The most private space in your home, the bathroom is the ultimate indulgence. For 67 years, New York-based Sherle Wagner has been doing up this intimate corner in the most opulent materials and ornate designs. Rooted in the classics, you’ll find faucets made in a soft rose quartz, green onyx or a deep amethyst and jasper at Sherle Wagner. With accessories like towel bars and hooks in gold and platinum finish or antique pewter or polished brass, the options for vanity are endless.
Last month, the third generation of Sherle Wagner and the current CEO, Evan Geoffroy, was in the country to launch their first store here—a boutique-style store at the Oberoi Towers, Mumbai—in collaboration with Akanksha Aggarwal of PRA Ventures, a real estate developer. Taking the legacy of his grandfather forward, Geoffroy is expanding the business carefully and selectively. We caught up with him when he visited Delhi and discussed the concept of luxury in the bath. Edited excerpts:
What potential did you see in India?
We’ve actually been working with many families in India for decades now. But we wanted to explore cultures and to present ourselves to the community here. There’s tremendous economic growth and cultural vibrancy here, so why not? While people may be familiar with the brand, it’s nice to have local representation and a local service support. We’re a family-run business and not a broad market brand. As of now we have a presence in Shanghai, Beijing, Moscow, across the US and Europe. We’re discerning about who we work with. As we continue to work with families, we also plan to work with designers and hotels here.
Gold and precious stones are quite inherent in the Indian context and Sherle Wagner has a tradition of using precious and semi-precious stones and metals. Did you see that aesthetic fit with India?
Yes, the design aesthetic has a lot in common. While we continue to be rooted in the classics, there is also a lot of contemporary design that we do. India also has a lot of appeal for that fine balance of modern style, clean lines, less intricate detail yet precious metal finishes and semi-precious stone insets. For instance, look at door hardware. I often refer to them as being similar to cufflinks. They don’t have to be over-embellished but still can be a very luxurious, design-driven accessory. Or look at our Arco collection. The faucets are very geometric, the collection has clean surfaces, but can also integrate brown onyx, tiger eye and malachite. As I look at the design magazines and architecture here, as I speak with people and find out about tastes here, I feel people are increasingly looking for something contemporary and eclectic but rooted in the classics.
What other trends do you observe in high-end bath design?
When it comes to trends in the home, they pretty much follow lifestyle and fashion. They follow the same cycle—classics, contemporary, modern, minimal, and then a return to the classics. Gold and gold finishes are really appealing right now. India may be a year or two behind global trends, so you may see many white finishes like nickel and chrome here right now, but gold will eventually come by.
I travel a lot and my inspirations come from seeing and experiencing different cultures, appreciation of design and aesthetic from countries like China, India, Europe. It’s very exciting to see how they all come together, mix and form a commonality.
What does luxury mean to you?
I think luxury is about lifestyle, and so is design. People want to have luxury that is beyond just a beautiful object. It is something they interface with, that’s a part of the way they live, it may allow them to take things a bit slower, perhaps spend more time appreciating details. It’s about integrating beauty and elegance into every element of one’s life.
You’re the third generation at Sherle Wagner. How have things changed over the years?
Technology has changed over the years. In terms of casting, finer detailing, the process of creation has undergone change. At the same time there’s the element of handwork that’s very important. In a lot of ways the artist creating a product with his skill and talent, is what makes something special and luxurious. That’s why we look to integrate technology in terms of improving our product without ever moving away from the old-world style of handcrafted.