In the shadow of The Tate Modern
Famous for sleek, architectural kitchens and bathrooms, DesignSpace London is one of London’s most innovative companies. Underlining their pioneering approach to design, they are moving their flagship showroom from Battersea to London’s emerging new design quarter on the South Bank.
The new Southwark showroom is a dramatic 4,000 sq ft space in which DesignSpace London have created ten display areas showcasing inspirational kitchen, bathroom and living concepts. Using dynamic Italian brands such as Modulnova and Lema, they push the boundaries of modular design and create today’s multi-purpose living spaces.
The displays feature many new products never seen before in the UK including the latest in ‘technical’ materials and developments in pocket door systems, which can glide open to reveal over 2.5 metres of kitchen work space. The innovative Blade system demonstrates how seamlessly kitchens and living spaces can now be integrated, with a host of new surface finishes and new lightweight yet flex-free aluminium doors up to 2.7 metres high. Specially developed hinges and fittings allow designers to use them to create bespoke storage cabinets and wall cladding.
Bathrooms too, offer both new materials and an enhanced range of lacquer colours. Taking bathroom planning to the next level, drawers have purpose designed inserts for organizing make-up and other bathroom necessities. Freestanding baths, walk-in showers and basins in both natural stone and new generation composites complete the sleek, contemporary appeal which is such a hallmark of the DesignSpace London look.
Opening March 2016, DesignSpace London’s new flagship showroom is at:
120 Webber Street, London SE1 0QL
BR: How long have you worked in the bathroom industry?
DH: Since I joined Aqualisa in February 2014 from Dyson, where I was MD, UK and Ireland
BR: What are the key USP’s offered by your company?
DH: Innovation! From our bi-metallic, thermostatic valve which revolutionised British bathrooms to the first digital shower and now a new generation of designer electric showers. Stand by for more to be announced in the coming months!
BR: What new manufacturing technologies excite you?
DH: Take the word manufacturing out of your question and I’d say the internet of things. I think the guys at Nest (now owned by Google) did something amazing: Taking something as ordinary as the thermostat and making it exciting and useful is a great achievement. If you want to stick to manufacturing, then it’s got to be 3-D printing. It’ll be a while before anyone’s printing showers, but printing some of our spare parts may not be so far away.
BR: What challenges do you foresee for the industry over the next 12-24 months?
DH: My challenge is to foresee Aqualisa’s future. With ever increasing demand for consumer choice, there’s a temptation to be all things to all people. That can be dangerous – for instance when companies spread themselves too thinly and outside their area of expertise. Aqualisa is obsessed with showers, all types of showers, but only showers.
BR: Which industrial designer do you admire the most and why? (Living or departed)
DH: I'm bound to say James Dyson. And the engineers he inspires though his annual international award. Although not a winner, my personal favourite was Min-Kyu Choi who designed the Mu folding three-pin plug - a clever, thoughtful, solution to an everyday problem. Now I have industrial designers I admire in our team like Aaron Bourne and Simon Cornelius who designed our latest beautiful electric showers.
BR: Where do you think the industry most needs to improve?
DH: We need to do more to educate installers and consumers about the fantastic benefits of digital showers. Industry insiders get it but there’s work to do to persuade installers of their ease of installation and home owners of the control it gives them.
BR: Online has certainly changed the market, what key benefits have you seen?
DH: Online presents more opportunities. It allows consumers to compare prices between a massive range of shower products and it’s an additional opportunity for manufacturers to talk directly to installers, owners and prospective owners about their needs. Also, manufacturers can more easily present products to overseas, rather than purely domestic markets.
BR: What advice would you give a new starter in the industry today?
DL: Start at Aqualisa! We are an exciting, vibrant, growing business with an obsession for showers and a passion to work with our customers to help them (and ourselves, of course) to succeed. Wherever you start, look at the bathroom business through a category lens - how can we all work towards identifying and providing products which address unmet consumer needs. Whilst there is a mass of information available, seek real foresight and insight to anticipate trends before others do. Make greater use of tools and techniques which have been proven to work in other sectors such as Customer Segmentation, applicable both to installers and consumers.
BR: What motivates you most in your work?
DH: My family inspire me - my children, my wife, my mother and the memory of my father who passed away 20 years ago. At work, I am inspired daily by the great stuff I see colleagues do.
BR: If you could choose a super-power what would it be & why?
DH: Speed! I’m in a hurry to help Aqualisa regain market share. Just call me (The) Flash…
Dr. Frank Richter, CEO of Duravit
200 years of Duravit - Duravit’s DNA and the bathroom of the future W
What does Duravit stand for today?
Early on in the company’s history, Duravit started out as a ceramics specialist, before going on to become a manufacturer of sanitaryware products. Today, Duravit AG is a leading international manufacturer of designer bathrooms. Duravit has carefully managed its brand, which is synonymous with holistically designed bathrooms. In fact, we see ourselves as interior designers for bathrooms as living areas, and have played a key role in establishing the new significance of bathrooms for over 30 years. In the late 1980s, Duravit worked with Dieter Sieger to present its first designer series for the bathroom. Yet Giamo was only the beginning, and the first complete designer bathroom, created with Philippe Starck, revolutionised the sanitary industry when it was launched in 1994. Today, numerous internationally renowned designers are working for Duravit. A brand new addition for 2017 is Cecilie Manz.
Does Duravit have its own unmistakable DNA?
Our aspiration is to make designer bathrooms come alive. This is guaranteed by the highest quality, original design and comfort-enhancing technology. This brand essence defines our DNA worldwide, and it distinguishes everything we do. For us, the bathroom of the future is the ideal combination of these three core competencies, and in order to continuously advance our expertise in these areas, our product management works closely with research and development departments, both inside the company and externally, as well as with our designers.
What is it that accounts for Duravit’s quality?
Duravit is universally recognised for its long tradition and outstanding expertise in the field of ceramic processing. We have been involved in the production of top-quality and precision ceramics, since the time our company was first established, and in this area in particular, close collaboration with our R&D team has allowed us to create a continuous stream of innovations, including DuraCeram, HygieneGlaze 2.0 and c-bonded, a process that makes it possible to seamlessly combine ceramics and bathroom furniture. Our product development combines software-supported simulation techniques with a series of tests conducted on physical models. In the areas of bathroom furniture and wellness technologies, too, Duravit’s quality is evident in the combination of craftsmanship with high-tech. This combination in every area is certainly one of the most significant factors.
Does Duravit have a uniform design language?
Duravit has a precisely formulated and recognisable design language that is unique, and which is clearly based on fundamental archetypal forms. We are contemporary without being trendy, more straightforward than opulent, and always timeless. We integrate comfort-enhancing technology, but never at the expense of design, with the result that we have been able to create a consistent design language that extends beyond the individual products in the bathroom. In the Duravit design language, everything fits together to create a whole.
How much technology does the bathroom of the future need?
We always put ourselves in the user’s shoes, and we never accept technology for technology's sake. Comfort-enhancing technology should be sustainably integrated into an appealing overall design, and should generate added value on a daily basis. Duravit continually develops innovations in all areas, from engineering materials to flushing technology and electrical engineering for light, sound and whirl systems. The look, feel, acoustics and usability play an important role here, too. It is this unique interplay, paired with our innovative prowess that makes it possible to intelligently digitise the bathroom. This is how Duravit is able to satisfy the current and future demands of our customers.
Duravit AG Founded in 1817 in Hornberg in the Black Forest, Duravit AG is today a leading international manufacturer of designer bathrooms. The company operates in more than 130 countries worldwide and stands for innovations in the field of good design, the intelligent use of technology and top quality. In cooperation with high-profile international designers, such as Philippe Starck and EOOS, the company develops comfortable bathrooms that really enhance quality of life for users on a sustained basis. Duravit's product portfolio comprises sanitary ceramics, bathroom furniture, baths and shower trays, wellness systems, shower-toilets, faucets and accessories.