In the shadow of The Tate Modern
DesignSpace London showcases architectural kitchens and bathrooms.
The Southwark showroom is a dramatic 4,000 sq ft space in which ten display areas showcase kitchen, bathroom and living concepts with Italian brands such as Modulnova and Lema,
The displays feature many new products 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 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.
DesignSpace London’s flagship showroom is at:
120 Webber Street, London SE1 0QL
BR: How long have you worked in the bathroom industry?
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?
Innovation! From our bi-metallic, thermostatic valve - which revolutionised British bathrooms - to the first digital shower, designer electric showers and now with Q and Q EDITION, a new generation of smart showers .
BR: What new manufacturing technologies excite you?
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?
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)
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 a whole team of industrial designers I admire in our R&D department at Aqualisa.
BR: Where do you think the industry most needs to improve?
We need to do more to educate installers and consumers about the fantastic benefits of smart showers. Industry insiders get it, but there’s work to do to persuade installers of their ease of installation and home owners of the sophisticated level of control a smart shower gives them, such as automatically checking water temperature 100 times per second.
BR: Online has certainly changed the market, what key benefits have you seen?
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 engage directly with installers, owners and prospective owners about their needs.
BR: What advice would you give a new starter in the industry today?
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) 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 or installer needs.
Whilst there is a mass of information available, seek real 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, again applicable both to installers and consumers.
BR: What motivates you most in your work?
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?
Speed! I’m in a hurry to help Aqualisa grow market share across all three showering categories and to double the size of the smart shower market. Just call me (The) Flash…
Dr. Frank Richter, CEO of Duravit
We take a look at 200 years of Duravit, the brand DNA and the bathroom of the future...
BR: 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.
Would you say Duravit has 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.
What is it that you believe accounts for Duravit’s quality?
We believe Duravit is recognised for its long tradition and 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. In the areas of bathroom furniture and wellness technologies, too, Duravit’s quality is evident in the combination of craftsmanship with high-tech.
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.
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.
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.