November 23, 2011

It’s a rare opportunity to be invited to a country as fabulous as Germany to spend a week with fellow Architects, Developers and Builders in the factories and towns where they manufacture the products that we specify every week.

Tanya has just returned from a ten day trip with Argent Australia touring through the factories of Grohe, Bette and Villeroy & Boch and has a new appreciation of their engineering precision.

Forty lucky people from across Australia jetted off to Germany completely unaware of how much they were about to learn and laugh in one week! From the first factory tour with our gracious host Rolf, followed by a large dinner and plenty of Schnapps the team from Argent had certainly set the scene for a great week ahead.

We toured the factories of Bette Steel enameled baths, shower trays and basins which were robotically precise and had many options and colours beyond what you see in Australia – so far that is. We travelled on to Hemer to the enormous factories of Grohe. Never had I seen such technology working so precisely in combination with men of thirty years’ experience to ensure that each product was perfectly flawless and delivered to us so seamlessly.

And of course then on to the much talked about Mettlach – Home of the Villeroy & Boch Guest house [ie castle] where we had the privilege of staying for two nights while we toured the factories and the abbey containing the museum and galleries of V&B.

In between our factory visits we had fabulous German hosts for Architectural tours of cities and towns featuring buildings by Gehry, Meier and Sir Norman Foster. We shared many beers, pretzels, schnitzel, pork of every kind with cabbage and potato with a most fabulous group of people.

I am most appreciative to Argent, Bette, Grohe & Villeroy & Boch for making such a trip possible and letting us see where there quality and design originates. It has helped me understand product design, manufacturing and pricing a whole lot more and I look forward to the next tour wherever that may be.