Designer Q&A; Michael Seum, Grohe
Design Insider recently had the opportunity to sit down with Michael Seum, Vice President of Design at GROHE to discuss their launch of Lineare at ISH.
How was ISH?
Amazing! We delivered new products and innovation in every category and even introduced a new breakthrough water safety category for the smart home with the introduction of Grohe Sense and Sense Guard. The media response to our innovations was completely energizing for the Design team, after the work it takes to launch so many new products.
At the show you launched the new Lineare range, can you tell us a little bit more about it?
Lineare is a beautiful line which was already 10 years old. I found that the range had beautiful bones, a little dated, and a strong iconic line and it needed attention to make it more relevant for cosmopolitan bathrooms to come for the next 10 years.
Lineare was inspired by minimalist architecture- we tried to slim the proportions, increase height and enhance comfort. It is a simple line with two intersecting geometries, a cylindrical body, and a rectangular lever and spout. The forms are pure yet slightly softened geometries, informal and not totally hard and cold of typical minimalist style, and therefore more approachable for designers to use in many more situations. We call it sensual Minimalism.
We are always looking for patterns in society, one of the trends we observed was what we call ‘nomadic living.’ The consistent trend for lightweight furniture around the house has now moved into the bathroom, this led us to remove as much of visual weight from the previous generation.
What was the most challenging aspect of the design?
The most challenging aspect of the design process was keeping the DNA of the prior Lineare while working to get the visual weight out of the product and at the same time ensuring the durability and quality of the product. We aimed to create design permanence. It will look as good as it is today in 10 years from now.
How was it received?
We had a very positive response from the design community, and we have already won multiple design awards since introduction. Feedback, both consumer and trade, was very positive about the flexibility of the designs.
Now a little bit about yourself…
How did you get into design?
I always knew I had a creative mind very early on in my life. I had a passion for creativity and I’m very fortunate that my parents nurtured that creative energy.
I wanted to be an Architect, quite by chance, architecture was next door to industrial design. I walked past a critique in Industrial Design, I went straight to the library and took out every book on Industrial Design. The next day I decided that that was going to be my career path.
What do you enjoy most about being a designer?
When I was an independent designer I loved being deep into the detail and nuances of the design. Now the challenge is to connect the creativity to the business need. To inspire the team and to keep the motivation, we need to incubate the creativity, a free space to be able to open their minds.
Do you have a creative space? A place which inspires you?
Yes, my mind. As a designer I don’t believe I can ever turn off my mind- my wife tells me off for saying ‘I’m working’ even when I am with her. At any moment something may emerge.
As far as creative places, I grew up in Chicago and, for me, to stare into the water and to be surrounded by water is inspiring. To sit on the edge of Lake Michigan, with the city behind me and nothing but water in front, this is a special place! I guess you can say I have a passion for water.