SBID Awards Sponsors 2019: The Story Behind VitrA UK
SBID caught up with this year’s SBID International Design Awards sponsor for the KBB Design category. Margaret Talbot, Marketing Manager at VitrA UK shares more about the story behind the brand; from its very beginnings as a Ceramic Factory in Turkey to it’s current standing in the international sanitary and brassware market, VitrA highlights some of the incredible work they do with interior designers and the industry.
What are the origins of your brand?
VitrA’s heritage can be traced back to 1909, when the renowned Turkish pharmacist Süleyman Ferit Eczacibaşi began producing bathing and cologne products in his pharmacy in Izmir. The Dr Nejat Eczacıbaşı Ceramic Factory, as it was then called, was the forerunner to VitrA. After the Second World War, there came economic revival and an increased demand for ceramic sanitaryware. In 1958 the company opened its first modern production plant and by 1966 became known as VitrA. In order to diversify the company, a brassware plant was opened in 1979. The brand, now an uncontested force in the market, was launched internationally in 1983.
How do you work with interior designers?
When working with an interior designer, a clear and open dialogue is crucial. The VitrA team immerses themselves in each project, gaining full understanding of the designer’s aims, as well as the challenges that any individual project may pose. To ensure the VitrA team clearly understand the designer’s vision, the first step is for them to provide a brief and an initial mood board to define the scope of their work and provide valuable details on materials, colours and their initial considerations for the bathroom design.
Then follows the conceptual development stage. At this point, a layout design with more technical information and specifications is produced. A specification manager from the VitrA team will use their technical expertise to anticipate and solve any potential problems before they arise to ensure the project runs smoothly all the way through to completion. The designer is heavily involved and works closely with the VitrA team at every stage – this means that both parties, as well as the end client, are pleased with the finished project.
What value does your sector add to the interior design industry?
VitrA is passionate about challenging traditional views of the bathroom as a purely functional space and enabling designers to express their creativity in an often-overlooked area.
Led by our Design Director, Erdem Akan, VitrA’s highly accomplished in-house creative team represent the backbone of our design philosophy and culture. They are supported by the multi-disciplinary teams at the VitrA Innovation Centre, which was built as a place for architects and designers to free their imagination and express flair in their product design, while also feeling safe in the knowledge that our specification managers are on hand to ensure that all products meet both the technical and aesthetic demands.
This creativity manifests itself in VitrA’s collaborations with world-renowned designers such as Claudio Bellini for Equal, Ross Lovegrove for Istanbul, Terri Pecora for Plural and Matteo Thun & Partners for Water Jewels.
How does your offering enhance an interior designer’s projects?
Superior quality, supply of product and reliable versatility are hallmarks of the VitrA brand, and every component of the bathroom benefits from VitrA’s strong focus on advanced technology and imaginative design. The dedicated team of VitrA product designers collaborate with top global experts to establish new and innovate ideas that enhance not only bathroom aesthetics and functionality, but also each interior designer’s projects.
What are the latest trends you’ve noticed in your client’s requests?
The new ‘Living Bathroom’ concept presents the bathroom as an informal living space. This evolution of the bathroom ritual celebrates wellness and the joy of spending time in the bathroom. American designer Terri Pecora’s Plural collection for VitrA presents the bathroom as a social hub where people can meet and reconnect. Another big trend of note is the use of geometric shapes and monochrome tones, as used in the Equal collection by Claudio Bellini. Using clean, minimal borders and industrial, metallic accents, Bellini’s designs emulate the structures found in modernist architecture.
Why did you want to become a sponsor for the SBID Awards?
We are pleased to be a sponsor of the SBID Awards as they are one of the most prestigious interior awards in the design calendar. VitrA is keen to support interior designers and their fantastic work in the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom sector.