Interview with GROHE’S Patrick Speck – about sponsoring young design talent at iF
"Supporting young design talents is a matter of heart at iF."
Every year, we call for ideas and concepts to be submitted in the ! In this design competition, students and graduates have the chance to win prize money of EUR 50,000 in total per year!
Without the support of our sponsors, this could not be possible. We are happy to have as a top-class sponsor among , , Wonderland, NetDragon, Three Winged Bird and Casarte. The multi-award-winning premium manufacturer of faucets and showers and other bath and sanitary equipment GROHE names quality, technology, design, and sustainability as their key values. How do some of them apply to supporting young designers, especially when thinking of the UN sustainable development goals? What are their criteria? And what was their motivation to become a sponsor of a design award?
We talked to GROHE's Patrick Speck, Leader Global Design EMENA, at GROHE about the potential of design talent and their sponsorship and GROHE's efforts towards sustainability.
What made you decide to become a sponsor of the iF DESIGN STUDENT AWARD to promote young design talent?
It is a remarkable initiative from iF Design, which is a trademark on design excellence, to create a platform that benefits students from all over the world. For the students, it is a unique opportunity to share their big ideas to a bigger audience and potentially have their work published in the iF Design Website. iF Design and GROHE share similar values on what regards social change is influenced through design. At GROHE, we always knew how important it is to be connected with future young designers and for more than a decade, we've been running an internship program where the student will gain practical experience in a multicultural environment with an award-winning design team.
What do you expect from the participants of the competition? What is actually an ‘award-worthy’ student concept?
Within the selected category, you must have a clarity of mind and understand why you are doing it and what you are trying to solve. If you place the human being in the center of your challenge and have clear insights, you are on the right way to create a meaningful concept which is going to create a positive impact. Good design needs to be relevant and have the right mix of ingredients that are going to make it desirable and both technologically and economically viable.
What is your advice to young design talents? What are the key skills you expect when looking for new designers for the Grohe Design Team?
Creativity is the greatest tool we can have – be open-minded and adopt a curious mind. Designers are problem solvers, and we often tend to see an opportunity where other people don't.
The design training landscape has changed considerably in the last decades. New disciplines were added and the access to information today is just incredible. The danger is that we can get lost in a multitude of tools, loose focus rapidly and forget purpose and meaning. Designers have such a fantastic gift, - we can visualize and materialize things. It is the most powerful way to communicate an idea. It is the necessary foundation, and every designer should do with proficiency.
Sustainability and relevance are among the central social challenges of our time. How do you or GROHE confront this issue?
Sustainability has been an essential element of GROHE's brand strategy for 20 years now. Among several corporate initiatives, we are proud to have achieved carbon-neutral production in all our factories, this milestone was reached in April 2020. When it comes to our product portfolio, we have established solutions such as our GROHE Blue water systems which provides consumers with the choice of refreshing still and sparkling water, making plastic water bottles unnecessary. We go even further when designing a product, considering its shape and how it might impact the package size to save material, optimize transportation and consequently reducing our carbon footprint. I believe the combination of smart technology and water- and energy-efficient products can help us as an enabler to tailor bathroom and kitchen experiences which are going to fulfil consumer needs and help us to conserve our precious planet resources in the future.