, and a range of electronic sensor taps ES . All strongly enhancing Vola‘s existing iconic product collections.
To support dedece’s sydney showroom launch events, Carsten Hartmann, from Vola, Denmark conducted a series of presentations for invited guests from the A & D community. During these sessions, Carsten elaborated on Vola‘s product development strategies, as well as covering issues and responses to changing water consumption regulations, commercial buildings water management issues, and the need to eliminate toxic materials from the water supply chain.
Vola is accredited with ISO 14001 – the internationally recognized standard for the environmental management of businesses. It prescribes controls for those activities that have an effect on the environment. These include the use of natural resources, handling and treatment of waste and energy consumption.
Vola’s chrome taps have a maximum lead content of only 2.5%, and the company is currently working on bringing out a completely lead-free chrome tap which will be a world first.
VOLA is Watermark Australian Standard and WELLS approved.
Conscious water consumption is an absolute necessity in our modern world, but comfort and usability in both bathrooms and kitchens is just as important. The responsibility for water and the need for a bathroom as a place for recuperation and relaxation should not contradict one another.
With VOLA – you can have both.
The new freestanding shower system FS3 with thermostat embodies the VOLA character in its purest form; concise, slender, sculptured design. It is distinguished by its modern and geometrical shape, which is sure to inspire all purist VOLA followers. In its function the new FS3 mimics natural rain fall but unlike nature, intensity and temperature of the curtains of water can be easily adjusted.
VOLA towel warmer, T39. In place of the more common radiator-style towel warmer, VOLA has launched its built-in modular electric heated towel rail for individual design solutions.
In line with the VOLA trademark style, the new towel warmer is a built-in unit where all the technical units are hidden behind the wall. It is designed as a flexible system of bars which can be combined in number and location as to fit any given interior design or tiles arrangement. This concept allows maximum freedom and provides a perfect design solution for any modern bathroom. Individual number of bars with center distance between 100 and 300 mm. With non-return valve and thermostat. For central heating installations. ½” connections.
The VOLA T39 towel warmer is available in high-polished chrome, brushed chrome and brushed stainless steel.
The FS1 freestanding bath mixer and shower and the built-in towel rail contain established Vola design elements while taking the aesthetic forward. Although aesthetics have always been a major consideration, Vola is now also taking steps to include wellness in the development of its products. For example, the three-way shower diverter enables the user to switch between various combinations of head and body jet functions, creating their own unique shower experience.
The new bath filler is designed to meet the trend for baths in bedrooms. Often the bath is placed in the best position in the room with a view to the outside. The bath filler is designed to be viewed from all angles and to stand elegantly in the room, almost like a sculpture. Its design was inspired by a modern city skyline, with its towering columns all individually elegant but interconnecting to form one perfect image.
FS2 is a mixer for freestanding washbasin mixer.
Free-standing does not mean over-exposed. In keeping with our design principles, the less aesthetically pleasant elements remain hidden. The exceptionally tall, slender FS2 spout frees up ample space. Its upright design gives the fittings a very slim and elegant energy adding to the beauty of any freestanding washbasin.
The result is pure VOLA.
Vola offers traditional Scandinavian craftsmanship and the most modern engineering technology to ensure the highest standard of precision and quality finishing. The full Vola range is available in polished or brushed chrome, natural brass, or a choice of 16 colors. A selection of the Vola range is now also available in solid stainless steel. Mixers, taps and accessories are made from solid brass and gun metal with a few components in stainless steel. All valve housings are made using dezincification resistant brass.
Vola offers build-in on-off sensors for ‘hands free’ operation for many of the Vola collection.
VOLA is manufactured by VOLA A/S a well established Danish company founded in 1873, owned and run by the Overgaard family.
Shortly after Arne Jacobsen won a competition in 1961 for his design of the National Bank of Denmark he was contacted by the owner of VOLA A/S, Verner Overgaard who introduced his proposal for a new type of wall-mounted mixer tap. He imagined a design where all the mechanical parts of the mixer are hidden leaving only the handles and spout exposed. At the time this was a completely new concept, but Jacobsen realized that this idea combined with his functional approach to design could be developed.
With that basic principle in mind, it was conceived the simple and concise VOLA design that we know today was conceived.
“The act of creation is equally exhilarating, whether one is working on a teaspoon or a national bank.” – Arne Jacobsen
Since Jacobsen’s death in 1971, Teit Weylandt, one of Arne Jacobsen’s former assistants, and later on the design department of Aarhus Arkitekterne A/S along with VOLA Director Carsten Overgaard continued to introduce new products into the world of the famous VOLA range. Thus establishing VOLA as an international brand whilst keeping the original principles of excellent design and functionality.
More than 42 years after the Scandinavian style guru Arne Jacobsen designed VOLA’s iconic HV1 tap, its classic shape is still fresh and relevant.
In a world where manufacturers are constantly bringing out new products to keep abreast of fashion, the VOLA HV1 tap stands out – its design has hardly changed since its launch over 42 years ago. This is the tap that wowed the world by showing how such a utilitarian product could also stand as a work of art. It is instantly recognised throughout the world and has won numerous design awards, including the prestigious Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design three times. It has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and has been specified for numerous iconic buildings, including the Gherkin in London, The Reichstag in Germany, and The Gran Hotel Panticosa in Spain.
The subtle changes made since 1968 are ones you feel would have pleased its designer. The rubber seal was replaced by a ceramic disc cartridge in 1989 for improved functionality, a new built-in part was introduced in 1996, making it easier to install, and thermostatic mixers were introduced in 1999.
Jacobsen’s original tap design was in grey to complement the concrete of the building for which it was designed.
In the 1970s the taps also came in orange, olive green and brown, while in the 1980s, white was a bestseller. A chrome finish was introduced in 1972 – now 70% of the products are in chrome and around 25% in brushed stainless steel. The brushed stainless steel version introduced in 2001 stays true to Jacobsen’s industrial look and the company feels confident he would have approved of this finish.
Verner Overgaard’s sons Carsten, the current md, and Poul, sales and marketing director, have been with the company for 40 and 30 years respectively, and are very careful to maintain both the original spirit of the design and the family feel of the company.
New products still bear the distinctive Vola styling – this year sees the launch of a freestanding tap and shower and a modular heated towel rail. Being innovative while not diluting the strong Vola identity is a tough balancing act, summed up in the company’s latest advertising slogan; ‘Celebrating continuity, celebrating change’.
Vola is still manufactured at the Danish HQ in Horsens, however. “Unlike most of our competitors who buy from China, we actually sell to the Chinese!” laughs Poul Overgaard.
Inevitably, the Vola HV1 has been copied by numerous manufacturers, but Vola prides itself on the integrity of the design, the quality of materials used and the attention to detail. Although some of the work is done by robots, there is a high degree of craftsmanship in each tap, as each is built to order.
Things that set the Vola range apart are the precise soldering of the two elements and brushing the stainless steel with very fine lines applied in the same direction. This quality of finish can only be achieved by hand, and as the production line is based on the principle of ‘one man – one tap’, each tap is unique. Before packaging, each tap is individually tested by hand.
Vola is able to supply parts for products that are 30 or 40 years old. “If you buy a cheap copy from the Far East, the chances are you won’t be able to get spare parts after a couple of years because they will have moved on to making something else,” says Carsten. “We have full control over what we sell,” adds Birthe Tofting, head of international sales and marketing. “Copies of our products could be made of scrap metal with a high lead content, which has potential health risks.”
Its solid stainless steel taps are obviously lead-free anyway, and as the stainless steel is sold for recycling, they have an environmental benefit too, as there is very little waste. “Buying from Vola, you also have the assurance that the product has been made by people working in decent conditions, not by children who are being exploited,” points out Birthe.
“People who buy from us are also buying into our knowledge, and are offered support and help with specification,” points out Birthe. If water consumption is an issue, the architect can tell Vola the maximum water consumption he wants a building to use, and the company can configure the taps and shower accordingly.
Rather than manufacture a variety of Vola ranges, the company has decided to stick to just one classic range with an infinite number of variations. There is a growing trend for modular designs that enable the architect or designer to configure their own style.
The idea of a modular system is very much in line with the Danish design heritage, allowing the customer creativity and individualism.
It also fits with Arne Jacobsen’s original aim to introduce a modular bathroom system in place of the chaotic collection of fittings found in most bathrooms of the time. With today’s lifestyle, the modular system is even more relevant, points out Birthe. “The bathroom is becoming more than just a room to have a bath in,” she observes. “It’s more like a living room in some ways. You read, relax, listen to music.” Having a co-ordinated space is therefore important to create a unified look and restful feel. Another benefit of the range is its flexibility. With the modular towel rail, the designer can specify the number of bars and the distance between them to fit the size of tiles the customer has chosen. The Vola modular system includes valves, handles, outlets, finishing plates and accessories.
The company’s eye for design is evident in its marketing strategy, where emotive photographic images also promote its philosophy of wellness. Philosophical decisions are made democratically and the company has a very team-oriented feel. Architects, members of the design team and people from the factory are all encouraged to put forward ideas, to gain the maximum creative and practical input. “We rely on many people as we believe that dialogue is an essential ingredient of design,” says Carsten.
Next to the factory, the Vola Academy, which opened in 2008 to mark the 40th anniversary, is a striking building. Its clean lines and geometry are very much in keeping with the Vola style, while its simplicity allows the main emphasis to rest on the products. The Academy is both an international showroom and a centre of learning, with a lecture hall and training rooms for carefully selected installers. The aim is also that the academy will be a meeting place for international architects who can deliver lectures on trends and design.