Paving the way for bathrooms of the future.
The ground floor of Grohe’s expansive duplex gallery is filled with the brand’s latest sanitaryware products.
As the CEO of Lixil Asia Pacific, Bijoy Mohan has a huge task on his hands. Not only does he have to turn the bathroom space, an oft-under appreciated part of the home, into the centre of attention, Mohan also needs to change the way consumers shop for and select sanitary fittings. Yet, if the recent opening of the Grohe duplex-gallery at Shaw Centre is anything to go by, it seems he is all set to take on the challenges.
Located in the heart of the shopping belt in Singapore, Grohe Spa is a beautifully decked-out 6,000sqf gallery featuring some of Grohe’s most innovative water technologies. While some may question the logic of a sanitary ware brand setting up shop in the middle of Orchard Road, Mohan believes Grohe is at the right place, at the right time.
“Grohe is part of Lixil, which happens to be the largest company in the industry and, as the biggest player in the market, we told ourselves a couple of years ago that it’s time to raise the industry to the next level,” he explains. “In doing so, we needed to consider two critical issues affecting the industry – enhancing the shopper experience, and finding a way to compete with other lifestyle products for the customers’ attention,” he adds.
According to Mohan, simplifying the shopping journey for the consumer, when it comes to picking out the perfect showerhead or toilet fixture, will encourage homeowners to do more with their bathroom spaces. “Homeowners don’t know what to do or where to go when they want to renovate their bathrooms, but if we make it easier, they will do it more often, and when the frequency increases, the whole industry grows,” he says, comparing the situation to a similar evolution that took place in the furniture industry two decades ago. “When it became easier for people to buy furniture, they started renovating every three or four years,” he elaborates.
Looking around the showroom, it’s evident that Grohe has gone all out to create the ideal shopper experience. An entire floor is dedicated to showcasing actual bath suite settings from seven premium resorts and hotels around the world, from Sri Panwa in Phuket to The Conrad in Koh Samui and Swissotel The Bosphorus in Istanbul, all equipped with various Grohe collections.
Not only are these displays complemented by live water areas with shower spray demonstrations, visitors can also tap into Grohe’s unique VR technology to view a realistic shower configurator, as well as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to compare products.
“To engage homeowners, we need to be in a location accessible to them and where they can come in without knowing what to expect. We want them to be surprised at what their showers and baths can do and how they can look, and be inspired to consider a change,” Mohan says.
He points out that Grohe utilises technology not only to improve the shopping experience, but in its products as well. The ground floor space in the two-storey gallery showcases its sanitary ware, some of which are not available in Singapore. “A lot of products you see in this showroom are not available from the other channels, because we want to educate and bring about more awareness to the consumers,” he says. One interesting development, which has yet to be introduced in the local market, is a device capable of detecting and stopping leaks in water pipes. For Mohan, inculcating a love for the bathroom comes with knowing how to use water wisely as well. “If you want to enjoy water, you also need a sense of security when using it to make sure that it doesn’t become a problem.
“We have to keep reminding ourselves when it comes to technological innovations in our products, we can’t focus on just doing new things; it must mean we can perform the small and basic functions just as well. We must inspire the consumer, not just by adding more features, but also by making the simple things more enjoyable.”
Visit the Grohe Spa Asia flagship at Level 1 #01-04 /05, Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road. Visit www.grohe.sg for more information.
Be inspired to change the look of your bathroom, with Grohe’s extensive range of bath fixtures.
GROHE UTILISES TECHNOLOGY NOT ONLY TO IMPROVE THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE, BUT IN ITS PRODUCTS AS WELL.
With Grohe’s VR headset, visitors can experience the spatial feel of being in a bathroom equipped with Grohe’s spa systems, without getting wet.
The instore RFID technology allows for easy product comparison.
BIJOY MOHAN ON…
1 The next evolution of the bathroom.
You’ll see digital technology coming into all aspects of the bathroom. Grohe has incorporated it in products like the Grohe Sensia Arena, as well as touch-control showers, and spa systems controlled by mobile apps. Grohe was the first to experiment with digital technology nine years ago and, today, we are looking into the next stage of digital integration, which includes medical analysis. We have prototypes of toilets that can measure daily blood sugar levels.
2 The ways people interact with water.
Unlike shopping for clothes, a consumer who wants to buy a shower head is not able to try it out by stepping into a bathroom setup to take a shower, so we thought about how to provide an experience, even via virtual reality, to give them an idea of the spatial feel. That’s how much we value the sensual experience that water provides.
3 Singapore as a design hub.
Singapore is ahead of Hong Kong as a design hub. We see that in direct business correlation to the number of design businesses choosing to establish their base operations here, so we knew the Grohe Spa flagship gallery had to be here.
text YOUNG LIM