By Rashika Fazali
In this day and age when bathrooms are no longer just bathrooms, but innovations, Charter House, a pioneer in premium bath ware, has set their goals higher in terms of innovation at this year’s ‘Architect 2013’ exhibition with their highly rated bath ware brands and their one-of-a-kind two-storey stalls.
Charter House, also the event sponsor for ‘Architect 2013 Fellowship Nite’, have assembled four two-storey stalls occupying an area of 10 x 80, making such a stall a first in Sri Lanka. In addition, they have also launched a new brand called Laufen which specialises in sanitary ware.
In an interview with Charter House Director Ranil Samarawickerema, he spoke about the need for such a brand: “Sri Lanka needed a premium sanitary ware brand to meet the demands in the market, especially in the retail sector. A lot of people want to have something that’s long lasting, well designed, elegant and of quality.” In addition, he noted that Laufen is one of the oldest, most innovative companies in the world.
Along with this new brand, Charter House is also exhibiting six more brands – Grohe, Inda, Bravat, Mediclinic, Vingcard Elsafe and the newly taken over agency, Ariston, that specialises in water geysers.
Under the brand Grohe, the world’s leading single brand manufacturer and supplier of sanitary fittings, Charter House will also display space saving water closets (WCs) which are attachable systems placed inside a wall and do the job of saving space.
Samarawickerema further stated that they are also showcasing some new showers called power and soul, a shower with multiple settings and some new kitchen faucets. He explained that since the most used tap is the kitchen tap, they have launched a new faucet for the kitchen as well.
He further revealed that they are offering special deals at the exhibition, redeemable at their showroom later on. Moving on from last year’s concept of just the bathroom, this year they have looked at a more product oriented angle. He stated that anyone who comes to the exhibition can see the product itself.
Due this reason and many more, they have assembled the four, two-storey stalls as Samarawickerema believes there is a lot of potential in the market and they want to do their best by showcasing many of their best brands.
Commenting on the housing market, Samarawickerema believes it has been quite stable, adding: “The biggest issue in Sri Lanka is what I call the dumping of goods and inferior quality products coming in. In Sri Lanka we have about 70% to 75% of the market in the premium, but what we are really doing now is we end up in the mid market, lower upper market and competing with Chinese and Italian brands as we also have Grohe and other brands at economical prices.”
However, the commercial market in Sri Lanka has been doing well.
He added, “There has been an increase in the number of refurbishments and hotels. What we see is a tremendous increase in the number of what you call the boutique hotels or villas. But the major hotel chains are refurbishing, there are also very concerned on how much they can spend. So it’s become a market where people want a brand, but at a price.”