German bathroom and kitchen fittings giant Grohe is revered for design and innovation. Its most significant push in the k&b landscape was the unveiling of 500 new products at ISH this year, the world’s leading trade fair for HVAC and water management. “We stand for water, intelligence and enjoyment in our quest to transform and touch lives worldwide,” says Grohe’s vice president for design Michael Seum, in an exclusive interview with SH. Seum also gives a lowdown on design and innovation by speaking on various compelling issues: climate change, sustainability, single-use plastics, and more…
By Mrinmoy Bhattacharjee
Focusing Not Just on Product, but Bringing Consumer Experience
Globally, consumers are radically redefining the kitchen and bath space. They have become more discerning about their decision-making process and are demanding smarter solutions. Consumers want kitchens and bathrooms to be a part of their living space; they do not view the space just as a functional setup. They are focusing on details. The kitchen and bathroom have evolved to be the manifestation of an individual’s style. Our role is to gain deep insights and understand these choices and offer the desired solutions.
When I describe my design philosophy, it is straightforward: focusing not just on the product but on bringing consumer experience. It is about bringing positive change to the lives of consumers. A perfect example from our kitchen portfolio is Grohe Blue Home which is really a behaviour-changing product. The water system offers chilled and sparkling water directly from the tap. This is a design that fundamentally improves the lives of our customers, as it is eliminating single-use plastic, one of the severest problems facing the world today.
Future of Water Tech
Our stated objective is to shape the future of water technology. We have the intent and capacity to achieve this objective. We are doing it by tapping into our design and innovation. We want that our consumers enjoy the water, as they create kitchen and bath spaces which become extensions of their living room. We believe in providing them with a unique and individualised experience. Our design offers them the freedom of executing their vision of space.
Designer Advocacy is Crucial in Climate Change Discourse
In the face of the challenge of climate change and water scarcity, design and innovation in the kitchen and bath space will have a profound influence on the global climate movement. I think that the designers’ role is incredibly important. Designers are advocates, the voice that speaks about the implications of climate change. They can craft products and solutions in such a way that the demand for water is minimised by ensuring the needful and right flow. Water is an extremely precious resource that needs to be used diligently while offering the best experience for the user.
Also Read: Grohe Bags Red Dot: Brand of the Year Award
We are Here to Learn From Every Culture
We have a European heritage. While elements of European design are replicated in products meant for many markets, we try to draw inspiration for our product design from the local culture and ethos. We are here to learn from every culture. We are trying to capture the culture and emotions prevalent in Asia, to be able to replicate them in our product design targeted at Asian markets. It is about where and with whom you are having your coffee, and not just about its taste. We have an excellent design team of 20 people of different nationalities. They bring out designs for various markets.
I do not pretend to know everything about India, but do know many of its aspects via our ground team. I am also quite sure that many elements of Indian design can be used for designing products for other markets.
When it comes to our showrooms, we want to create a memorable Grohe experience where customers can connect with our products. Of course, this unique Grohe journey should be consistent all over the world, but we also follow the glocal approach. This means that we also want to celebrate the local culture. For example, in the entrance zone of Grohe experience centres, we show our AquaSymphony shower surrounded by local wall materials and greenery.