This startup want to completely reinvent the toilet and bring some style and glamour to the most criminally overlooked room in the house.
Parisian company Trone work in an industry that is, to say the least, modest: toilets. Yet their goals within that industry are anything but. In fact their goals are no less than, for the first time since the modern latrine’s invention in 1775, to reinvent the entire toilet experience. Something they make clear in their very direct brand manifesto. ‘I want to make the toilet bowl desirable again,’ says co-founder Hugo Volpei. The company’s team are rethinking everything: the materials used, the ergonomy, functionality, hygiene, comfort, aesthetic. And, beyond the bowl itself, even the space and environment around it.
There are the more prosaic aspects to reinvention. Experimenting with materials to improve cleanliness, scents to remove smells, even researching and developing ways to eliminate certain uncomfortable sounds. But then there are the more artistic. With Trone you can relieve yourself in a disco, a Swiss chalet, a neon dreamscape, or even the inside of a vagina, in unique, eccentric and bespoke spaces. These may well be the most instagrammable toilets we’ve ever seen, full of colour and curated to produce beautiful pictures. But, reflecting the Parisian connection, the design and branding are both striking and chic, modern and classic.
As an object, the everyday toilet is something one tries not to think about, to hide away both in the back of the mind and the smallest room in the house. A Trone toilet, on the other hand, presents itself as a symbol of luxury and refined taste. Sleek branding, being 100% made in France by top-notch artisans, a price-tag starting at €2,000, and a partnership with the trendy Parisian restaurant group Big Mamma all work to establish and reinforce this chic positioning. In essence they are changing the frame of reference from ‘overlooked commodity’ to a ‘signature interior design/decorative element.’
This savvy positioning stands Trone toilets apart from the traditional and conservative handful of toilet companies that have dominated the french toilet industry basically since 1775. It almost places them in a market of their own. And, as the future success of Trone is likely to be reliant upon their ability to stand out (at least as much as their ability to innovate in functionality), in a market of their own seems a very good place to be.