Technology, innovation and creative design are some of the advantages that bathroom and kitchen specialists GROHE and American Standard enjoy by being part of a global group with a strong presence in the Asian market
Asia's leading kitchen and bathroom trade show, Kitchen and Bath China (KBC), was the first opportunity for GROHE to show the Asian market the redesign of its classic Atrio collection.
Launched at this year's Milan Design Week, the Atrio suite of pared-back and minimalist faucets was designed for the luxury market, says Michael Seum, GROHE's Vice President of Design. He explains that he had wanted to reimagine the classic Atrio since joining the company in 2015 and thought it would be a fun product to refresh and rethink. "We had to pay some respect to the old [design] but we needed to take it in a completely different way."
Also on display was GROHE's SmartControl shower systems, designed to maximise water efficiency and precision. Seum explains that this technology came about through collaboration within the LIXIL Water Technology Group. "Our Japanese parent company, LIXIL… has a huge portfolio for smarter living. SmartControl is our biggest innovation in this market."
The SmartControl valve was very old technology that LIXIL owned, says Seum. "We looked at the technology and said if we redesigned this with the same features in a smaller format, it would be really game-changing." Being part of the LIXIL group allows a lot of cross collaboration, leveraging between the brands and sharing of best practices, he says. "We come to you as LIXIL and give you a portfolio of choices, which is really good as a consumer."
We also think and function as a global company. We leverage our synergies and expertise from the whole LIXIL Water Technology Group to develop a global design strategy
Another LIXIL company, American Standard, was also at KBC Shanghai. With more than 140 years of design history and experience, the brand offers diverse solutions for bathrooms. Among their products on display was the Red Dot Award-winning GENIE hand shower. GENIE provides near perfect pressure performance even under low pressure. Its translucent shower face (which comes in a range of pastel colours) has a removable back cover to permit thorough cleaning. Hygiene, as well as functionality and limited space within big cities, has become a core focus for American Standard.
Over the past year, both brands (GROHE and American Standard) have set up design studios in the Asia-Pacific region to be closer to consumers and better understand their needs. American Standard moved its design studio to the LIXIL showroom in Bangkok, while GROHE established a design studio in Shanghai.
"By basing our designers in the showroom in the Crystal Design Centre Bangkok, it heightens our design sensitivity and shortens our reaction time to the fast changing Asian consumer landscape," says Antoine Besseyre Des Horts, Vice President of Design for American Standard Asia.
"We also think and function as a global company. With design studios in New York, Tokyo and Düsseldorf, we leverage our synergies and expertise from the whole LIXIL Water Technology Group to develop a global design strategy."