Sleeper caught up with Frederick Trzcinski, Marketing & Innovation Director, Middle-East & Africa at Ideal Standard, during The Hotel Show in Dubai to discuss technology, water consumption and the future of bathroom design, as well as the company’s decision to become Official Bathroom Sponsor for this year’s Housekeepers League of Champions competition.
Why did you become a bathroom sponsor at The Hotel Show Dubai?
We were very happy to be a part of The Hotel Show, and for us, sponsoring the Housekeepers League of Champions competition was a very good opportunity to display our products and be closer to the people specifying them. So in terms of branding, visibility and product presence, from our point of view, it was more effective than exhibiting with a traditional booth.
How important is the Middle Eastern hotel market to Ideal Standard?
The region’s hotel market is key to our business and we’ve been a part of many hotel projects over recent years. Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are three of our most critical markets in terms of the scale of development.
What impact has technology had on bathroom design in the region?
It’s critical. Ideal Standard is looking to go into this new era of design with a deep involvement of technology. We have to be innovative and we are always searching for new novelties, whether it’s in the material of the ceramic or technology like Aquablade, which reduces sound and features advanced performance qualities in terms of hygiene and water consumption. We believe the right recipe is a balance between design and technology.
How is Ideal Standard’s technology helping to improve water consumption?
We invented the ceramic disc cartridge and the Click technology which reduces water consumption by 50%, as well as the integrated flow regulator that can save between 40 and 80 litres when having a typical seven minute shower compared with having a bath. We also introduced a dual-flush on our toilets, so we are always thinking of how to integrate the relevant technology for water consumption, which is in the mind of the consumer nowadays. We need to be responsible towards our planet, but at the same time, water saving can also reduce costs for operators and hotel managers, which continues to be a concern in this region.
What other bathroom trends have you seen in the Middle East recently?
Of course the use of gold is very important too in the region as it can segregate the class of the hotels and guestrooms, but in terms of other trends there aren’t many that are specific to the Middle East, more so worldwide. We work in collaboration with Italian design studio Palomba Serafini Associati and their products have been well received by our partners in this area as they love designs coming from Europe. We try to find a balance between European design and a flavour of the region, keeping the DNA of the product, its shape and lines but adding contemporary elements. It’s important to be able to adapt and as the bathroom is ever-evolving, our products must evolve in the same way.
How has ceramic evolved since Ideal Standard was established?
We manufacture products as well as designing and developing them, so we need to find the right trade-off between what is feasible and what’s in the mind of the designer. Ceramic remains the material of choice because it’s very hygienic and durable, but we’ve made improvements by rethinking its composition while retaining that durability and strength.
Where do you see bathroom design headed in the future?
For the coming years I think that the colour will come back. We had colours in the 70s’ and 80s’ that were very popular and in Dubai today, you still find bathrooms with these shades. We’re not planning on introducing bold tones but more soft taupe colours that create a sanctuary-style environment. The idea of matte versus glossy is also important with regards to fittings, which could move away from the traditional stainless steel finishes towards more grey or gold in the region.
What’s next for Ideal Standard?
For this year we’re focusing on our partnership with master of international design, Roberto Palomba, and his deep involvement in the company after becoming our Chief Design Officer. He’s now involved in the development of every product and even when it comes to booths at exhibitions, he ensures that there is always consistency in our guidelines. In terms of product launches there’s a mix of design-led collections but also functional ranges, which we can’t forget as they are equally as important.
Our new company claim is ‘Together for Better’ and we want to keep that in mind when developing new products for better use, better living and better interaction for consumers.