Grohe launched its new interactive multimedia platform Grohe X on Tuesday, March 16 and kbbreview was there to investigate what it had to offer.
On the first day, the hub saw 12,000 visitors with almost 4,000 viewers attending the three broadcasts.
The programme for the first day kicked off with a keynote address featuring top representatives from Grohe’s parent company Lixil.
Thomas Fuhr, leader, fittings, Lixil International and co-CEO of Grohe AG, started by looking back on a year plagued by the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic: “It was an incredible year, but we managed with the 7,000 team members extremely well. On the operations and commercial everybody did a fantastic job and we could deliver to our customers.
“We focused on what we do best – technology, quality, innovations, design and sustainability. These are the core pillars of our brand. Our ‘mother ship’ Lixil completes us with outstanding technology and production capabilities.”
But Grohe X was what this was all about and Jonas Brennwald, leader Lixil EMENA and co-CEO of Grohe AG, summed it up as the ‘Netflix of the industry’: “Grohe X is a milestone in our brand history. It is a multimedia experience platform for interactive exchange. Grohe X is the Netflix of the industry. Content tailored to the needs of our customers and offering the latest production information and let them explore the world of Grohe and interact. As soon as new products are launched, we can reach the whole world from Grohe X. It is a platform with scaling opportunities. We have five studios, running 24/7 in a digital way that can be scaled and reach out to wherever you are in the world. We have also already designed a hybrid solution that will connect to Grohe X. It will be a game-changer.”
The keynote speech detailed some of the trends covered in greater depth by one of the panel talks later that day and highlight products, new and existing, that met those consumer needs.
One major announcement was the launch of four of its best-selling products (three taps and one showerhead) in Cradle-to-Cradle variants. These are made from components that can be reused at the end of the product’s life. Users can return them to Grohe and they will receive a refurbished, upgraded product in return.
Said Fuhr: “I am very proud that we are one of the first brands in the sanitary industry to once again make a clear commitment to sustainable transformation and set a new benchmark. We are breaking new ground. To develop products that meet the certification process is extremely demanding. But we achieved the gold level for all four products we submitted for certification. Circularity is a long journey and we are just at the beginning. It is a big step forward towards a world without waste.”
The company also introduced its new Grohe Installer Vocational Training and Education programme (GIVE). It is already collaborating with 26 training institutions to offer plumbing training across its EMENA region in order to combat the shortage of skilled installers in the sanitary industry. Under the scheme, Grohe will support plumbing schools in creating a state-of-the-art training framework by installing modern training facilities and providing learning material and experienced technical trainers. Successful students will gain an internationally recognised certificate.
Under the health and well-being banner, Grohe highlighted the newest addition to its touchless range, the Tectron Bau E touchless sensor flushplate for WCs.
Under the spa banner, they introduced the reimagined Grohe Spa range and the new Allure basin mixer tap with precision control and haptic feedback.
Also showcased were the ‘newly reinvented’ Zedra range of kitchen taps and sinks, with one model featuring a new Triple Spray, which is said to be unique in the Grohe portfolio, plus the relaunched best-selling Eurosmart range, which sees the addition of a hybrid tape that is both touchless and manual in its operation.
More events are planned for March 17 and 18, but the programme for the first day’s event consisted of two panel talks. One themed on ‘Consumer Insights’ and the other on ‘Green Building’.
Kbbreview dropped in on the Consumer Insights session, which featured Patrick Speck, leader, Lixil Global Design and trend consultant Oona Horx-Strathern.
Speck started the session by emphasising that Grohe was committed to producing products and solutions that add value to and improve consumers’ lives and that to do so “requires a deep understanding of how customers want to live and what they expect from their living space”. He added that “to be relevant, we need to connect with our consumers, be empathetic and discover what are the driving forces shaping consumers’ lifestyles today”.
He identified certain key trends in the market. These are Urbanisation, Health and Well-being, and Sustainability.
Taking Urbanisation, he said that with more and more people now living in cities, compact living is a major trend. With this in mind, he said Grohe has just redesigned its entry-level Baulines to offer affordable, compact products backed up by a suite of ceramics.
Speck also highlighted how boundaries between rooms are dissolving – those between the kitchen, dining room and living room, as well as between the bathroom and the bedroom. This makes interior design important and he highlighted the Grohe Colour Collection, which allows people to come up with their own tailored environment.
Horx-Strathern agreed and said that this very much inked in to a trend she had observed for the individualisation and customisation of living spaces.
Speck then tackled Health and Well-being. He said: “With people spending more time at home, the bathroom is an oasis – one of the few places at home where you can find time for yourself.”
He highlighted the launching of the Grohe Spa range, which was designed to create “health through water”, saying that the bathroom is not a single-use space anymore and that Grohe is “trying to bring an experience – something that’s really holistic and addresses all the senses”.
And his last highlighted trend was Sustainability, which he described as “one of the main pillars of our brand”. He said consumers are “demanding transparency about what we are doing and how we are acting”.
He continued: “We are looking for ecological and sustainable solutions that do not compromise performance.” In this context, he highlighted the EcoJoy range that gives the desired performance while cutting water usage in half. He also pointed to the Grohe Blue filter tap, which he said will help prevent the use of single-use plastic bottles that end up in landfill or our oceans by offering chilled and sparkling chilled water straight from the tap.
Speck also noted that an ageing population means that by 2050 one-in-five people will be over 60. He said that to cater for this, it has relaunched its Eurosmart range to cover all touch points, with long levers and loop levers, and one model with two handles, to answer all of these demands.
The panel finally touched on what the bathroom of 2050 would look like. Speck commented: “In design, we are always thinking ahead. It is hard to predict 30 year ahead, but I think it will be a case of doing more with less and doing less, but better. Two keywords will be longevity and relevance. Products need to be relevant and need a meaning to exist.”
The panel also referred to trends that had emerged in response to the coronavirus pandemic, such as the growth of the home office and more people cooking at home. Speck added that “It will chop loads of the superfluous things from our lives and make us concentrate on things that are relevant and longer-lasting.”