GROHE Atrio: Recrafting a Classic for Our Uber-Connected World
Redesigning a classic is not a task that anyone ought to take lightly. GROHE’s Vice President of Design Michael Seum, however, was delighted to step up to the challenge. Charged with rethinking the classic GROHE Atrio water tap was, he tells us, an exciting opportunity. Building upon the strengths of this GROHE stalwart, Seum aimed to instil it with a sense of timelessness. We caught up with Michael to talk about revisiting a classic, the challenges facing his team of engineers, and creating an icon in the new Atrio.
What was the idea behind the new Atrio?
For me, the very definition of an icon is something that you can draw from memory. We are referring to Atrio as a portrait of elegance and precision. It’s a firmly contemporary design, yet with the right interior decor strategy, it could fit into a classic or more cosmopolitan environment too. Because we’ve used such a simple, singular geometry for Atrio, the precision has an analogue, tactile feel to it. So much of our contemporary world is digital and uber-connected, we really felt as if we needed to prioritise this tactility.
How is this driven by the technology that’s inside, like the cartridges?
The quality of the Atrio design results from the level of craftsmanship behind the tap, and also from the precision of our high-quality cartridges. There are three principles that we drew from to create this outcome. Firstly, the cylindrical element that drives the entire line. Next, an absolutely pure intersection of all these geometries. Finally, an obsessive attention to proportion. We wanted Atrio to celebrate the quality of the GROHE cartridge –being a perfect expression of our design DNA.
What challenges did you have to overcome with engineering?
The engineers saw the potential of the Atrio design. I’m really pleased at how they managed to embrace the design vision and make all of the technical elements work so well. They really went through some incredibly meticulous and geometrical work with the Atrio. This is where the precision comes in. All of the tactile feedback, the craftsmanship, the quality, the handmade aspects – it’s all thanks to their efforts.
How has the feedback on this product been so far?
We first previewed it with a few long-standing customers, as well as architects that we have very positive relationships with. We do a lot of work on projects that are two to five years long – big architecture projects – and the response when we put Atrio on the table was just jaw-dropping. It really is iconic. It’s beautiful, it’s flexible, and it’s simple. We designed something that allows architects and consumers to design spaces in so many different ways.
What plans do you have for the Atrio in the future?
We have just launched Atrio in GROHE Colors. The design is so utterly neutral that we believe that this characteristic is the perfect vehicle for expressing new colour and finish possibilities in the bathroom.