Water is Emotion

A Manifesto by Philippe Grohe

Do we need to evolve our understanding of the role of water in our societies? And in which direction? What improves the way we relate to this primal natural element? Philippe Grohe SE, Vice President of Design Management at Hansgrohe, has produced a manifesto especially for DAMN° on how to use water, upgrading our perception of it.

Philippe Grohe May 2016




Do we need to evolve our understanding of the role of water in our societies? And in which direction? What improves the way we relate to this primal natural element? Philippe Grohe SE, Vice President of Design Management at Hansgrohe, has produced a manifesto especially for DAMN° on how to use water, upgrading our perception of it.
Water is perceived differently in different parts of the world. In developed countries like Europe, USA, and a few others, I think we are on an evolutionary journey where more and more we perceive water not as a commodity but as a valuable resource. Water is a very local topic. The approach to water in northern Germany is different from that in southern Germany, and this again is different from the Span- ish approach. So it’s quite dif cult to make general laws. Water issues have to be treated at a local level and from a local perspective. Throughout the 20th century, water has been addressed as a commodity, and I think that now, with all the changes happening on our planet, we need to review this idea. Water touches us in a very special way, and we have come to understand that it can do so much more than just feed and clean us. Water has a strong emotional component. With regard to the wellness aspect, there is a big change happening around us and this most certainly originated from the acknowledgment of water’s new role. We feel that water is fundamental again.
At Hansgrohe, we focus on technology, design, and sustainability. Technology is about ef ciency: How can we use less water and still obtain the best in terms of function? How can we design water in order to get the best feeling from our relationship with it? In the shower, for example, we have added air to the water to accelerate the water touching the body’s surface. So with less water, you have the feeling of greater exposure to it. And this sticks to your body in a more functional way. And for washbasin taps, we have been going in the opposite direction: we are taking air out of the water. For decades, nearly all taps have had ‘white water’ owing out of them. That white water is perceived as a commodity and not as a natural element. That is why at Hansgrohe we have started to work on transparent water, on waterfalls. To emotionalise and to emphasise. We can work on several levels. One is simply to help people to use less and save more. And another is to work on the perception of water, what you feel when it touches you, what happens when you see it.
Philippe Grohe is the grandson of the company’s founder, Hans Grohe. After nishing high school, he went on to become a prize-winning photographer, also working for humanitarian organisations and presenting his work in several exhibitions. Later returning to the Hansgrohe headquarters in Schiltach, Germany, he has been head of Axor (part of the Hansgrohe group) for nearly 15 years, and today is Vice President of Design Management.
This article appeared in DAM56. Order your personal copy.


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