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The New Wave at Milan Design Week

Silvia Battocchio – Design for art’s sake

As Leader LIXIL Global Brand Identity Silvia Battocchio knows how to position a product to its best advantage. During her career as a brand manager and marketing strategist she has built an impressive CV working for global household names and super-desirable luxury brands. Her work is about identity in all senses of the word. To be successful any product must be assigned an identity through the marketing communication that accompanies it on its journey, and through careful placement and contextualization. Silvia works to create an aura around the product and a series of associations with it on the part of the target consumer. This touches on a further meaning of identity: Silvia is inviting consumers to identify with the product. They must see something of themselves, their lifestyle, their tastes and choices, reflected in it. Only if they see it as truly theirs will they want to make it part of their lives.  

GROHE SPA is a product that has been conceived and created to elicit that moment of identification. The opportunities for customization, the refinement of the build and finishes, the performance, the invitation to a totally immersive experience that it extends, all are quite intentional responses to a specific strand of consumer demand. GROHE SPA is aspirational in quite particular ways. It is not luxury for its own sake. It is not conspicuous consumption. The message it sends – like all well designed products – is: We hear you and we’re responding personally to you. The luxury we’re offering is not an opportunity to vaunt your wealth and taste, but to practice your own healing rituals. GROHE SPA’s promise is of a space where you can retreat to and renew your senses, in order to re-emerge an enhanced version of yourself. 

The decision to launch GROHE SPA with an art installation and exhibition at one of the world’s most prestigious cultural institutions, in one of the world’s most elegant cities, during one of the most important celebrations of the design world, looks very smart. The Pinacoteca isn’t just a gallery. The palazzo houses a school of fine art, Lombardy’s academic institute of sciences and letters, and a botanical garden. Its history is intertwined with the political and cultural history of Milan, Italy and Europe. As the Pinacoteca passed through the hands of the Austro-Hungarian empire, then Napoleon, then the kingdom of Lombardy, and the nascent Italian state, each recognized its value as a centre of learning and excellence and sought to shape it to their own ends and reflect their personalities. 

We meet Silvia at the Pinacoteca where GROHE SPA’s watery installation and immersive four-cube exhibition is taking place. It’s as impressive as the setting itself, which is saying a lot. It was a great place to catch up with Silvia and get to know some of the thinking behind the GROHE concept and its the decision to associate it so closely with Milan Design Week and with the Pinacoteca.


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