Q&A: Michael Seum on the state of modern bathroom design

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Bathroom products have always been designed around consumers. There is a strong emotional connection when it comes to creating something that people utilise daily. When it comes to sanitary fittings, we’re usually spoilt for choice: from the latest design darling to inventions driven by smart technology.

Smart technology has also led to the creation of many exciting products that have either been disruptive or convenient. Think bathtubs with music or a rain shower that responds to your emotions.

We speak to Michael Seum (VP of Design, Grohe) on how his role as a designer has helped shape the future of water and on creating products that address today’s consumer needs. He also talks about upcoming bathroom trends and what to look out for when it comes to buying bathware and fittings.

Michael Seum
(Image credit: Grohe)

What have the biggest takeaways in the world of bathroom trends been for 2020?

Especially in Asia, I see simpler and lighter bathrooms due to smaller spaces, but with a modern and luxe feel. I also see a lot of individualisation, more preference for colours, and finally, more technology being incorporated in the bathroom.

Most bathroom technologies and innovations come from Europe. How do European standards fit into the Asian market?

Europe is the market leader in design, but from a technological point of view, we are getting a lot of innovation from Asia. For instance, the first made-in-Japan shower toilet (or ‘washlet’) with warm water shower spray and air dryer function was made by Inax, also under Lixil’s portfolio. Today, shower toilets are more common in Asia than in Europe or North America. So actually we are taking a lot of technology and innovation from Asia, reframing it with European design DNA, and bring it back to Asia. This is a balance of the best of both worlds: Asian technology, and European design, the DNA that Grohe is known for.

Michael Seum
(Image credit: Grohe)

What can consumers expect in the bathroom industry over the next two to three years?

We are going to focus on mega-trends to shape the future. For example, the way that people interact with home spaces is changing, so we will see bathrooms that are more flexible and dynamic, and kitchens that are more connected to living spaces. We will bring a sense of simplicity and become more minimalist, and we will see more individualisation, personalisation and smart technologies to manage water more intelligently. Finally, we are moving towards a more sustainable approach that will impact shower and water drinking behaviours.

How has smart technology influenced bathware designs?

It has altered the game tremendously. The design of our products complements functionality and technology and brings out the product as an experience as a whole. If we look at the Grohe Smart Control, for example, consumers can control the water dynamics depending on what they are doing in the shower – rinsing, washing hair, applying conditioner, and more. Technology allows a very intuitive and precise water control that enhances the shower experience.

Michael Seum
(Image credit: Grohe)

What are some of the obvious ‘do-nots’ when it comes to choosing bathroom fittings?

I personally think there are no ‘do-nots’ when it comes to this; We have a very extensive portfolio that can adapt to many different lifestyle needs, environment and design styles. It is up to the consumer to make use of the fittings around them to make the bathroom experience a pleasant one.

What are three useful pieces of advice when it come to shopping for bathroom fittings?

First, they should find their own inspiration for something they like. Second, bring this mindset to the store and let our staff advise them. Finally, choose the product that better suits their lifestyle. If I had to pick three lines form Grohe, I would start with Lineare, Atrio or the New Grohe Plus.

Find your nearest showroom or installer in Hong Kong at Grohe online.

This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur.

Staff Writer

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