Plumbtile President, Clive Moch, was one of a group of top American, Canadian and Australian retailers invited to the ISH Convention in Frankfurt Germany in mid March. The invited delegates were also treated to tours of the KWC manufacturing facilities in Lucerne Switzerland and Hansa’s head office in Stuttgart Germany.

The trip, known as “The Real Europe Excursion”, was sponsored by KWC Hansa, was planned and hosted by KWC Hansa’s North American General Manager, David Delle Monache, national sales manager, Darrel Jones, and Kelly Coldren, office and media manager at KWC Hansa.

Clive reports the Excursion was a “… truly awesome” experience. “At the ISH convention and trade-show, I saw all the major brands, each with an extraordinary display and presentation. The energy and floor traffic at the trade-show was amazing, as was the energy in the conference rooms.”

ISH is the world’s largest annual bathroom and plumbing design conference. The conference reports a staggering figure of 204,000 attendees over the five day event. The conference and trade-show offers delegates a view of the near-term future of bath and plumbing design. Products displayed in trade-show booths or discussed in conference rooms this year will be on the Plumbtile website and retailers store shelves next year. Clive is extremely excited about new product lines and designs being developed by manufacturers.

“I saw a number of great new products in Frankfurt,” Clive said. “New product lines will be very contemporary. One example is a move towards incorporating electronics in home bathroom design such as electronic touch button faucets in chrome finishes.”

Another concept Clive came across at ISH was the new trend towards modular design. In future installations, every component will line-up exactly with a grid pattern used to create unique or individual designs. “This will prove to bring great cost savings to our customers in the long run”, Clive said.

When asked what his greatest impression of ISH2011 was, Clive said, “Faucets are definitely going to be more sophisticated. More electronics will be used. The Europeans love chrome finish, it lends itself to contemporary simplicity. Home design is going the way of commercial buildings, eco-friendly and hands free.”

The ISH conference was the first leg of the Real European Excursion. After the conference concluded, the group was taken to Lucerne Switzerland to visit KWC’s production center and meet KWC Chairman Roland Gloor. Mr. Gloor gave a tour of the production facilities before introducing KWC’s head designer, Michael Lammel, who facilitated a discussion of KWC’s new design process.

Leaving Lucerne, the group traveled back to Germany to visit the Hansa head offices in Stuttgart where they met Hansa’s lead designer Richard Zetsche. Mr. Zetsche took the tour to the Benz museum to introduce Bruno Succo, formerly head of design for Mercedes Benz, now head of faucet design for Hansa.

At Hansa, the group discussed the design and production process and was given a glimpse as to how Hansa develops new products. Clive reported hearing of a group of design engineers watching dozens of videos of dolphins as a creative exercise. Glancing over at a set of Hansa faucets, Clive can now see those dolphins reflected in the trim chrome lines of the products.

Returning from Europe, Clive was even more passionate about the products we sell than he usually is. “It’s not just a faucet”, he said emphatically. “You can’t just take these products for granted. They are art objects, pieces of designer art in one’s home.”

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