The Pursuit Of Design Permanence—GROHE's Michael Seum On Re-Imagining The ATRIO Faucet Series And Designing A Product That "Almost Becomes An Heirloom"
Elegance and precision meet in the new ATRIO collection of GROHE.
GROHE, a leading brand of sanitary fittings, seeks to constantly enhance the consumer experience while making sure to put forth iconic products that will last a long time.
With the relaunch of the ATRIO faucet series, the brand establishes the product as a "piece of art" in the bathroom. Created with an elegant design and precise technology, it can easily suit any bathroom style.
At the unveiling of the new ATRIO collection at GROHE SPA's flagship store in SIngapore with Audrey Yeo (Vice President of Marketing for GROHE) and Michael Seum (Vice President of Design for GROHE)
Also noteworthy in the new ATRIO series are its minimalist look, balanced proportions and pure cylindrical shapes. The elegant faucet’s body measures the same diameter from spout to bottom, a one-of-a-kind base in the industry.
Priding itself in its "Made in Germany" quality, the ATRIO collection makes use of state-of-the-art GROHE cartridge technology. The integrated jet regulator ensures a constant and flat flow of water, which pleasantly encloses the hands during washing. The washbasin faucets are available as single-lever basin mixer, one-hole basin mixer with two handles and 3-hole basin mixer. The latter can be mounted on the washbasin’s deck or on the wall.
From left: Alpha Ang - General manager of Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia & IndoChina (excluding Vietnam), LIXIL Water Technology; Audrey Yeo - Vice President of Marketing for GROHE; and Michael Seum - Vice President of Design for GROHE
Lifestyle shots of the ATRIO. The new Atrio series includes more than 35 products in an unified design, available in the two GROHE SPA colors, SuperSteel and Brushed Hard Graphite as well as in Chrome; in selected markets, such as in Germany, the faucet is also available as joystick model.
During the unveiling of GROHE SPA's first flagship store in Singapore. which coincided with the launch of the new ATRIO collection, Metro.Style had an exclusive interview with the Vice President of Design for GROHE AG about the brand’s design core, their latest offering, and the experience they hope to give their consumers:
GROHE’s products are timeless and iconic. How does this factor in your design process?
I seek to have a level of design permanence. When a consumer renovates a bathroom or a kitchen, they’re making a commitment for a period of time. I think a lot of other industries, they look at product lifestyle in a different way. This is a product that you use daily, this is a product that will live in your home for a long period of time so it should have a sense of design permanence. And that’s actually quite hard to achieve, to make something that you design today last for 10, 15, 20 years, but it’s [an] achievement if you really put your attention to. I think, for me, that’s the definition of an iconic design. To design something that almost becomes an heirloom, it’s quite an achievement for design.
GROHE recently re-launched the Atrio. Can you talk a bit more about this product line?
Atrio is one of our top lines. This is a piece that, as we set out to design, the design philosophy was, I don’t want to call it a re-design, it’s a reimagination. How do we get a very strong line and make it stronger and we looked at using a single geometry, so a circle, or one of our signature elements, the ring, and the whole line is derived from only one geometry, the circle.
It’s perfectly balanced, it’s proportionate, and my definition of an icon is something that people can draw by memory. The design of Atrio is so simple, minimal, clean, perfectly symmetrical. When the consumers see this, they can draw it from memory. It’s kind of a bold statement, I realize that.
The elegance and precision part is: the elegance, we’ve designed this so that it’s completely flexible and all interior designers, architects, consumers use this product. Depending on what product you picked, you can really transform your bathroom in any styles.
To me, it has a very contemporary design but it has the ability to go cosmopolitan, to go classic. It’s just free because of the simplicity and balance in terms of how you use it. The precision part is, although it looks very simple, to get to simplicity, there were a lot of technical challenges that we had to overcome, and as a German manufacturer, we are obsessed with quality and precision. It’s a very analog, tactile product, but when you feel it, you can sense the quality. You can sense that it’s been manufactured in Germany.
How important is consumer experience to GROHE?
Whether it’s an experience of a beverage solution, it’s an experience for water safety, it’s an experience of how you start to select your bathroom—design is for the humans, we’re designing for people, and people need to feel connection to the brand. They need to feel like there are solutions, and that comes through experience. What they’re seeking is something we can help with. That’s what the Singapore showroom is meant to do. It’s more than the product, it’s the way we interact with consumers.
Grab a copy of Metro Home & Entertaining magazine's Vol. 15 No. 2 to read more about GROHE SPA's flagship store in Singapore, available in newsstands and bookstores nationwide for only P200.
Interview by Grace Libero-Cruz
Photos courtesy of GROHE Asia Pacific