Conquering New Land with Design

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Designers of Ve2. Hugo Dines Schmidt to the right.

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Hairdryer BJÖRK

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Soapdispenser BJÖRK

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Soapdispenser, BJÖRK

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BJÖRK

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BJÖRK presented at architect@work in Lyon

Published
09.07.2016

A leading European toilet equipment supplier captured a new clientele with a fresh product range that broke with an old, antiquated image. Ve2 is behind the design of the products.

‘We had to break with the fusty image before we began the process of conquering new markets. We examined what architects were asking for. Naturally, this meant the beginning of a collaboration with a design studio that could help us create designs that appeal to architects and decision makers.’

The Danish company DAN DRYER, which has been in business for over 30 years, is one of the leading European suppliers of toilet equipment for airports, public institutions and retailers. Sales and Marketing Assistant Gitte Hansen elaborates on why the company needed an injection of new design DNA to further develop its sales.

‘Our thoughts about these new products focused on keywords like timelessness, simplicity and elegance. But we lacked the design aspect—the eye for design’, says Hansen.

With architects, for architects

VE2, a Danish design studio consisting of three designers originally trained as architects, gave DAN DRYER the above-mentioned design injection by creating a new range of products called Björk. The range currently includes a hand dryer and a soap dispenser, and a wall-mounted changing table will be available soon.

Hugo Dines Schmidt, Partner and architect at VE2, says it was both bold and far-sighted of DAN DRYER to take its business to the next level by working so professionally on a new product design. Other stakeholders felt the same. In 2015, the new range of designs was awarded the renowned Red Dot Design Award.

The award was a compliment to a business such as DAN DRYER, which shows its class by investing in such a forward-looking activity’, says Schmidt.

The idea behind Björk was to create an elegant, functional design as the basis for a product range priced under DAN DRYER’s high-end Stainless Design products. Using Björk as its trump card, DAN DRYER aims to be included even earlier in building planning and design processes via contacts with architects.

‘We try to focus on a different clientele with the Björk range. Initially, it was about studying the market and looking for things that the market lacked’, adds Hansen.

A strong collaboration

The design process took a year of close collaboration between DAN DRYER and VE2. Schmidt emphasises that a product design must always be integrated into a context. He notes, ‘When you design a hand dryer, you also have to remember that it must be able to function in numbers. Dryers are often set up alongside each other by hand basins, so the less intrusive they are, the better. The overall impression has to be attractive, in the same way as designing kitchen handles or street furniture’.

During the many talks with DAN DRYER, Schmidt and his two partners gained an understanding of the company’s values, which, according to Schmidt, include quality and an emphasis on functionality in designs. But for him, it seemed that DAN DRYER was not acknowledged for these designs.

‘They wanted more credit for their designs. This happened with the Red Dot, and now we have attracted new segments to their business as well, including international architects and decision makers’, Schmidt concludes.

In the near future, DAN DRYER’s Björk range will be expanded to include a trash bin, a sanitation bin and a large toilet-roll holder.