Andy Ibach in the bar "L'Unique" in Basel's old town.
Sustainability - February 2023

Pipes and rock'n'roll with a cause

Geberit supports social projects in Nepal

Actually, Andy Ibach could sit back and relax. His sanitary company is doing well. His bar is running. His rock 'n' roll collection is being lent to galleries and museums. But that's not enough for Andy Ibach. With Geberit's support, he is now building toilets for schoolchildren in Nepal.

A cardboard box disappears into the empty belly of the truck, then another. Little by little, the container fills up. 130 cisterns, 285 metres of drainage pipes, 130 squat toilets, 36 toilets, hundreds of fittings, sleeves and various connecting elements are packed into cardboard boxes, stacked on top of each other on the loading area of the truck and made ready for the journey. Then the lock closes.

Two toilets for 500 children
It is no ordinary consignment that is being handled at the Geberit logistics centre in Pfullendorf on this wintry morning in January. After a long journey by ship from Bremerhaven to Visakhpatnam in India, the cardboard boxes with the blue “G“ will arrive in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, in March 2023. Then they will travel 600 kilometres to a school in the mountains near the village of Illam. 500 children attend this school every day. They have to share two toilets. “These are untenable conditions,“ says Andy Ibach, the initiator of this programme, shaking his head. He will be on site when the shipment arrives and build additional sanitary facilities. Geberit is donating the material.

Surrounded by rock and pop
“You have to pass on the knowledge for it to be effective,“ is his motto. That this is a way of life becomes clear at the latest when you enter Andy Ibach's rock bar and restaurant “L'Unique“ in Basel's old town. Here, in a converted 13th-century house, you are immersed in rock and pop history as soon as you enter. Many of the rock legends who are remembered here have long since passed away. Over almost 40 years, the 59-year-old has built up Europe's largest collection of rock art and rock memorabilia. There he sits, in this “House of Rock“, known beyond Basel, and talks about his next project. About Nepal.

“You have to pass on the knowledge for it to be effective.”
Andy Ibach, sanitary entrepreneur and founder of the "L'Unique" Foundation

Ringo Starr for L'Unique
It is not the first time that Andy Ibach has renovated sanitary facilities in Nepalese schools with Geberit's support - or even built new ones. Today, about 500 children can not only access a hygienic toilet in the schools, but also wash their hands or even take a shower.

For his charitable commitment, Andy Ibach uses the income from the sale of the collector's items and from loans of the collection to museums and galleries. In 2018, he transferred his collection to the “L'Unique Foundation“, a foundation with a clear purpose: “Water for Nepal“. He even inspired ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, whose image serves as the foundation's logo. Ringo Starr now wears the T-shirt with his own likeness and the words “L'Unique“ on stage at his concerts. Andy Ibach's passion for “Rock 'N' Roll with a Cause“ is simply infectious.

Andy Ibach in front of a photograph of Frank Zappa.
In his collection, the famous photograph of Frank Zappa on the toilet could not be missing (in the background). Andy Ibach received it signed by the photographer Robert Davison. (Photo: Ben Huggler)