Aric Chen -- Interior Design, 10/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
Sure, there are design darlings among refrigerators and cooktops. Even sinks and toilets can boast a few stylish charmers. But when it comes to capturing hearts in both the kitchen and bathroom, the belle of the ball is Dornbracht's Tara faucet. Indeed, over the course of the last decade, the Tara collection's iconic cruciform handles and gooseneck spouts have waltzed their way through the most fashionable of hotels, restaurants, and residences.
And now, for Tara's 10th birthday, add "muse" to the slim-line star's CV. Tara: Homage to a Sanitary Fitting and an Archetype, a book commissioned by Dornbracht, features moody vignettes photographed in black and white by Irving Penn protégé Jesse Frohman.
So how come all the fuss? Quite simply, it's Tara's simplicity. As explained by Sieger Design managing director and partner Michael Sieger, whose father, Dieter, created Tara in 1994, "It's a modern interpretation of the classic cross-handled faucet. We reduced the form to its minimum while keeping it familiar." In fact, Tara's name is German for tare, the weight of a container that's deducted on a scale, so only the contents are measured. In other words, Tara demonstrates that it's the substance that counts. (Scarlett O'Hara notwithstanding.)
However, today's classic wasn't always such. Tara was originally designed as a display accessory for a Duravit bathtub line, and it was hardly a shoo-in when Sieger Design later approached Dornbracht about putting the pared-down fittings into production. "They weren't sure at first, because it seemed too spare to be high-end," Sieger recalls. That, of course, was before the triumphant return of minimalism—in which the almost-didn't-happen product played a vanguard role.
Since then, the collection has expanded to embrace a wide range of faucet configurations as well as showerheads, and Tara is consistently Dornbracht's best seller, accounting for one third of the company's U.S. sales. But success also brings drawbacks. "I've seen maybe 30 to 50 copies over the years," Sieger notes. "But nothing quite like the original."