Close-up of a blade of grass with glistening droplets of water

Water Symposium 2011

"Touched by water - what connects people to water"

Hansgrohe invited people along to the Water Symposium in the Black Forest for the fourth year in a row. The 2011 title was "Touched by water". So, on 6 and 7 October 2011, international water experts investigated what connects people with this element.

During lectures and workshops, the 13 speakers from six countries captivated their audience and participants with a wide range of topics:

We are all touched and affected by water – it's protean, it's alive and it heals

Water researcher Alexander Lauterwasser used a wealth of images and sounds to demonstrate how sensitive water is to vibrations and how communicative, resonant and unique it is in terms of its structure. In his cultural studies talk, Dr Dieter Alfter, head of the museum at Bad Pyrmont Castle, showed what strength and hope spas can give – for instance to traumatised people with war injuries.

We are all touched and affected by water – it inspires us and makes us creative

“Create a work of art in 90 minutes,” was the challenge for installation artist Markus Heinsdorff. He dealt with this using a short film about the Kinzig and the Schiltach, two rivers which have their confluence close to Hansgrohe's headquarters. And music teacher Michael Bradke took his workshop group with him down to the river bank, where they discovered the secrets of the wonderful sounds of the waters.

We are all touched and affected by water – let's use it holistically

For master river engineer Otmar Grober, water is an “inner home”. He delved into the magic of the element and promoted a completely new approach to river engineering in Schiltach. Communication artist Karin R’hila knows: The best things in life are free! She invited people to a water meditation beside the river, where they kept to the essentials: feeling, listening and keeping silent.

We are all touched and affected by water – it brings us pain, happiness, and solitude

Out of love for water, Swiss water ambassador Ernst Bromeis pushed his experience right to the limits in terms of risk. With unshakeable belief in the “Blue Wonder”, he swam the length of Switzerland – through its mountain lakes which are ice cold in parts. He even crossed Lake Lucerne, Lake Geneva and Lake Constance(!).

We are all touched and affected by water – it constitutes refreshment for body and soul

The Turkish architect Ahmet İğdirligil discussed bathroom culture, washing rituals, hamam spirits – and the future of modern bathrooms with Philippe Grohe, Head of the Axor designer brand. And Jan Heisterhagen, Head of Product Management for the Hansgrohe brand, took guests along with him to the test showers in the Showerworld – a personal pleasurable shower experience.

The issue of water also keeps us alert – in many places water is a rare asset

Swiss international water project consultant, Dr Pierre Walther, told three stories of concerns about daily water: from Bangladesh, the Andes and Africa. In a live link from Tel Aviv, the ARD radio correspondent Dr Sebastian Engelbrecht reported on the unjust distribution of water between Israelis and Palestinians. And Anupam Mishra from the Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi, advocated traditional extraction methods in India, demonstrating water wisdom. Centuries-old water sites are still often more sustainable, more hygienic and more beneficial than those of today.