Mr. Marc Viardot (hereinafter referred to as "M"), CDO & CMO of LAUFEN Bathrooms AG, shared his experiences with Vetica (hereinafter referred to as "V").
V: How has the business of LAUFEN changed since you have been in charge of design management? What do you do better than anyone else?
M: Our business is total bathroom solutions — from pure ceramics manufacturing, to furniture, baths and showers and faucets, including solutions like the new shower toilet designed by Vetica. What we do better than others is the mastering of ceramics. Ceramic is a highly difficult and complicated material to master.
Over the last 125 years, LAUFEN has developed new technologies and skills in materials and manufacturing. In 2013 we launched Ceramic SaphirKeramik, a totally new ceramic material. Thanks to our Innovation Lab, this has become a new gold standard in the global market.
V: Innovation in ceramics is one part, but this also requires promotion in worldwide markets. How do you manage this part?
M: This has taken a lot of passion and ambition: a strong belief in our capabilities, the skills of our staff, and the long history and traditions of our company. These all reflect the true values of LAUFEN, and differentiate us from other companies. That’s why we constantly look for new opportunities in the global bathroom market to give our clients the kind of extra benefit that they are looking for.
V: How does the design of your wide range of products influence your bathroom business?
M: For LAUFEN, design is everything. I have been in this company for 13 years, and in that time we have always worked exclusively with external designers. We have highly skilled internal engineers who can transform the dreams and ambitions of our external designers into reality.
Together with our designers, we internally define short and long term goals and strategies.
For that, we need strong relationships with our designers. They understand and know our business, our company and our culture. I’m very happy that we have this culture and discipline in our company, in which we can give designers this huge responsibility: to drive our company forward and push the boundaries of our business.
And after all, we at LAUFEN are finally responsible to make these new ideas become reality, economically and strategically. So designers also have a high degree of power, and are at the heart of what our company stands for.
V: Peter Wirz and his design team from Vetica started exactly 15 years ago to work with LAUFEN on the Moderna project. Can you explain how Peter Wirz influenced the business since then?
M: As an example, launching LAUFEN pro in 2005 transformed the company further into an international brand. With this significant product portfolio in the mid-price segment, it was important to be recognized globally, not only as a Swiss premium brand but also as a reliable manufacturer and supplier. The LAUFEN pro portfolio came along as part of the whole design process, and perfectly shows the intensity of working with the designer. So it’s not about delivering drawings of a new product. It’s about being agile, flexible and smart.
That was the time when Peter Wirz formulated the definition of democratic design. Since then we as a company know that we are able to deliver democratic design. LAUFEN pro is our bread and butter product line and is a very important part of our business.
It is the bedrock for more than 2000 employees in Switzerland and all of our subsidiaries. That is a true transformation. Since then, every project we have done together with Peter Wirz has transformed the company further.
V: You have many different designers working for you. Some are well known, others less so. How much influence do designers have on your marketing and strategic thinking?
M: It’s true. Designers from LAUFEN are a big part of our marketing and communication strategy. Designers deserve it. You see this in other fields like architecture. It’s a remarkable opportunity for our designers and our company.
However, we use our designers not only for communication. We work with the designers with the belief that they push us forward, helping us, challenging us, and bringing added value to the entire organization. Designers not only design products for us, they are also responsible for bringing outside viewpoints to the company. This goes far beyond all marketing activities. Executed correctly, marketing brings success to all parties involved. But the decisions to work with one or another designer, to be more or less intense, these are not marketing driven.
V: What are - beside of the famous LAUFEN pro collection – the other products Peter Wirz and his team developed?
M: The bathtub and shower tray collection “Solutions”, the Moderna washbasin and toilets, as well the LAUFEN pro S collection, a true masterpiece in redesigning a bestselling product. The LAUFEN pro slim helped us to start selling furniture together with our ceramic washbasins.
Just recently, the new product category that is the new LAUFEN shower toilet RIVA. This product represents a cultural and structural change within our company. Vetica helped us with the technical collaboration with another Swiss company. This project is not only changing our business, but also our internal processes. Technical support, after-sales services, packaging, communication, CRM and supply chain – this project is a true transformation from inside out.
V: After all that, what do you appreciate most working with Vetica?
M: For me, working with people like Peter and his team means sincere relationships.
Relationships are comprised of sympathy and friendship, trust and understanding, and knowing what the partner can bring to the business and to the company. This is one of the very important elements that has made the outcome of our collaboration so successful.
Another point is the way Vetica works — the efficient way projects are managed and the precision of delivery agreements. The highly professional work and the understanding of our business and company has made this experience simply priceless.
Steeped in tradition, the Swiss brand LAUFEN is a global leader in bathroom ceramics manufacture. For 125 years, LAUFEN has produced wash basins, bidets and toilet bowls in ultra-modern factories in Switzerland and Central Europe with tried-and tested
Swiss precision. Starting from a sound knowledge of ceramics, the company has developed comprehensive expertise in the bathroom segment as a whole and combined this with the highest design standards.
LAUFEN & Vetica
We have maintained a close partnership with LAUFEN as design experts the last 15 years. This has resulted in the best-selling bathroom ceramics series "MODERNA", "SOLUTIONS", "LAUFEN PRO" and others. In our designs, we pay special attention to achieve a simple, timeless style and the highest Swiss quality. So we can contribute to the international success of Laufen products.