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Grohe’s new Singapore store is a world’s first – see why it’s in the same league as brands like Apple and BMW

Grohe

Luxury homes don’t have bathrooms. Instead, they have spas for bubble baths and controlled pressure massage showers.

If you can’t imagine having top-notch spa facilities in the comfort of your own home, sanitary fitting brand Grohe wants to show you what its like.

Europe’s biggest manufacturer of sanitary fittings has opened its first flagship showroom not in Germany, but at Singapore’s Shaw Centre.

Spanning 6,000 sq ft across two floors, the new Grohe Spa showroom is probably also the first of its kind in the Orchard Road shopping district.

Describing the showroom as “a stage where Grohe’s advancements in water technology are brought to life,” Lixil Asia Pacific CEO, Bijoy Mohan, said the new outlet is meant to inspire consumers with its design innovation and high-tech offerings – very much like what brands such as Apple or BMW do.

Bijoy Mohan, CEO of Lixil Asia Pacific.
Grohe

Speaking to Business Insider, Mr Mohan said the showroom is strategically located at Orchard to engage consumers in innovative bathroom products.

“This is not just the consumer who is looking for (bathroom) products, but also the general consumer who needs to raise their level of engagement with such products.

“Our competition is BMW, or Apple or Samsung…We’re trying to increase consumer engagement, and for that we need to be in a place with very high consumer traffic and engage even the casual consumer – that is the objective,” he said.

Singapore consumers, who are generally more value-conscious, are also known to be trend-setting, Mr Mohan said.

That’s one of the reasons why Grohe has chosen Singapore for its first-ever flagship outlet. But the brand is also planning to reach regional audiences from the Orchard hub, including some of the world’s top designers and architect firms which are operational here.

Japanese group Lixil, which owns the Grohe brand, has invested close to S$2 million ($1.52 million) in the new showroom, the bulk of it going into technologies that provide showroom experiences never before used in traditional sanitary fitting stores.

Business Insider went inside the first Grohe-owned store in the world to see what these new showroom experiences were.

Here’s what we found.


The Grohe Spa showroom and store is located on the first and second floors of Shaw Centre on Scotts Road.

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

On the first floor is the experience zone, where most of Grohe’s S$2 million investment has gone into.

Grohe

One of the star features is the Grohe Shower Configurator, which provides a realistic virtual 3D setup of the bathroom fittings you choose to explore.

All you have to do is step into the “shower” and you will see your bathroom come to life – complete with steam and the sound of various spray patterns offered on the fitting you chose.

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

A touchscreen panel in the configurator lets you choose from hundreds of Grohe products which you want to experience.

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

You can also play with Grohe’s various high-tech fittings, such as this mood lighting toggle on display in the three “live shower” areas.

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

We were told that a digital set like this one (pictured below), including light, sound and steam modules, would cost upwards from S$10,000.

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

To help you visualise what the fittings would look like in your home, you can bring in a plan or photo of your bathroom and allow technology to work its magic.

The app you see being used below is part of Grohe’s customisation offerings for clients who don’t know where to start.

Alpha Ang, GM for Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines & Indochina at Lixil Water Technology Asia, said this was one of his favourite features in the showroom because it is about “making the bathroom selection process as easy as possible.” 

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

After having your customisation done digitally, you can view a 360-degree rendering of it on your phone or through VR goggles.

For Mr Mohan, the showroom’s customisation feature is its most unique because it provides a “good handholding experience that we’re trying to do differently.”

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Besides new tech-based experiences, the Grohe Spa showroom also features seven luxury bathroom “sanctuaries” modeled after actual five-star hotels around the world which use Grohe fittings.

Grohe

Six out of seven of these are located on the upper level of the showroom.

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Meant to inspire, these seven areas give consumers looking to build their own luxury bathrooms ideas of how to design their home spas.

At the same time, consumers also get to see how Grohe’s different fitting are used in real life settings, and explore the ways in which these products are paired. 

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Mr Mohan calls the second floor “inspiration with context”.

“The Grohe brand has always been associated as a five-star hotel brand. It’s a brand (for) people who stay in a hotel and want the same experience back in their homes.”

Grohe

There are information plaques placed outside each “sanctuary” which explain the particular bathroom’s design concept and the fittings used.

This particular set-up (below) is modeled after The Conrad Koh Samui’s guest bathrooms.

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

If you prefer to view all your options at once, the showroom’s walls are covered in Grohe’s bathroom fittings.

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Some of these award-winning designs are truly unique to Grohe.

The Eurodisc Joy, featured in the Galaxy Macau “sanctuary”, resembles a gaming joystick and was designed for smooth, easy operation. 

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

A shower feature area also allows you to see 16 different shower products and the various spray patterns they offer.

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

The showroom also shows how Grohe puts a great deal of emphasis on the technology of its designs as well.

One example is the Allure Brilliant, which resembles a modern skyscraper with a sky-high waterfall.

“Technology is in the surface,” Mr Mohan said of the product.

“Every day, depending on the light, the product will look a little different because of the angles and the way it is… That is technology – it’s subtle. It’s not the kind of big technology that you can shout about which is obvious in digital and all of that. But to me, that’s the essence of how you bring design and technology together.”

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Another product which exemplifies the design technology Grohe is so invested in is the Veris, which is used at the Stora Hotellet Umea in Sweden.

Its pebble-shaped design may look simple, but the product is beautifully easy to handle and operate.

“You would think ‘what does it matter?’, but that’s what we’re trying to do. It’s those small unexpected moments (that matter), and we try to put a lot of technology into that to make that happen. So that is something I’m proud of,” he said.

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

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