Elia Vismara, CEO of Vismaravetro: “Sustainability means a long-lasting product”
Vismaravetro is a company with over 70 years of history in the production of glass shower enclosures. Thanks to the in-house glass factory, the company has total control over production, delivery times and manufacturing processes. We have talked with Elia Vismara, CEO of the company, about sustainability and production efficiency.
After a difficult year and a half like the one we are leaving behind, how do you imagine the future of your company? Have there been any changes in production? Has the pandemic inspired new kinds of products?
“In general, the lockdown period due to the pandemic was challenging and required a lot of attention to keep a balance between responsibility and scenario. However, I would say that we, as a company, have always faced the moment with lucidity, trying to imagine and do anything possible to support our customers, to maintain a reassuring attitude towards our employees and to confirm the investments in progress.
In general, the pandemic does not affect a product such as a shower cubicle or shower enclosure, as these products have already very high hygiene and health requirements. The various measures to facilitate cleaning and special treatments for glass surfaces were already part of our products. Moreover, constant design research is part of Vismaravetro’s DNA, so, during the pandemic, we created Vis à Vis, a protective glass barrier: a simple system, with self-supporting modules, made with our favorite materials – glass and metal – perfect to create protected areas in workplaces, stores, pharmacies.
New ideas come from difficult moments
Going back to the bathroom, over these months, we have been studying some special treatments to increase the water repellency of aluminum surfaces, which can further facilitate the cleaning of surfaces and hygiene, even in the most hidden corners. I would also add that we have never stopped looking ahead to the future with confidence; we have also questioned ourselves on our possible weaknesses in order to envisage possible solutions. I am sure that the innovations that are coming up owe a lot to the pandemic period, which has been difficult to deal with but has inspired us to develop new ideas. Using online platforms for meetings and quick calls with our contacts in the various European countries are now part of our routine, but seeing each other in person is always better.”
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Glass and aluminum: sustainable materials for durable products
Glass and aluminum, the materials that make up most of your products, are sustainable yet very energy intensive materials. Are there any aspects of the production cycle you can work on to make production more sustainable?
“Actually, glass is one of the most sustainable materials we have. It is completely natural and infinitely recyclable. Aluminum is also virtually infinitely recyclable. It is true that both require a lot of energy for production and recycling, but it is also true that the quality of Vismaravetro products makes them extremely durable. And I think that this is a key factor in sustainability: the sustainability of a product also depends on its durability. A Vismaravetro product, thanks to its high quality, lasts many years, so it becomes very sustainable.
As for packaging, which is another problem in terms of environmental impact, we have done a lot of work and now we are even able to package glass using only cardboard. We have developed a system of protections for corners and edges using only cardboard, which is a great advantage for the environment, thanks to the elimination of polyurethane foam and other protective plastics.
In general, everything in the company is carefully organized to minimize its impact on the environment: from the production processes to the materials, from atmospheric emissions to the buildings, from water discharges to waste management, up to the EPD declaration, a voluntary certified declaration that provides specific data on the environmental impact of the product, in accordance with international standards.”
Vismaravetro: automated management for better organization
What other improvements have you made to production efficiency?
“In the last two years, we have invested much in the warehouse. Consider that we are in Verano Brianza, in the heart of the ‘district with the highest rate of creativity in the world,’ but probably also one of the most densely populated areas in Europe. So, finding spaces to expand your business is not easy; you have to invent alternative solutions. And that’s what we did. The new completely automated warehouse is developed vertically, in a parallelepiped that is 45 m long, 17 m high, 6 m deep. Automation makes it extremely efficient, and today we are able to store 3,300 finished and packed products ready for shipment in that warehouse. This organization, besides allowing us to reduce delivery times by about a day, has allowed us to free up a lot of space in the plant, which we have allocated to other functions.”
Discover shower cabins and shower enclosures by Vismaravetro
The vertical warehouse has allowed you to practice for the Supersalone in September, where one of the exhibition modes will be precisely vertical. Will you participate?
“We are really happy to participate in the special edition of the Salone del Mobile. As President of Assobagno, I had the opportunity to see the project for the Supersalone coming to life and we are gearing up to participate in the best way possible. Nevertheless, it is clear that there will be many difficulties, such as the very tight schedule and unusual exhibition methods. However, I like to think that we will be able to build something beautiful also this time and, even more so, I hope that our creative idea will be able to convey the value of the brand.”
September and the Supersalone
Are you going to launch any new products at Supersalone 2021?
“At present we cannot say when we will introduce any of the new products we are working on. In markets where the shower enclosure is still at the stage of pure functionality, we can perhaps introduce new products with some ease, but in mature markets such as Europe, where Vismaravetro has been well established for years, it is not so easy. However, our evolution is also very much based on listening and on the ability to detect new design needs and new desires. With the Suite collection, for example, Vismaravetro identified a new niche in the market: the shower enclosure that also becomes a partition and qualifies the bathroom as part of personalized projects. And the Suite collection is doing very well now.
Discover everything about the Supersalone, September 2021
Suite has received a positive confirmation: a system designed for the contract segment that is a success also in the residential sector, with many requests for the most innovative and contemporary projects. Probably Suite sums up the company’s ability to think, design and produce with the customer in mind. In addition to many off-the-shelf shower enclosures, Vismaravetro offers an incredible level of customization for bespoke projects, characterized by long-lasting quality.”