Crosswater: Innovator and design leader

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    Pilgrimage to Dartford….

    For nearly 20 years Crosswater has been building its position in the supply chain. To the surprise of other professionals in the industry it has grown rapidly over that time to its £51 million plus turnover in 2014, growing strongly in the contract market, becoming a first choice for architects and designers on hotels in the UK and rapidly expanding into export markets.I went to visit their distribution centre and showroom in Dartford, an easy ride from central London, at the invitation of David Balmer, their Hospitality Contracts manager. David had previously invited me to their clutch of units on the south side of Dartford Bridge which the new base replaces.

    Their new humungous building is on the north side of the motorway, amidst reeds and pools with ducks a-dabbling just moments away from the M25, visible but almost inaudible. Lake View House is a totally new building custom designed to meet the Groups precise specifications.All 200 employees will be able to work together in a facility that combines efficiency with delightful working conditions that include a café, areas for relaxation, a games room, a playfully themed chill out room called the Man Cave and much more. Designed by Threefold Architects, Lake View House is situated within The Bridge Business Park in Dartford and is conveniently located at the centre of air, road and rail links, opening up products from Crosswater and Bathroom Brands to a growing international customer base.

    David showed HotelDesigns around the new showroom with windows into the new highly automated warehouse, which is our focus here, but the building houses conference spaces, the technical services and contract support areas as well as funky staff spaces..

    Now well established the company is beginning to compete aggressively for the contract market, with products in hotels as diverse as Hilton, Ampersand and Mondrian. It is beginning to build a higher design profile for itself too, having signed an agreement with designer Kelly Hoppen for an innovative new design range of products that have been well received since their successful launch.

    Technical innovation is a driver too as the videos show, with the now familiar colour change electronic controls for taps, shower and baths adding ease of use and visual temperature indicators to products. Some of this is the result of clever electronics driven by the flow of water through the systems. Other units build on using controllers situated outside showers or even outside bathrooms with temperature readouts for users.

    Daniel Fountain / 09.02.2015

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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