Partnering with Dornbracht to develop luxury bathroom products, Sieger Design aims to lead the world in creating a healthy environment for us to live in
Time can wear things down, but it hasn’t dampened the spirit or determination of Sieger Design in its pursuit of quality and originality. Christian Sieger, second generation heir of the company, tells PerspectiveGlobal that in times of changes, good design is not just a luxury.
In its 40+ years, Sieger Design must have seen many changes in the global design scene. Would you regard the recent economic crisis as the biggest influence on creativity?
I wouldn’t say that the crisis has stopped people from moving forward in terms of inventing new design. But it made people more aware of the surroundings that we are actually living in. People started to realise how sensitive the economic structure which links the whole world is.
During my travels over the last few days in Asia, it seems to me that the economic crisis is gone in this part of the world. When it comes to China or Seoul, we see people driving booming economies – just look at those luxury flagship stores that keep opening in Asia. In my perception, people are willing to work harder, even though we might have had difficult times recently to create wealth and luxury.
In Europe, obviously it shows how interactive the economy of each country is with another. At the Dornbracht workshop, we talked about how the crisis has changed the attitude of post-crisis premium customers regarding luxury goods. Affluent people may not have to change their daily lives, but they will reconsider their investments.
Has there been a change in their behaviour regarding design products?
People are questioning the heritage of a product more. They will ask where the products come from; whether they are craftsmanship-oriented.
So what lessons did Sieger Design learn from these changes?
That our customers want to understand a product from a broader perspective. We will consider if our products could have a cultural influence on the development of design. And we hope our products will make people more sensitive of what they buy. This is also the philosophy we share at Sieger Design. We work in a way that looks at history and is respectful to the design. For us, it is very important to understand what an item is made for, where is it originated and who is making it.
As the global economy slowly picks up, what does it mean to run a family business in the world of design?
Sieger Design was established by my father 40 years ago; now my brother and I work very closely together. We have been busy, but it has been better lately because when the day finishes, then it’s finished. But quite often in the evening, we pick up the phone again to discuss what has happened during the day. I think, for us, it creates a lot of flexibility. Relying on each other in running a business is a great benefit, because we have known each other for a lifetime.
Having said that, are there more challenges or benefits?
A family business looks for long-term development. My brother has two daughters and I have three. We put all our emphasis on a strong gender for the next generation, because women know how to communicate well, which is very important for the future if the five of them will enter the business; it would help the business grow faster and stronger. In my opinion, in times of financial crisis, a family business can survive, for we can be more flexible.
How do you define luxury in the 21st century, particularly when the world is facing major changes and has to adapt rapidly to new ideas?
Before the crisis, luxury used to be defined by expensive materials. Now, I see luxury as things that take a certain time and skill to make. For instance, there are not many people who will hand-paint a cufflink today, so for me it is luxury if I can afford something made by hand and in great detail.
In other words, quality has become crucial to defining if a product is ‘luxury’. We have to be aware that if certain craftsmanship is not used, then we will lose the quality. If it is gone, then it’s gone forever.
How does Sieger Design preserve the heritage of a product?
This is the reason we started our own brand under the Sieger label; we are trying to focus on German or European production. In this sense, we can produce products with their own individual identity. In the partnership with Dornbracht, we are able to develop products to a level of luxury that supports our well-being.
What direction is Sieger Design taking in innovating new products?
There are four current trends that influence our direction: open space concepts, ‘green’ bathrooms, health and wellness, as well as digitisation of society. All these factors help us to create a bathroom that not only fits into our living environment, but will enhance our health, too.