Lasse Nielsen and his battle against round water heaters
In 1981, Lasse Nielsen lived in Geneva (Switzerland), where he studied engineering applied to construction. As a final year project, he designed a central heating system for a residential building that earned him the maximum course grade. However, very few years later he was commissioned to design a heating and domestic hot water system for an old building in downtown Berne, which was to be converted into apartments. He then remembered his project, which, however, he could not put intoeffect because the client required an individual hot water system.
For Lasse Nielsen, the cheapest and simplest hot water solution consisted of installing electric water heaters in each apartment. The problem that then arose would accompany him in his subsequent years as a designer of systems for the top architectural firms in Central Europe. Water heaters were bulky appliances, huge and very unaesthetic cylinders that customers wished to hide. Architects and designers, as well as the residents of urban households would try to find the most inconvenient places to accommodate water heaters: a false ceiling, a built-in cupboard or stairwell, –most of the time breaching the most essential maintenance rules that any manufacturer would recommended–, with no room to operate or repair the appliance or to be able to check the dripping that the safety valve usually produces.
Lasse Nielsen then designed a flat electric heater with two cylindrical tanks. He felt that this solution could only offer advantages:
- It greatly improved the heating time, due to the tanks being smaller.
- It was a more attractive electric heater and no longer cluttered spaces.
- It solved many pressure-related problems due to the tanks being half the size and having to withstand less pressure per square centimeter.
This idea was not completely new. Manufacturers and plumbing suppliers from various places around the world had been applying it, but they had not obtained the support of a major manufacturer. Thus began the initiative of a small brand, WESEN, which started producing appliances that were, initially, designed for the needs of each apartment building and which finally launched into mass production of various series of the most attractive and functional water heaters in the market.