VOLA design history

VOLA design history

Danish Design Arne Jacobsen

When Arne Jacobsen died in the spring of 1971, the first stage of the Nationalbank building had just been completed. During his long career, Arne Jacobsen designed some of the finest buildings and industrial products of the 20th century, leaving a life’s work that ensured him a distinguished place in international architectural history and making him one of the few Danes known by a wide circle of people throughout the modern world.

As a recently trained, very young architect, he introduced himself to the public at a building exhibition in Copenhagen with a project entitled ’The House of the Future’, which featured motorboat access in the basement, a garage at ground level and a helicopter pad on the roof.

The House of the Future was international functionalism’s first appearance in Denmark, a futuristic proposal as to how the new technological tools could shape a new architecture. Based on simple geometric forms, the house, which was built in full scale for the exhibition, expressed the design idiom that would later become so characteristic of Jacobsen.

In his building designs, Jacobsen was originally influenced by Danish neoclassicism, but he quickly turned to European functionalism, just as he understood how to adopt various international architectural trends throughout the century and adapt them to his own personal style. It has been said that Jacobsen was international in a Danish way and Danish in an international way.

His production was prodigious, and there cannot be many areas that he did not turn his hand to. His works range from several waterfront housing complexes, theatres, sports halls for swimming, riding and tennis, schools and other institutions for children, hotels, central banks and town halls, administrative buildings, factories and laboratories, blocks of flats, row houses and single family houses. All designed with attention to detail and respect for a good solution, and often incorporating innovations that advanced the field of architecture.

Jacobsen is one of the Danish architects with numerous buildings abroad. For example, St. Catherine’s College in Oxford, England. In Hamburg, Germany, his works include the HEW administration buildings and headquarters and a school. Also in Germany are his holiday centre on the island of Fehmarn including accommodations and a swimming hall, the Town Hall in Mainz and the minimalist foyer addition to the theatre in the Baroque gardens in Herrenhausen in Hannover. These buildings helped promote Jacobsen’s international reputation.

Arne Jacobsen’s goal was totality. As an architect, he wanted to have total control of a project and nothing was to be left to chance. Thus he was obligated to deal with the details of his buildings. This led to the design of a series of products of such high quality that although they were developed in conjunction with specific building projects, they had such universal application that they could become part of standard production. Jacobsen’s designs comprise a wide assortment of items such as furniture, textiles, lighting fixtures, door handles, cutlery, stainless steel tableware, glassware, clocks, water taps and accessories. Many of these products have achieved the status of international classics and have certainly helped Jacobsen’s rise to dizzying heights on the international firmament.

Through his work, Arne Jacobsen left his mark on generations of architects and thus helped build a special Scandinavian architectural tradition that is characterized by exemplary thoroughness from the general to the very specific. Very few Danes have achieved the broad international fame of Arne Jacobsen, who today stands for some of the best works produced in the 20th century, with an inherent quality that has ensured their sustainability into the new millennium.

VOLA - a design icon born in 1968
VOLA belongs to the generation of design icons from the Golden Age of Danish Design.
The first VOLA taps and mixers were designed in 1968 by the Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen who designed, among other things, the famous Egg and Swan chairs.

The first VOLA mixers were designed for the National Bank of Denmark. The collaboration between Arne Jacobsen and VOLA A/S started when the owner of VOLA A/S, Verner Overgaard contacted Arne Jacobsen and introduced his proposal for a new type of wall-mounted mixer. He imagined a design where all the mechanical parts of the mixer are hidden leaving only the spout and handle seen by the user. At this time this was a completely new concept, but Jacobsen realized that this idea combined with his functionalistic approach to design could be developed. With that basic principle in mind, the simple and concise VOLA design we know today was conceived. By 1974, VOLA had already been selected for the design collection of MOMA in New York and has since gone on to win many design awards world wide. VOLA can also be found in many prestigious buildings such as the new German Reichstag in Berlin, the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and various art museums and luxurious hotels throughout the world.


Originality and authenticity
“Design classics are the proof of lasting values of good design” says VOLA Managing Director Carsten Overgaard who together with Sales Director Poul Overgaard share responsibility for the company’s current success. Much of this success is contributed to the extensive product development and the more strategic approach to sales since taking control of the company in 1988.

In this world of constant change, with products being declared ‘out of date’ soon after their launch, we need more than ever unique design icons, with originality and authenticity, which will continue to fascinate future generations.

Subsequently, VOLA A/S has expanded from being a small local company to becoming an
international group of sales companies situated in 8 countries. The entire production of VOLA taps and mixers takes place in Denmark, which is quite extraordinary within the sanitary industry as many taps are now manufactured in China and the Far East. “Keeping everything under one roof allows us to control all aspects of production and maintain our commitment to quality” says Carsten Overgaard, which in turn helps to secure a healthy work environment and a conscious use of natural resources.

In 2007, VOLA was presented with the ‘GOOD DESIGN Award’ by The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Design and Architecture, for its free-standing bath filler, FS1 which was designed in close collaboration between VOLA A/S and the design office of the architectural firm of Aarhus Arkitekterne A/S.

As one of Scandinavia’s leading tap manufacturers, VOLA design principles are firmly rooted within the company culture. Each small detail, during design and development, is scrutinized by the product committee ensuring that every new item that leaves the factory holds part of a long and proven design heritage. At VOLA we are proud of our history. Proud of what the VOLA design has stood for and will continue to stand for, well into the future.

Today we not only wish to supply the product, but to also give the customer a complete service throughout the whole purchasing and installation process. To achieve this, VOLA A/S has built a new academy where selected plumbers are taught how to correctly install and maintain VOLA products. But, it’s not only the plumbers who will benefit, employees from the many international sales subsidiaries, as well as sales and manufacturing staff from the factory are also able to update their skills and knowledge – “we never stop learning”, says Director Carsten Overgaard. It is also our intention that the academy should become a meeting place for Danish and international architects who through lecture, may offer interesting insights into new trends within architecture and design.


Individuality a core value
During the 1960s, Arne Jacobsen strived to ‘clean-up’ the aesthetic chaos found in most bathrooms of the day caused by the various functional fittings and devices. At the time the bath room was a functional room so in a way Arne Jacobsen introduced design to the bathroom area. He considered designing a modular system which would include all the parts necessary to cover all bathroom requirements. Over the years this system has been developed to enable the designer to create individual and unique combinations using handles, spouts, cover plates and accessories, greatly increasing the benefits in using VOLA. Further benefits include water saving aerators and flow restrictors which have become just as important today as looks and usability.

The VOLA range is available in brushed stainless steel, high polished chrome, brushed chrome, natural brass and 14 bright colours.


Wellness and aesthetics
Although aesthetics has always been a major consideration when creating the timeless VOLA design, VOLA has now also taken steps to include the ideal of ‘wellness’ in the development of new products. Up to now, interior designers have been given countless possibilities to create unique and individual VOLA design solutions due to the versatility of the product. This has been augmented even further with the introduction of the VOLA 3-way shower diverter, enabling the user to switch between various combinations of head and body jet functions, thus obtaining a unique shower experience, a ‘wellness’ experience.

Aesthetics, wellness and individuality all describe the virtues of a modern bathroom. A new trend however, is to combine the bathroom and bedroom into one room. In these cases, the bath tub often takes pride and place, often with a view to the outside. The new VOLA FS1 bath filler has been designed for just such an environment, standing elegantly in the room as if like a sculpture, adding to the overall ambience of the room. So after 40 years, VOLA design icons are still being born with new ones on the way. Each one promising to add beauty to our homes.
In 2009 VOLA presented the new FS2 mixer and FS3 shower as an evolution of its Free-standing family – the new interpretation of the VOLA Classic style and concept, designed especially for the modern bathroom.

VOLA FS2 is a mixer for freestanding washbasin. The exceptionally tall, slender spout frees up ample space avoiding overexposure of a single item in the interior design. The ergonomic lever handle features the iconic and particularly striking VOLA classic design. Its upright design gives the fittings a very slim and elegant energy adding to the beauty of any freestanding washbasin.

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, the intensity and temperature of the curtains of water can be easily adjusted.

Like the FS1, the new products were designed by Aarhus Arkitekterne A/S. All fittings come either in chrome, brushed chrome or brushed stainless steel. With their new FS family products VOLA conceives the modern bathroom as an active spa and a new path into the wellness world.

VOLA is taking further steps along this path. VOLA continues to extend its reputation for international design. In 2009 the company introduced a completely new concept of personalised design options for towel warming for the functional yet stylish bathroom.

In place of the more common radiator-style towel warmer, VOLA launched its built-in modular heated towel rail for individual design solutions, a modular system of bars that could be positioned according to customer requirements.

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.

Each built-in unit is produced according the wishes of each single customer and shipped from the VOLA factory in Denmark within few days. So once again VOLA is taking the lead when it comes to integrating design and function with production and logistics.

The VOLA towel warmer is designed by Aarhus Arkitekterne A/S. The VOLA towel warmer won the GOOD DESIGN Award 2009 presented by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Design and Architecture and was nominated for the German Designpreis 2011.

The VOLA towel warmer comes in high polished chrome, brushed chrome and brushed stainless steel


Round Series introduced 2011
– new modular design concept for a waste-bin and paper tissue holder by VOLA

The first products in the new Round Series, a bathroom waste bin and paper tissue dispenser, are designed for the bathrooms of prestigious houses and luxury apartments and can also be specified for washrooms in hotels, restaurants, office buildings and cultural destinations such as galleries, museums and theatres.

Under the headline “Celebrating continuity – celebrating change” VOLA translates its design DNA into new products for the bathroom. The founder of VOLA Verner Overgaard introduced the idea of hiding the technical parts in the wall. This idea is taken as the starting point also for the Round Series. The circle as a geometrical shape is a key element of the VOLA design, and with the new products the circle is translated into new dimensions. Based on the classic VOLA design the new products have a ring enclosing a cylinder. The finishes of the ring in either high-polished chrome or brushed stainless steel combined with the fronts in white or black – or for larger projects in any colour – create the reference to the VOLA taps and accessories in the room. For later renovations the fronts can be replaced if another colour is preferred.

With its new modular design concept of a built-in waste-bin and paper tissue holder VOLA offers new creative possibilities to work with space and materials in the bathroom.
By combining the texture and colour of the wall and the choice of finish of the outer rings and colour of the front plate the architect or interior designer can create individual and extraordinary design solutions.

True to tradition, the VOLA waste bin is unobtrusive, with the less aesthetically pleasing elements built into the wall. It can be opened by gently pushing the front with a hand or knee. The open / close mechanism is smooth and silent. The built-in waste bin will hold up to 30 tissues while the retro-fit version is available in two sizes holding from 60 to 250 tissues. The built-in waste bin can be mounted near floor level for use as a sanitary towel bin. The bin is easy to empty and with no floor contact, need not be moved for cleaning.
For built-in applications, 15 cm depth in the wall is required. Alternatively, the waste bin can be retro-fitted by building a boxed-out section to provide the depth required.

The second new member of the VOLA family is the paper tissue holder. The cylinder holds up to 100 paper tissues. A concealed spring makes sure the tissues are always pushed to the front. Washroom staff can easily see if the dispenser needs refilling and new paper tissues can be simply inserted by pulling the cylinder forward.

The Round Series is designed by aarhus arkitekterne A/S. When they were designing the VOLA Academy aarhus arkitekterne were asked to design a new series of free-standing mixers as well as a new towel warmer. For the VOLA Acad¬emy Aarhus Arkitekterne also developed an interior design concept for the display of VOLA products that is used in the VOLA showrooms in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London, Vienna, Munich - and Brussels to be opened in May. This is an example of a “Gesamtkunstwerk” – of a holistic approach to architecture and design where the various disciplines are integrated to form a unified whole.

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