Tags: Sanitary Equipment, Toilets, Faucets & Fittings, Showers, Dry drains, Eco management, Electronic Controls, Design Trends, Climate Change / Sustainability, Event Reports, Innovation, Western Europe Page 1 of 3 | Single page
The enormous Frankfurt fair grounds hosted 2,361 companies from 58 countries, while 202,000 trade visitors obligingly made the journey.
Virtually all other exhibition organizers around the world would give their right arm to be able to claim less than a 10% fall off in visitor numbers in this current environment, but that says a lot about the strength and resilience of ISH.
The fact that ISH is held every two years also adds to the impact of the event.
Nonetheless, in talking with exhibitors and visitors from around the globe, no one was hiding the fact they are currently hurting, in line with their own local economic situations.
However, there was also a fair amount of positive discussion about market/brand positioning aimed at the time economies inevitably come out of the current situation.
Of the seven occasions I have attended ISH over the past 20 years, I have come away with a different impression of the plumbing sector.
Ethics versus aesthetics
Putting aside the expected inventiveness and pure design brilliance that is always on show at ISH, this time I felt the most important theme was the contrast of ethics versus aesthetics.
Consumers want it both ways and suppliers are quickly following.
The desire to save water and achieve sustainability is in a two-way fight to retain aesthetic quality and bathroom experience – or as the German’s put it, wellness.
Everyone had a sustainable story, though the effort and energy consumed to achieve this is sometimes hard to quantify.
Like it or not, there is still a huge market for those who can afford anything and who take it as rote that they have the god-given right to use as much water as they like.
Let me say that’s not quite the case in some water-parched areas of the world and even the North American market is suffering some regulatory indigestion over how to handle double-headed showers.
As the environmental movement sweeps the world, it is going to be interesting to see what sort of technologies are on offer in years to come at ISH.
Embedded (or virtual) water is a new concept on the horizon. In the future we can expect to see far more quantification of the amount of water and energy used in the production of products that exist in the built environment and for everyday living.
A great deal of work is being done globally on this aspect and manufacturers are going to have to keep a close eye on its progress.
Product labeling in the future could well imitate that of food or pharmaceuticals – with specific detail about the amount of water and energy were used in the manufacture of the product, as well as their running and lifetime service costs.
It is likely that certain building projects will be capped with ‘embedded’ limits, adding another box to tick in the specification process.
Germany goes blue for responsibility
The German sanitary industry went to great lengths at ISH to launch a new sustainability program.
“Dealing responsibly with water is one of the most important global aims of our times. The German sanitary industry is highly aware of this and provides diverse technical solutions that do justice to these aims and the claims to be sustainable.
Under the overall heading of ‘Blue Responsibility’, the German sanitary industry provides information on products which document its particular competence in the field of sustainable sanitary solutions.”
Full detail of the campaign can be found at www.blue-responsibility.com
Who’s who and what stood out?
Commercial brinkmanship across the bathroom products manufacturing world was certainly in full swing at ISH. Two major global brands were making their presence felt as never before.
The renowned TOTO brand from Japan simply announced HELLO EUROPE as a first time ISH exhibitor, in order to gain the attention of the European market.Continued...