Aarhus-based VE2 has designed the simple, but fit-for-purpose Björk range. Not only does the design give hygiene a new, aesthetic dimension, but it also won the Red Dot Award in 2015.

  • Keep it simple, stupid

Project details

Project story

Hand-dryers as replacement for paper towels and soap dispensers instead of the classic, solid soap bar are in line with contemporary focus on hygiene. DAN DRYER and design specialists VE2 have designed simple, but fit-for-purpose products, that bring a new and aesthetic dimension to hygiene. 

Imagine toilet facilities with brilliant white, glossy tiles on the walls and floors. Sinks and fittings blend in with light colours and chrome finishes, whilst the hand-dryers and soap/sanitizer dispensers line up like a group of pigeon grey soldiers on parade.

Harmonisation is one of the key words behind Dan Dryer's latest range of toilet equipment − Björk. "A design has strength if the product can stand alone as a sober object, yet looks strong when part of a collection of products alongside each other." So says Hugo Dines Schmidt, partner and designer at VE2, and developer of the range in consultation with Dan Dryer.

"We've worked a lot on harmonising the heights of the Björk range. The fact that the dryer is 33 cm high is not really necessary when the motor takes up such little space. We designed it this way to have the same height as the soap dispenser in the same range. That forms a stringent band in toilet interior design, and can be the finishing touch to an otherwise monotone room - which is what a toilet is at the end of the day," explains Schmidt.

The Devil's in the detail

The simple look of the Björk range is carried through by conscious work on the details. For example, the cabinets are laser-cut, and joints welded with concealed seams.

"We avoided decorating or camouflaging the Björk range products. If the details are too complicated, it only causes more confusion. And that's inappropriate in relation to the function the product should have. That's why we simply did away with all the details that have no function. Keep it simple, stupid, as the saying goes. Simplicity also argues for a smoother production process," claims Schmidt, joint winner with DAN DRYER of the German Red Dot Award in 2015 for design of the Björk range.

The theme

Hand-dryers, soap dispensers, waste bins, changing units and toilet brushes are practical interior items in a toilet, and you could ask why design is so important for them? According to Schmidt, it's to do with perception of an everyday situation - and that's something a designer or architect should not turn their nose up at.

"Imagine a series of kitchen door handles that all fit your new kitchen. They have the same function, but you will always go for those you think look the best. We usually chose the product that appears well-designed and fit-for-purpose. And if repeated examples of the product improve our overall perception and create a theme, then we've done our job. There is symbolic value in a business that cares about a product, and that you can see that effort and even love have been put into it. That tells us that you as the buyer get more for your money," explains Schmidt.

"And that's the responsibility we have as designers - to use materials that work and are sustainable in design terms in the long-term. Colours and shape have to have long-term design relevance, and that's why I do not think that Björk products will be replaced the next time the bathroom interior is given a facelift. 

About VE2 and Björk:

VE2: Aarhus-based design specialists, entered into a strategic design partnership with DAN DRYER. More details at ve2.dk.

BJÖRK: DAN DRYER's range of hand-dryers, soap dispensers and changing units are made of painted steel and high-pressure laminate. Available in different standard colours, but can be ordered in a unique colour scheme. The range is complemented by two sizes of toilet roll holder, a hygiene bucket, paper dispenser and waste bin.

Read more: See the entire Björk range here.  

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