A shower system is a new concept for consumers. How do
you educate them?
We deliver products, but we design total consumer experiences,
whether that’s in the showroom, the bathroom, or on a digital application. Take installation. A lot of our competitors don’t consider the com-plexities the plumber encounters, but we’ve gone to great lengths to
make SmartControl simple to install. Ultimately, that makes for a better overall experience. The consumer loves the showering experience,
and it’s easy to add to their home. That’s forward-thinking design.
GROHE is known for being design driven. How would you
describe its design strategy?
Design has the unique ability to visualize strategy, and unlike any
other function of the company, we can bring a story to life. That’s
why we believe in design doing. We’re beyond styling. I look for designers who want to craft a point of view and make products that
make a diference.
We’re obsessive with prototyping. If we don’t get it right the frst
time, we make another one. We have design values that I literally
hold the design team hostage to: Is it easy to use? Is it human?
Does it convey performance? Our commitment to consumer-focused design experiences has driven our success.
What other consumer experiences are you focused on
Look at how bad plastic is for the environment and how inefcient
bottled water is. It takes seven liters of water to produce one liter
of drinkable bottled
water. So we created a
product called GROHE
Blue that has a chiller, a
flter, and a carbonator
under the counter. It
eliminates the need for
plastic water bottles
and delivers perfectly
chilled, lightly sparkling
or full sparkling water.
The future is about
changing our relationship with water, this
extremely precious resource. Well-designed
products help you
Created in Collaboration with GROHE
The Flow of Innovation
GROHE, a 100-year-old industry leader in plumbing fxtures, is redesigning
how we experience water—the fnal frontier in smart-home technology.
When it comes to high-tech
home innovation, televisions
and sound systems get the lion’s share of attention. But the
latest smart-home technology
focuses on reimagining everyday objects, such as showers
The key to rethinking how we
experience water at home isn’t
only about incorporating digital
bells and whistles. As GROHE,
the 100-year-old cutting-edge
German water-fxture provider,
illustrates, the most successful solutions are rooted in intuitive,
Here, MICHAEL SEUM, GROHE’s vice president of design, shares
the thinking behind its award-winning designs, such as the new
SmartControl Shower System, and how to create products that
change behavior in positive ways.
What’s especially challenging about rethinking an
everyday experience like the shower?
Water is analog. It’s one of the last frontiers of the smart home
that hasn’t been injected with any intelligence. So we see an
opportunity to bring water into the 21st century. We’re not just
designing the next good-looking shower system. But it’s interesting, because the bath is one of those areas where consumers
are emotionally invested. The same is true of the kitchen. When
someone decides to renovate those rooms, they put a lot of care
into it because they know they’ll be using them daily.
What was the starting point for the SmartControl
Shower System? The initial design goal?
We wanted to personalize the shower experience. So we didn’t
just create a new showerhead. We created a whole shower system based on a unique valve technology, one that allows you
to choose the outlet, fow, and temperature all independently
of each other. There’s no other experience like it in the world.
Think about what it’s like when you walk into a hotel bathroom.
You have no idea which control does what.
But SmartControl is intuitive. It has simple icons: one for temperature and an independent control for managing water
volume and fow. That allows you to have a really dynamic experience, whether you want a strong, powerful rinse or a soft,
relaxing stream—all at a consistent, precise temperature.
The next evolution will be in even deeper personalization, like a
custom shower profle that knows who you are when you walk
into your shower.
This story was created
with and commissioned