Innovation and design underpin Ideal Standard’s growing strength in the ceramics and sanitary ware sector, according to a senior official for the bathrooms solutions provider.
Speaking to Gulf Construction, Frederick Trzcinski, marketing and innovation director MEA, Ideal Standard Mena, says the company’s partnerships with renowned international designers has had a profound impact on the culture of design in the sanitary ware industry.
It was yet another partnership and the fruits of this tie-up that were in the limelight at this year’s ISH fair in Frankfurt, Germany, held in March (22 to 26).
At the key event for bathroom, building, energy, air-conditioning technology and renewable energies, Ideal Standard also showcased the company’s latest offerings.
ISH 2019 was extra special for Ideal Standard since it was where it officially announced its collaboration with Palomba Serafini Associati studio that has created the concepts of the company’s latest products.
Trzcinski says: “Ludovica and Roberto Palomba are masters of international design with over 25 years of experience delivering innovative bathroom design concepts. They have collaborated with some of the most established brands in different sectors, like furniture, technology, boating, etc, and are recipients of multiple international awards such as Red Dot, Design Plus, German Design Award and others. So imagine our joy at ISH, where we had the opportunity to unveil the first outcome of this wonderful partnership.”
At ISH 2019, visitors got to see new products in the Conca series, which was originally designed for Ideal Standard by master designer Paolo Tilche in 1972. In their contemporary design interpretation, Palomba Serafini Associati kept the geometries and sensual details of the original design, but brought Ideal Standard’s advanced manufacturing technologies into play that enabled a new level of purity in the design, unthinkable in the 1970s.
The new basins in the Conca series are complemented by two distinct series of faucets designed by Palomba Serafini Associati: the cylindrical Joy, and the exceptionally flat basin mixer Check. Both incorporate the latest in water-saving technology and add a different, unique character to the Conca basin.
The renowned studio has also designed a stunning free-standing bathtub in the Conca design, as well as an architectural toilet and bidet range called Blend that integrates Ideal Standard’s industry-leading hygiene features, including the revolutionary AquaBlade flushing technology.
Colour has played a fundamental role in Ideal Standard’s history, with ceramics particularly in the 1960s and 1970s being chosen to complement surrounding materials. Now, Palomba Serafini Associati has evoked this memory with the introduction of a stylish new colour palette, Trzcinski says.
Ten new ceramic colours – including Black Gloss, Slate Grey, Kashmir, Sage and Pomegranate – join White Gloss and White Silk to offer a complete palette that brings a sense of emotion to bathroom interiors. “Some colours hark back to historical Ideal Standard designs but with a contemporary, elegant finish, while others are entirely new and have been designed to complement popular modern materials, such as marble and stone,” he points out.
The new colour palette will be available in the Gulf on Ideal Standard’s Ipalyss basins in Q3 2019 and on Conca when it is launched in 2020.
The remaining products designed by Palomba Serafini Associati, as well as Ideal Standard’s other innovative products presented at ISH – Intellimix, Sphero, etc – will be launched in the Gulf in the near future.
Overall, Trzcinski says Ideal Standard was very excited to present at ISH 2019 its latest products and upcoming launches and received an amazing response.
“Being the world’s leading trade fair focusing on the responsible management of water and energy in buildings, ISH is a significant platform for all the major companies of our sector,” he says.
“Our visitors came from different countries and different professions, like architects, planners, designers, media, and esteemed partners from every region. About 95 per cent of our visitors had a very positive impression of our products, our stand and our statement and they would definitely consider to put them in their bathroom spaces, whether for a project they are designing or their own personal space,” Trzcinski adds.
Design & Innovation
Trzcinski says both innovation and design are very important for any business, not only in the GCC, but globally.
“Today’s consumer lives in a complex environment and is bombarded by a product variation beyond words. At the same time, consumers are very demanding, well informed and analytical, expecting a good product to ensure quality, appearance, performance, ease of use, and reliability.”
Having been active in the sanitary ware business for more than 100 years, Ideal Standard understands how a bathroom works in totality and its expertise has turned it into a leading provider of bathroom solutions, with a complete offer of ceramics, brassware fittings, shower kits, furniture, bathtubs and shower trays.
Trzcinski says the company has a strong product design heritage and has been very keen to launch new additions.
“Design is in our DNA and we have been changing people’s perspective of the bathroom for more than 100 years. In the 1950s and 1970s, for example, working with master designers like Gio Ponti and Achille Castiglioni, Ideal Standard was instrumental in developing the bathroom from a purely functional room to a real living space that holds a prominent role in the house.
“Design is also a crucial element in the decision-making process when it comes to purchase and can determine the success of a product. We create products for people for their daily use or assistance. There is a purpose behind the existence of every product and it’s to enhance someone’s life, functionally and aesthetically,” he says.
For Ideal Standard, the past few years have seen it enhance its creativity. The company has been focusing on boosting its offer with aesthetically-pleasing, high-performance quality products – which the market has welcomed with open arms and which have also earned it multiple awards.
Innovation too is a key driver for growth for every company, says Trzcinski.
“Innovation helps you to adapt and grow in the constantly-evolving marketplace; there really is no choice in the matter. In our fast-paced, technologically-advanced reality, it is the way to quickly connect with your market,” he remarks.
He says innovation is strongly linked with the development of new technologies that allow you to create a product that promotes functionality, hygiene, water conservation and ease of maintenance. “At the same time, it can be about adapting to the market environment, changing the way you are organised in order to provide better product or services,” Trzcinski adds.
During product design, Ideal Standard attempts to address key factors in bathroom solutions, such as water conservation, hygiene and ease of cleaning, which are decisive factors for a professional designing a bathroom and for end-users.
He says Ideal Standard has for over 45 years been at the forefront of environment-friendly innovation and has taken enormous strides with water- and energy-saving solutions, ensuring high-quality performance of all its products.
“Our products incorporate the latest water- and energy-saving innovations and cutting-edge designs, creating a timeless selection of technologies that offer comfort and practicality.
“Our advanced AquaBlade flush technology, unlike other flushing systems, is an engineered system of channels that creates a cascading wall of water, which gives optimum water flow covering every inch of the ceramic. This advanced engineering allows flushing at the extremely low level of 4.5/3 litres without splashing, delivering nevertheless a remarkably clean toilet bowl, a very hygienic toilet bowl,” says Trzcinski.
The company’s Idealrain collection of shower systems and kits has the precision-designed flow engine that delivers optimal spray proficiency, while the easy-to-use controls and high- and low-pressure compatibility helps maintain the right rate of water flow. Its clever design helps reduce water consumption without compromising on comfort or performance.
“In fact, Idealrain head showers have a flow rate of just 12 litres per minute, while Idealrain handsprays have a flow rate of just eight litres per minute,” he points out.
Ideal Standard prides itself in offering a wide choice of mixers and taps with clever water-saving features. Its Click cartridge technology comes with a mechanical stop to limit the water flow and help in reducing household bills on water and energy without compromising on comfort. The integrated flow regulators ensure a maximum of five-litres-per-minute flow rate, without compromising on the water volume and lead to nearly 60 per cent savings.
Commenting on business levels, Trzcinski admits that there are ups and downs in its global market due to economic and geopolitical issues but adds that Ideal Standard keeps developing strategies and evolving in a competitive market. The company has maintained its overall market share compared to the previous year and in 2019 will continue on the same path, he adds.
Trzcinski says with a unique product offering and innovative bathroom solutions, coupled with an optimal mix of design and functional excellence, Ideal Standard is able to cover all the needs and demands of the contemporary bathroom space, adding it has won a number of prestigious projects across the Gulf.
Part of Ideal Standard’s business strategy in the region is its Design Bathroom Centre in Dubai, which was officially opened in November 2016. “Since then, it has been a fantastic tool to showcase our product portfolio across categories to professionals of our sector, including designers, architects, contractors, etc, as well as end consumers that want to change/renovate their bathroom space,” he says.
The Design Bathroom Centre enables customers to envision and materialise their future bathroom project. “We are always enhancing our novelties and innovations to keep our audiences constantly updated. Our Dubai training centre is the hub where we have the opportunities to welcome esteemed partners from all countries,” says Trzcinski.
Ideal Standard has a network of esteemed partners in different countries of the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region. It works closely with its partners taking into account the specificities of each country and addressing the challenges to ensure growth through its products portfolio, different channels or resources.
Apart from the Ideal Standard brand, the company owns other leading European brands such as Armitage Shanks, Porcher, Jado and Vidima, which are its valuable assets. They are award-winning brands of high recognition and integrity not only in their home markets, but worldwide.
Armitage Shanks is the most recognised sanitary ware brand in the UK since 1817, holding a long history of innovation and specialising in non-residential bathroom solutions. It has a comprehensive range that is a “one-stop shop” for the specifier of non-residential building types such as hospitals, clinics, public areas and stadiums.
Porcher, the famous French brand, is a complete product offer for residential and non-residential solutions with a presence for more than 100 years. Jado from Germany is all about high-end design and top quality sanitary brass and accessories; while Vidima is synonymous for affordable bathroom ceramics and fittings.