Committed to taking advantage and contributing to the development taking place in the real estate sector in KSA, especially in hospitality and residential projects (compounds and residential units), Grohe KSA’s own stance is in line with the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision too, as Antoine Kaisser, General Manager, Grohe KSA, explains.
Saudi Projects: Has Grohe had a successful 2018?
Antoine Kaisser: We operate without sub-contractors, but directly with government-owned companies, manufacturers, developers and contractors, and this has helped the company to reduce the burden of unnecessary costs, which has gone a long way to making 2018 such a successful year, particularly in terms of projects and awards. In fact, our design philosophy, which is the foundation of all Grohe product designs, attracted a record number of 63 design awards last year, with all of the company’s newest innovations receiving prestigious accolades, from digital innovations, kitchen and bath faucets collections through to ceramics lines, shower systems and even architectural flush plates.
Saudi Projects: Grohe is very much a company that cares not only about its customers, but about the community, too?
Antoine Kaisser: Yes, it’s in our DNA. In 2015, for instance, we launched ‘Turn Water into Food’, an initiative in cooperation with NGOs that builds on food distribution for the underprivileged. This unique idea is based on transforming the water saved by furnishing mosques with self-closing faucets into food. For every 10 litres of water saved, Grohe donates one food pack to a family. To date, more than 2360 families have benefited from this programme.
Saudi Projects: And Grohe has picked up an award for this initiative?
Antoine Kaisser: It has, yes. In 2016, Grohe won the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) Golden World Awards (GWA) for its ‘Turn Water into Food’ campaign in KSA. Environmental awareness is at the heart of the Grohe philosophy, as it raises awareness on the importance of environmental sustainability and discusses the promotion and optimal use of water resources by reducing consumption and utilising treated and renewable water. Thus, the remarkable success of this initiative encouraged us to implement it in other countries in the MENA region, including Egypt, Turkey, the UAE, Ghana, Lebanon, and Jordan.
Also in 2018, Grohe launched last year Lixil Community Day, reaching out to elementary schools to raise awareness of water conservation.
Saudi Projects: Is Saudi Arabia an increasingly important market for Grohe?
Antoine Kaisser: Saudi Arabia is a fast-growing and vital market for Grohe, and the company is keen to cater to its trades people, suppliers and consumers by offering new technologies and enhanced products. We are committed to constantly keeping up with this expanding market, as one of our core business strategies is to take part in the upcoming projects.
Grohe is in line with the fast-growing non-oil private sector movement in KSA, which is driven by vision 2030, making the construction sector an expanding one, benefiting primarily from major initiatives to promote residential real estate development.
Saudi Projects: So Grohe will benefit from the Vision 2030?
Antoine Kaisser: Grohe technologies will certainly contribute to the Vision 2030, in particular under the ‘energy conservation’ pillar. In 2018, for example, GROHE won the BayLaSun project in King Abdullah Economic City, developed by EMAAR and fully equipped by Grohe.
Saudi Projects: Do you forsee any major challenges over the next few years?
Antoine Kaisser: As in any region, there are challenges ahead for KSA and the Gulf countries; the main one revolving around creating not only aesthetically appealing projects, but also improving the quality of people’s lives.
Water scarcity is another major environmental challenge, as are a difficult world economy and depleting resources. Another challenge is the increase in the cost of materials, which could push up the prices of apartments, villas and office space, or could drive property developers to use low quality products in terms of sanitary fittings. Consequently, the whole construction sector will be affected. As a result, Grohe’s biggest challenge over the next 10 years will primarily be sustainability. And as high-end projects prefer to adopt premium brands, the company’s challenge is to position its water saving products as premium in order to appeal to the specification makers of these projects.
Saudi Projects: How will you meet these challenges?
Antoine Kaisser: Global manufacturing brands are increasingly opening plants inside KSA, which helps them have a more competitive price on a local level. So, Grohe will leverage the ‘value for money’ aspect of its innovations, while highlighting world-class standards followed in the manufacturing process, and ‘Made in Germany’ quality. By 2030, the positive environmental contribution from Grohe’s products and services will surpass the environmental footprint from its entire business process, thus achieving a net zero environmental footprint.
Saudi Projects: Which major opportunities do you seeing arising?
Antoine Kaisser: One of the biggest opportunities is the merging of the digital and physical worlds, as innovation is not just about hardware and design anymore, with the KSA architecture industry having shown an ability to adapt and improve across all trends and developments, which is critical in today’s environment. With this in mind, we have recently launched intelligent devices to monitor and prevent water damage incidents – Grohe Sense and Grohe Sense Guard.
The integration of design with technology, in addition to the value of the company’s products, is a unique combination and the secret behind our success. Thanks to our four brand pillars – Quality, Design, Technology and Sustainability – we have a great affinity with the KSA market, which explains the high demand for our products.
Saudi Projects: How important is promoting a green future?
Antoine Kaisser: Grohe is taking serious steps towards ‘green building’ initiatives for the simple fact that they make sense. They are valuable because they reduce the cost of ownership. Planners, architects and investors are leading the way towards ‘green certification’, and Grohe is offering solution expertise in this area, helping clients to navigate the complicated system of green building rating in order to assess the sustainability of a project’s design, construction and operation.
Saudi Projects: How do you see the next 10 years for Grohe?
Antoine Kaisser: Looking to the future, our plans in the region revolve around expansion and diversification, with the company always seeking new opportunities to be closer to and to connect with our customers, to explore new channels where we can showcase our products and groundbreaking innovations.