Innovative new products and a strong customer focus put the manufacturer in a position of leadership
As an international manufacturer of bathroom furnishings, Duravit has made its mark in the sanitaryware sector with innovative products. Today the company is not just a manufacturer of designer products but also a supplier of bathrooms that offer an all-round experience of well being.
MEI spoke to Toni ElKadi, area manager – UAE, Qatar & Oman, Duravit Middle East, to find out about the latest innovations and company’s plans for the region.
Please tell us about the new products from Duravit? What innovative products are you launching this year?
This spring Duravit is launching four innovative products namely the Inipi B sauna, Architec urinals, Delos range of bathroom furniture and SensoWashC toilet seat.
The Inipi B is super compact sauna which has a footprint of approximately 120 by 120 cm and offers a comfortable amount of space for one person whilst also meeting the highest design requirements.
Its larger version is approximately 240 by 120 cm and has room for two.
With the new generation of Architec urinals, Duravit is making an important contribution to saving water intelligently. Thanks to a hose membrane integrated in the outlet, Architec dry flushes without water.
The new Delos range of bathroom furniture by EOOS, a Vienna-based design group, introduces a comfortable ambience and lightness into the bathroom.
Finally we are also introducing SensoWash C shower-toilet seat with concealed cable and water connections.
What are the current trends in bathroom design?
As in all areas of life, state-of-the-art technology is taking charge of everyday practicalities. The bathroom was once a purely functional area but today it is not only comfortably furnished, it is also a place of relaxation, offering a variety of wellness experiences. With the transformation of bathroom into a private spa, increasingly efficient products are moving into the bathroom. So, an important challenge for the future will be the increasing notion of the smart bathroom.
In this region, is your primary audience the retail consumer or the project business?
In the Middle East, we offer the entire Duravit product portfolio. We are able to offer bathroom solutions for different budget and lifestyle requirements. Continuous customer care plays an important role. By inviting customers to our showroom or through initiatives such as the recent spa event held in Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, we aim to develop excellent customer relationships and enlighten them to our idea of the ‘living bathroom’. Irrespective of the size and type of project, professionals rely on ourwell-established and experienced team. We focus on retail as well as on project business. Duravit´s broad range of product solutions and the competencies of our team enable us to be active in both business sectors and benefit both equally.
Please tell us about some of the major projects Duravit has been involved with in this region?
There are currently some interesting projects coming up in Dubai and throughout the Middle East in which we are involved. These are both public and semi-public projects as well as in private houses. We have delivered sanitary ware to the Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel in Dubai, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the Yas Marina Circuit, the Arzanah at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi as well as to the New Doha International Airport. One of the largest projects in recent years has been the Burj Khalifa. We supplied more than 1,000 Starck 1 barrels as well as over 4,000 WCs and bidets and more than 1,600 baths and whirl tubs.
What sustainability initiatives has the company taken and what has been the response so far?
Sustainability has always been key to Duravit. Our company is certified for its environmental commitment according to ISO 14001. We have reduced the amount of water required for flushing from the normal 9-14 litres in the 1980’s to 6 litres. Today we offer WCs (water closets) that can flush hygienically with only 4.5 liters of water. With the McDry urinal and the new Architec dry urinal, we have demonstrated that water can be removed altogether. In our manufacturing facilities we have systems for recycling water and the wasted heat in the ceramic firing and drying processes is returned to the production process. These are only a few examples of a broad range of activities.
How is the company doing in this region? What are your plans for the region?
Because of the large growth potential in the Middle East, we will keep our focus and extend our activities in this region. We want to be located as close as possible to our customers. We have our own technical and sales offices in Beirut and the UAE. In addition, we have an office in Saudi Arabia.
With different events and activities, we have strengthened our brand awareness. For example, the spa event that we organised in co-operation with United Supplies Establishment was held under the motto ‘Discover the spa with us’ and it showcased our latest spa products and a bathroom series.
We are the first company is the sanitary ware business to organise such an event. By doing so we wanted to set a trend and also to enable the company to stay in the customer’s mind for a long time.
The strength in customer loyalty is reflected in the high number of our landmark projects in the region.