Innovation and design
The “innovation and design” concept today covers responsibilities as diverse as product development, updating collections in the market and adapting to new distribution channels, materials research and production solutions, or studying new trends in the bathroom space field, both globally and locally.
The integration of this area in the new corporate management allows for more coordinated work with Marketing and Production units in order to develop products that meet the specific needs of each market and reduce time to market.
In the field of product design and upgrading, in 2013 Roca’s Debba collection and shower items (faucets, plates and screens) were developed in collaboration with the Group’s industrial platforms. Collection upgrades also involve adapting product lines to the needs of local markets and adjusting products and packaging to new distribution channels such as DIY. The successful launch in the Asian market of Roca’s In-Wash is also worth noting. We have pioneered the development of the shower toilet concept: toilets with an integrated bidet and drying function for personal hygiene. In-Wash has stood out in 2013 as a new milestone in design and innovation for the Group, while other products such as In-Tank WC and W+W have obtained new awards. The new applications with Laufen’s innovative ceramic material, SaphirKeramik, are worth highlighting as well. The material is a world benchmark in applying the concept of thin design to the bathroom space.
The search for new toilet solutions has witnessed two key milestones in 2013. We have partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a toilet that uses water very efficiently and specifically targets regions without adequate infrastructure, thus lowering the risk of diseases associated with a lack of hygiene. The Group and the We Are WaterFoundation collaborate in this project, contributing their toilet design expertise and working together with multidisciplinary scientists and universities in various countries. We have also started our own project for researching the siphoning toilet — a common model in countries such as the United States, Brazil and China, in contrast with the European “washdown flushing” model, to meet future demands in these markets. To properly support all projects under development, the Roca Design Center has added a new test bench to its Gavà facilities that is used to test the durability and performance of bidet and toilet seats.
The Roca Tiles division has expanded its design team to support the launch of the new Gala and Bellavista ceramic tile brand collections. A specific collection has been developed for Bellavista which aims to meet the preferences of Maghreb and Middle East countries, where bright colors are more prevalent than in European markets. In order to achieve greater product customization, all the Group’s ceramic tile factories are equipped with digital injection decorators, which avoid pattern repetition and offer new design possibilities.
The Group also maintains its commitment to supporting young designers by organizing competitions, such as Jump the Gap or the One Day Design Challenge, and the Innovation Lab’s collaboration with prestigious design schools. The fifth Jump the Gap competition featured a jury chaired by Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima and has broken its record in terms of participation and projects presented. The One Day Design Challenge challenges design students to come up with an innovative bathroom space concept in a single day. In 2013 this contest was held for the second time, being hosted by the Roca Galleries in Barcelona and Madrid on the same day.