EXHIBITOR NEWS

Villeroy & Boch – Establishing European Elegance for More than 265 Years

May 17, 2013

With a rich tradition and a 265-year history of quality manufacturing, Villeroy & Boch is a premium European lifestyle brand active in 125 countries. Over the past nine generations, the ceramic manufacturer has been shaped by the dedication of its founding families and has developed a unique quality enabling tradition to be combined with modernity, design with innovation. From its very beginnings in the Baroque era, Villeroy & Boch has not only launched highly competitive products but has also helped mould the European style of tableware, home décor and bathroom design.

This is hardly surprising, as the company’s great personalities have all been artistically talented. The first generations successfully combined the roles of businessmen, strategists, inventors and designers, and from the mid-19th century the most able designers and professors have headed the company’s ateliers. International artists, draughtsmen and designers have contributed to the reputation of the Villeroy & Boch brand in product aesthetics, trends and lifestyle, a reputation reflected in the wide range of design and innovation awards the company has won over the years.

The Bochs and Villeroys themselves once created the corporate culture whose basic principles still exist today. Some of the current generations remain actively involved in the business (Constantin von Boch is currently the Sales Director, USA and Canada, Villeroy & Boch Bath & Wellness division), and each of them has inherited the spirit of discovery, innovation and progress from their ancestors.

1748: Humble Beginnings

It was 1748 when François Boch founded a small pottery in the heart of Europe and, with his three sons, began to make ceramic tableware and decorative art objects. In the years that followed the Bochs displayed their characteristic innovative flair and began adopting early industrial serial production. In 1836 Jean-François Boch then merged with the successful stoneware manufacturer Nicolas Villeroy to form Villeroy & Boch, creating one of the first global players of the 19th century with exports that reached beyond Europe to the USA, Russia and China.

Ten years later Villeroy & Boch took its initial steps into the housing and construction sector by commencing tile manufacture. Progress was quickly made and the aesthetically refined Mettlacher Platten were introduced. These innovative tiles were inspired by Roman mosaic and characterized by their tremendously high wear resistance, so that tiles laid then can still be admired today, decorating historic landmarks ranging from Cologne Cathedral in Germany, the Bolshoi theatre in Moscow to the Holland Tunnel in New York City. Floor tiles from the same factory also contributed to the interior grandeur and elegance of the RMS Titanic.

On the Forefront of Bathroom Culture Across Europe

In the late 19th century, about the same time as running water and sewers were introduced, Villeroy & Boch began focusing on the private bathroom, in those days a concept unknown to the majority of the population. Tiles and washbasin sets began to be manufactured for this purpose and in 1870 the company introduced the mass production of sanitary ceramics. Further innovation enabled cost-effective large-scale production and broadened marketing opportunities. This was the beginning of the Villeroy & Boch tradition of actively shaping bathroom culture, as the achievements of the company helped to democratize bathroom culture and hygiene across Europe.

Gradually the private bathroom became accepted as standard, but as the second half of the 20th century arrived Villeroy & Boch recognized the great untapped potential of this sphere. The vision of the bathroom as an integral part of the home, as a living space, emerged and in 1975 the company engaged Luigi Colani – the enfant terrible of the design world – to realize it. Colani created a completely new bathroom concept. He was the first person to consider the ergonomic aspects of the bathroom, he optimized overall functionality, and he introduced the use of color. This revolutionary bathroom concept revolved entirely around people and their needs, sending a clear message to the whole of the bathroom industry. The bathroom began to acquire an importance on par with all other living areas in the home, characterized by an aesthetic driven by individual expression. It was transformed from a functional place for daily hygiene and body care into a personal sanctuary for relaxation, rejuvenation and the maintenance of well-being.

Tradition and Innovation, Design and Diversification

Over the years, Villeroy & Boch has become the preeminent European brand for bathroom culture, providing well-designed bathroom products in transitional and contemporary styles. The Company attributes its success to the important foundations of: tradition, innovation, design and diversification. As a Company starting from humble beginnings in Germany, Luxembourg and France, its rich history and traditions have helped Villeroy & Boch establish its worldwide presence today. Being on the forefront of outstanding, innovative designs and ideas, Villeroy & Boch has an important influence on the tableware and bathroom industries of Europe and beyond. Inventive materials like Quaryl® or award-winning designs such as NewWave (Tableware) or La Belle (Bath & Wellness) continue to drive the company’s pursuit of continued excellence.

The current selection for the USA market features the Strada and La Belle collections, both of which speak to the popularity of transitional-style bathrooms, as well as Memento, which boasts a modern, streamlined aesthetic. Equally contemporary is the Subway collection, whose simple, straightforward shapes make it an attractive addition to any bathroom. Villeroy & Boch’s extensive line of products include all major categories, including: wall-hung and floor mounted toilets, vanities, washbasins, furniture, mirrors and tubs.

About Villeroy & Boch:

Villeroy & Boch with Head Offices in Mettlach/Germany has production plants located in Europe, Mexico and Thailand. The product range includes articles from three domains: Bathroom & Wellness, Tableware and Tiles. With 265 years of company history behind it, today Villeroy & Boch is a European Lifestyle brand active in 125 countries.