DESIGN Q&A | Geberit

Design function

Geberit UK and Ireland MD, Mark Larden, reveals how the latest additions to its portfolio will open up new possibilities for its retail network

Q & A

Q: Tell us about the launch of Select and what this addition means to the Geberit portfolio? A: Select was launched in September. It features 11 suites and was created specifi cally so that our independent retail customers could target the mid-range consumer. We now have three ranges.

Twyford in the eco and lower-end price point, Geberit Select at the mid-point and Geberit Aspire at the top end. We now have 20-plus suites and a bathroom at every price point.

Q: The launch of the new Select collection had to be delayed, but you were still producing new products during lockdown... A: The smaller launches, line extensions, new fl ush plates, and other

little additions to current

ranges, we have continued to launch throughout the year. Not one of our factories closed during the pandemic and I think we are unique in being able to say that. Plus, we were still able to launch new products.

Q: Geberit One was also another big launch this year. How does this range use Geberit’s behind- the-wall technology? A:

Geberit One [fully integrated

solutions for the whole bathroom] is the fi rst develop ment that shows off the front-of-the-wall design, coupled with behind-the-wall technology. It is a minimalist suite but, because we own the behind-the-wall technology in terms of frames, it is ingenious in terms of space. Geberit One sits at the top end of our range.

Q: What are the latest, broader bathroom trends? A: Geberit is most famous for frames


We are the experts behind the wall – we take products to the next level

and wall-hung toilets. At the same time, we have always promoted frames as being easy to clean and space-saving. But when people are looking at redesigning their bathroom, I think for me, easy cleaning and hygiene are coming even more to the forefront. We also look at trends like multi- generational living. A bathroom has to cater to lots of different tastes and uses. We have to make sure that we are keeping our ear to the ground and see the trends that are emerging.

Q: Geberit mixes both function and design. What’s the thinking behind that? A: We have the marketing strapline of “know-how installed”. We now

The Selnova range – from Geberit’s new Select collection – features a rounded design

call the front of the wall: ‘design meets function’.

The Geberit One range addresses some of the critical issues that consumers have,

like ‘where do I put my clutter’. We can take these things to a new level, as we are such experts behind the wall and for me, it is a balance. You can have good design and useful functionality.

Q: Select features Geberit’s fi rst mid-range shower toilet. How is the shower toilet market faring? Have you seen any dramatic changes in the sector since Covid? A: Shower toilets are a signifi cant innovation. The category has been gathering pace in the past few years. We [Geberit] were one of the fi rst to launch shower toilets in the UK decades ago. Even two or three years ago, there weren’t that many available in the market, but you look

now and every brand has one. We have seven or eight in the series, ranging from models at the top end, with a built-in light and heated seat, down to an entry-level one that can be attached cistern to give a wash function.

to the

Q: The fact that you committed to product launches during a pandemic is pretty impressive but, overall, how did the brand fare in 2020? A: To tell the story of last year, it was all going swimmingly in the fi rst quarter. Then the fi rst lockdown happened and had a huge impact. There were some months where we were 70 to 80% down. The business then started to come back when the lockdown was eased. We had a much better June and,

from there, things started looking much more positive. Our published quarter-three fi gures showed that we were slightly ahead of 2019 in the same period.

The rise was a combination of pent-up demand and people getting used to the ‘new normal’. Despite the second lockdown,


retailers had to close again, we didn’t see an impact from that. We are quite positive for the year ahead.

Drawer compartments in the Geberit One range


Q: How did it [the pandemic] change the retail landscape? A: Retailers have coped with their new way of working and have showrooms open ‘by appointment only’, and the retailers I’ve spoken to are quite favourable with that way of working, as they are getting more quality customers coming through the door. If someone is making an appointment, it means they are quite advanced in

their purchasing

considerations, which is better for the retailer.

· January 2021

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