Thomas Kannengießer, Director Product Management CSW Projects for Villeroy & Boch

Holistic approach

“O.novo” and “Architectura”: Two versatile system collections by Villeroy & Boch. What advantages do they each have, how do they differ? And which solutions does the ceramics specialist offer with a view to hygiene? We asked Thomas Kannengiesser, Director Product Management CSW Projects.
by Anna Moldenhauer | 8/6/2020

Anna Moldenhauer: Mr. Kannengiesser, what are the differences between the two Villeroy&Boch collections “O.novo” and “Architectura”?

Thomas Kannengiesser:O.novo” combines function and attractive design with affordable pricing, which makes it an ideal entry-level system. Entry-level brand ranges also need to have a great depth and versatility in terms of products. Which is why we include everything that could possibly be required for a sanitary area project in the “O.novo” collection: from wall mounted toilets in different sizes and installation heights, from syphonic to washdown toilets, from standalone to combination toilets with attached flushing cistern. Even if the dimensions differ, the style of design needs to be uniform. It’s safe to say that essentially, no matter which requirements a project may have, “O.novo” will always provide a solution. Of course, the same holds true for other product groups in the range, too, for example wash basins. That was the basic principle we employed when developing “O.novo”, and in recent years we have further expanded on it, too. For example with “O.novo Vita”, a collection for barrier-free spaces, which has an attractive design despite its functionality. The handles integrated into the wash basin also serve as towel holders, for instance. Around a year ago we also brought “O.novo Kids” to market, a sanitary range for playschools and primary schools.

What’s different about “O.novo Kids”?

Thomas Kannengießer: Like all Villeroy & Boch products, the collection was designed with the target group in mind. That is to say in the early stages of development we visited numerous playschools and primary schools and asked the children and teachers what they would like to see in the bathrooms in terms of furnishings. This resulted among other things in a vanity set with three wash basins, each of which is a different height and depth. I found it sensational how the children intuitively go to use the basin best suited for their body size and arm length. In addition to that we also designed a wall-mounted toilet and a floor standing toilet that features a fold-out seat with two different rings – this allows the children to individually select the type of support they need. In the collection, the primary colors red, yellow and blue offer orientation: We also selected those together with the kids.

“O.novo” also offers features such as the antibacterial finish AntiBac, CeramicPlus surfaces or DirectFlush technology.

Thomas Kannengießer: Just like when outfitting a new car, customers can use “O.novo” as a basis and upgrade it according to their individual needs. In particular the optional AntiBac surface technology is of interest for the school sector, especially with a view to the current pandemic, as it has an anti-bacterial effect thanks to the silver ions in the glaze. Without bacteria some viruses may also lose their breeding ground. The CeramicPlus finish also helps a great deal when it comes to keeping surfaces clean, as it makes the water droplets flow together into concentrated beads on the surface. This allows dirt and lime to run off easily. CeramicPlus also makes it possible to clean the ceramic items with both acidic and alkaline cleaners. For the toilets with DirectFlush technology we developed a design that allows users to access the water edge. This allows for the entire bowl to be cleaned and disinfected, there is no spot that cannot be reached. In order to compensate for the increased strain placed on the products – as would be the case in schools – we also built a continuous hinge into the toilet seats.

“Architectura” is another versatile system collection by Villeroy & Boch. In what way does it differ from “O.novo”?

Thomas Kannengießer:Architectura” has a high-end design standard. The collection has for example been used to furnish Frankfurt Airport. It also includes some innovative features when it comes to cleaning: For instance, we designed the quick-change ViChange siphon cartridge. With the ViChange it is no longer necessary to uninstall the urinal from the wall for the procedure, which is an enormous help when it comes to hygiene in public spaces. The quick release technology also enables toilet seats to be taken off with nothing but a click, which makes disinfecting them much simpler.

"Architectura" by Villeroy & Boch

Are there differences between the two collections in terms of water consumption?

Thomas Kannengießer: No, because we offer optimum flushing performance in all our collections. Every Villeroy & Boch toilet uses only 3 or 4.5 liters per flush, regardless of price range. This is made possible by the geometry devised by Villeroy & Boch. We want our products to help conserve resources, and that starts with the high quality of the materials used. What I also appreciate in the “Architectura” range is the timeless modular system. The collection is entirely consistent in terms of design, which makes for very harmonious spaces.

What is Villeroy & Boch currently researching?

Thomas Kannengießer: One thing I am already allowed to talk about is our work on an innovative wash basin that we are designing in collaboration among others with a hospital in Rotterdam. As a material ceramic is ideally suited to satisfying the strictest of hygiene requirements and we are currently carrying out research in a great number of fields in order to be able to offer new solutions in the sanitary sector.

You’ve been working for Villeroy & Boch for almost 30 years yourself. In your opinion, what makes the company’s product development so special?

Thomas Kannengießer: I believe there is no other company that takes such great pains to interlink the individual components in each range. I find this degree of attention to detail and coordination very satisfying. On top of which, the cooperation with our partners functions like a well-oiled machine, with all the cogs interlocking perfectly, because with some of them we have been working together successfully for decades.

In 60 Seconds: O.novo Vita | Villeroy & Boch