Interview with Christopher Barger, SVP Global Projects, Grohe

During last years Sleep event in November, Design Insider managed to catch up with Christopher Barger, SVP Global Projects at Grohe who shared all on what it means to sponsor the VIP lounge and how they are tying to bring their shower toilets to the UK market.

GROHE stand

GROHE are once again sponsoring the VIP lounge at Sleep, what do you see as the benefit for this?

In short summary, networking. It’s great to have a place for the customers to come in, grab some wifi, coffee, lunch, breakfast in the mornings, champagne in the afternoons, and have a chance to relax and meet the team. In this business, relationships drive everything, and so it’s good to have that place to do that- and that’s why we made the investment in the VIP lounge.

What are GROHE presenting at Sleep?

This year at Sleep we are having a frank conversation with people about how you clean yourself on the toilet. Is it dry-based or water-based? A lot of cultures use water, and this is the more hygienic way, but it is not seen as an option in the UK and parts of Europe. We are trying to change that perspective and educate with our Sensia Arena shower toilet and illustrate the many benefits of including them in the hospitality industry.

Sensia Arena Shower Toilet Wall Mounted

So, how do you think you can bring this to market in the UK?

We’ve made a series of videos about the Sensia on YouTube, but honestly I think a lot will come down to cultural change that people see for themselves. For example, when they’re travelling and see a shower toilet in a hotel especially in Asia and the Middle East. Every person that I’ve met that has gone to Asia and experienced it, comes back believing that a shower toilet seems the common sense way.

When did you first come across a shower toilet?

A number of years ago when I was in the hospitality construction business. I was running back and forth to Southeast Asia frequently. I was transiting through the Narita Airport in Japan and was waiting in the business lounge. All the toilets there were washlet toilets so I thought I’m going to push a few buttons and just check it out. As I stood in front of the toilet, I hit a button and this wand came out of the back and produced water like a Samurai sword slash, from my shoulder to knee. As I walked back out, all the ladies at the reception desk were laughing. They must see this all day, every day.  Grohe’s Sensia Arena is a very intuitive, hygienic system to use and fortunately I do not run into that problem any longer!

GROHE Essence Colour Range

So, what else are you presenting at the show?

I am most excited about the colours programme. We now offer five colours and two different finishes, brushed and polished- so ten options in total. This programme gives architects and designers the bandwidth to add bespoke touches in the bathroom and put their own stamp on the room’s design.

 What does good design mean to you?

Functionality. I’m a fan of design and I love seeing the creative spirit at work. However if the design is not workable, if it’s not functional, if it’s not intuitive, then I think something is lost.


Learn more about Grohe on their DI Directory Profile 

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About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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