Frederick Trzcinski, Marketing and Innovation Director, MENA, Ideal Standard Gulf, discusses innovation, market trends, and new Atelier collection

What are some of the latest trends in bathroom spaces?

With bathroom quality increasingly acknowledged as an important contributor to improved customer satisfaction, Ideal Standard has conducted a study in collaboration with Dr Saul M Golden of Ulster University in Ireland. The findings demonstrated professionals are now considering and end users are expecting a wider range of features and benefits including greater levels of hygiene, personal comfort, design and other elements that support well-being. I would like to add that with the global outbreak of the pandemic coronavirus COVID-19 disease, hygiene and infection control measures in the bathrooms are taken more seriously than ever. Another challenge nowadays is to find innovative ways through modern technology to reduce splashing, reduce touching of bathroom surfaces and avoid residual stagnant water. At Ideal Standard, we are fully dedicated to innovation, committed to product development and we believe in sustainable design. This is manifested in products whose scope, style and technical performance is unrivaled and provide the highest levels of infection control. From a design perception, opting for colored basins and mixers are all the rage nowadays. We are accustomed to seeing mostly white bathroom basins and chrome mixers, so this coloured trend is sure to make all the difference.

Explain the impact of technology on bathroom designs.

Technology will continue to push our industry to new innovations and extend the possibilities of hygiene, convenience, functionality and the use of space within a design-led bathroom style. For more than a century now, we have brought to the market several technologically advanced products and innovations – such as our comprehensive pre-wall installation system PROSYS™ that perfectly complements the company’s revolutionary silent and hygienic WC flush technology AQUABLADE®. Some suites of the ‘Atelier Collections’ such as ‘Blend Curve’ also integrate Ideal Standard’s industry-leading hygiene features, including AquaBlade®, making them a strong ally for residential, commercial and healthcare projects. Whereas the mixers have been crafted with smooth surface transitions, making them easy to clean, and include an environmentally-friendly five litre per minute aerator, which reduces water usage.

With the latest COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of germ spread in public washrooms has further increased. Ideal Standard plays a fundamental role in working with leading scientists to develop products that minimize the risks posed by hospital acquired infections (HAIs) and prevent the spread of germs – products that reduce splashing by over 90% such as Contour 21+ basin, and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria due to stagnant water such as Markwik 21+ mixers that are designed with antimicrobial copper components and are hands-free operated. In addition to that, Ideal Standard takes a step further with the new generation of touch-free, soap integrated sensor-tap INTELLIMIX® (planned to be launched in 2021) and the newly developed, mobile-enabled SPHERO™ anti-splash urinal provide ultimate convenience to both users and operators. Ideal Standard also created and are the patent owners of the ceramic disc cartridge that put an end to dripping taps and are today used by the whole industry. The company has certainly taken it one step further and revolutionized water management with its new robust & durable Firmaflow® cartridge that lasts nearly twice as long as industry standards.

Conca bathtub from Atelier Collection

Could you tell us more about the latest Atelier range? How different is it from the past collections?

We wanted to tap into the history of Ideal Standard being a true leader in the world of bathroom design to inform a new wave of design-led solutions. We’ve looked back at our iconic designs, analysed their intrinsic value and thought about how to transform them to suit modern society – both in terms of aesthetics and functionality. A true example of reinterpreting a classic masterpiece for the modern era is the Conca basin collection, which takes inspiration from the original, designed in 1972 by Paolo Tilche – a range that signaled a shift from pure practicality to a combination of form and function in the bathroom. Palomba Serafini Associati has taken the traditional rounded basin and revamped it with a minimalistic square design to align with contemporary trends, while retaining its unique, sophisticated character. In a nutshell, The ‘Atelier Collections’ has been created in a distinct design style where design gives meaning beyond function and quality is second to none.

What are your expectations from Ideal Standard’s collaboration with Palomba Serafini Associati? What will it bring to the company?

Palomba Serafini Associati have been trendsetters in bathroom design for the last 25 years. Beyond the bathroom space they collaborate with leading international brands like Kartell and Samsung. Their work is internationally recognised having received a multitude of prestigious awards, including the acclaimed Compasso D’Oro. To date, PS+A is the only designer who received this award for a bathroom project. Through the collaboration with Ideal Standard Chief Design Officer Palomba Serafini Associati, the company targets to create a distinct design style looking at the bathroom as part of the architecture in its entirety ‘where all things are considered’ and that is marked by its purity and simplicity.

Symfo Flush plates

Tell us more about Roberto Palomba’s participation at Downtown Design Digital Fair 2020 as a key speaker?

Mindful of the current challenges this year, Downtown Design’s annual talks program will be presented virtually. We are proud to have our Chief Design Officer and internationally renowned designer and architect Roberto Palomba, featured as a key speaker joining other industry experts who will speak about how innovation and creative collaboration can offer tradition and heritage a voice on the contemporary design stage.

The virtual talks will be presented on Downtown Design’s website and across their social media channels daily during the entire duration of Dubai Design Week (November 9-14, 2020).

Who is Ideal Standard’s main clientele and what do they demand?

Our products are intelligently designed to meet the needs of all architects, urban designers, construction firms, and we work closely together to shape the future of modern living.

Why is innovation in water so important, and how is Ideal Standard tackling this?

For over 100 years, Ideal Standard has been at the forefront of environmentally-friendly innovation and sustainability. The company has taken on the mantle on water and energy saving solutions, ensuring the high-quality performance of all its products with regards to their impact on Earth’s resources. The efficient and optimum control of water is essential for a well-run organisation from both an environmental and cost control point of view. Ideal Standard has been the precursor in chasing water consumption as we invented the ceramic disk cartridge which put an end to dripping taps and it is what is now used by the industry. And we did not stop there. Water saving is one of core values. Our advanced AquaBlade® flush technology which I mentioned earlier, is an engineered system that gives optimum water flow covering every inch of the ceramic, allowing flushing at the extremely low level of 4,5/3l without splashing, delivering nevertheless a remarkably clean toilet bowl. That’s not all.. you can achieve up to 50% savings on water and energy usage with our innovative ‘Click Technology’ that features an adjustable water saving function which gives you the possibility to personally control water consumption without compromising the water volume. We pride ourselves in offering great ranges of mixers and taps with clever water-saving features that offer max 5lt/ min flow rate, without compromising the water volume and lead to nearly 50% savings. Finally, Ideal Standard has enhanced its flush plate offering to include a wide variety of designs with electronic actuation. Thesenew flush plates which have been designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba, feature the latest no-touch technology making the flush plates easy to use and ultra-hygienic.

How do you see your sector of the market adapting and changing over the rest of 2020/into 2021?

While technology will do its best to tackle the recent pandemic situation, there is a need for users to learn ways of hygienic living in this new normal. There will be an advanced way of consideration being put to build or renovate public bathrooms with products that are splash-free and touch-free. Going a step further, Ideal Standard will unveil a new product innovation, Intellimix®. It is a unique smart-mixer touch-free tap which provides soap and water together in a hand washing cycle. It is created in collaboration with Ideal Standard’s design and technology partners around the world to overcome a number of pain points for building owners and washroom users.

Altes Flush plates

What would you like to say to the readers about Ideal Standard brand and your latest developments?

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, our teams have proven to react very positively with resilience. We will need from now on to adapt to a ‘New Normal’ where we have to be dynamic, ready to change with agility and flexibility. Ideal Standard has carved a niche over the last 100 years by providing innovative bathroom solutions across the globe. We are focusing on innovation and design to make life better for customers. Working closely with leading universities, architects, urban designers and construction companies around the world, Ideal Standard aims at positively shaping the future of modern living, meeting the needs of customers today and anticipating the demands of modern life tomorrow. Better is the promise we make to our clients, our trusted partners, and the millions of people who use our products every day. It’s the promise we make to ourselves. It’s our shared determination to keep on achieving, improving and evolving together. Better isn’t always the easiest place to get to. But it’s the best reward there is. Together for Better.

What’s next for Ideal Standard?

A company re-connecting to its roots of design and expertise to create a new generation of solutions that consumers desire in their homes and professionals depend upon to make their project a success. It’s an exciting future, one that Ideal Standard team is fully focussed on realising.