A bathroom is no longer simply a bathroom – it is a statement. Usually adorned with the best finishes available, the modern bathroom is a multifunctional extension of not only the home, but also of the office, the shopping centre and the hotel. Leading Architecture & Design speaks to both designers and bathroom ware manufacturers to find out the path of bathroom design.
Q How are modern bathrooms balanced to ensure easy maintenance and sustainability, yet at the same time be attractive, and sometimes feature over-the-top accessories?
Prisca Mashanda, Cobra: The current bathroom is aesthetic, spacious, more colourful and often forms part of the bedroom. There is a trend towards freestanding baths placed in the middle of the room as well as basins that are either over the counter, under slung, partially recessed, pedestal or hung on the (easier to get to for maintenance).
Cobra baths are coated with amanzonite which keeps the water in the tub hotter for longer. The movement towards ‘green’ has also prompted Cobra to engineer products which are water and energy efficient, i.e. electronic taps and single levers fitted with cartridges which help control the flow and temperature of single lever mixers,. Cobra also offers a number of water saving shower roses, flush valves, metering and demand taps.
Over-the-top accessories could be considered as an aspiration luxury, such as large showers – Cobra’s Vivianto ‘rain’ shower with a chromo therapy effect.
Sinovuyo Dumalisile, Hansgrohe: The products that you use in the bathroom should have a classic contemporary look that have a timeless design that won’t date. Also go for minimalism as it is easier to maintain. The Axor Massaud range from Hansgrohe by French designer, Jean-Marie Massaud, is nature inspired, lending itself to a sustainable design. Axor Massaud harmoniously links organic and geometrical shapes, natural aesthetics and modern design.
Frida Tugnoli, Italtile: Easy maintenance and sustainability are the new ‘buzz’ words in the market and top tiles and bathroom manufacturers have addressed both issues. Italtile’s main tile suppliers (Sant’agostino, Castelvetro, Impronta, Dolcevita, to mention a few) pay special attention to the environment.
Italtile’s range consists mostly of high quality glazed porcelain tiles, which are easy to install and require zero maintenance. The same applies to Italtile’s European sanitary ware, baths, taps and accessories suppliers (Laufen, GSG, Zucchetti, KOS, Hansgrohe and Valli), who are at the forefront of water-saving technology, and whose industrial processes are efficient, thorough and controlled to safeguard the environment.
Lionel Schultz, Kwikot: Although the plumbing might not contribute much to the aesthetics of a bathroom, a quality-ensured Kwikot geyser and other plumbing parts, play a major part in making the bathing or showering experience an invigorating and more rewarding experience.
In order to ensure this enjoyment, it is important that, because most hot water used by families is in the bathrooms, the geyser is installed as closely to these rooms as possible. This will prevent waiting for hot water to reach the bathroom/s and result in water and electricity savings. It is also important to note that when running a bath, it is best to adjust the water by means of the hot and cold taps on the bath mixer, rather than run hot water first then add cold water, or visa versa. In this manner one can control the amount of water to be used preventing water wastage.
Craig Irvine, Tile Africa: There are a number of different styles currently being incorporated into the modern bathroom – one style is the eco-friendly look, which utilises natural stone, wood or bamboo wall hung bathroom vanities for easy access and maintenance and tiles with warm earthy tones of browns, beiges and creams, which will remain fashionable for some time to come. Another trend is the minimalist style with stark, basic furniture and large, plain format tiles. This look sometimes utilises metal or glass mosaics as features for showers or accent walls.
Drikus Willemse, Water Comfort: Sanitary ware manufacturers today make use of internationally renowned designers and companies such as Philippe Starck, Sieger Design and Phoenix Design, who are not just designers, but also innovators. Manufactures such as Duravit make use of age old sanitary ware ceramic that is environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Q In your opinion, is the modern bathroom following a ‘less is more’ or a ‘more is more’ trend?
Cobra: Less is more. The fittings have become more minimalist in appearance and a tendency to go for single lever mixers and designer labels is making inroads. There is also a move towards concealing plumbing connections and a focus on practicality, hygiene and water saving. Modern bathrooms have simple yet bold lines and white and more white.
Hansgrohe: A less is more trend id being followed with clean lines and no clutter. A range from Hansgrohe which creates a clean, less is more feel is the Pura Vida range. Its design has no aggressive corners or sharp edges, conveying purity and lightness.
Italtile: We believe there are currently two trends: less is more in terms of quantity, but more is more in terms of quality and style. Modern bathrooms might be larger in size, but the space is not filled up at any cost – it is often left empty to ‘enjoy’. When it comes to the products’ selection, our customers are concerned with features like design, durability, easy maintenance and the respect of the environment.
Tile Africa: Modern bathrooms are definitely following a less is more look with modern and minimalist finishes for an uncomplicated and uncluttered look.
Water Comfort: Less is more. Living spaces are getting smaller and bathrooms are becoming part of the main living areas. Toilets and basins are becoming functional art.
Q What are the latest materials that are being incorporated into bathrooms by interior designers?
Cobra: It has changed from very colourful, went through a phase of avocado green, dusty pink, champagne, blue, brown, rustic red and then went more pastel shades, such as blue, pink and green has now moved to one colour, which is white. High quality arctic white. PVD black and white matt taps and mixers are making inroads – more in the luxurious designs. There has also been a movement towards stainless steel basins and toilets which were initially used in prisons. The stainless steel sanware is now being used in luxury installations.
Hansgrohe: Natural materials which are sustainable and less harmful to the environment. The bathroom is becoming ‘green’.
Italtile: If we had to make a list of new products and materials that are being incorporated into bathrooms by interior designers, it would be very long. We think that a special mention is deserved for showers. Recently, new systems have been implemented for integrating and combining the main modular shower elements: with rain flow, or rain and blade flow or with music and light. A good example is the Palomba shower collection by Zucchetti, which for complete wellbeing and total relaxation, gives you the chance to listen to music and avail of the benefits of colour therapy. A non-invasive external keyboard lets you connect to MP3 players or to the radio to find the ideal soundtrack to start or end your day. The same keyboard also lets you set the shower lighting settings, choosing a single, continuous light or a series of alternating colours: red for a boost of energy, orange to cheer you up, yellow to cleanse yourself, green for a natural balance, blue to relax…
Kwikot: It is vital in the modern bathroom that there is balanced water pressure in the supply of water to the house i.e.: that the supply of hot and cold water to all taps is of equal pressure. This will ensure that if someone is taking a shower and someone else in the household flushes the toilet, the cold water supply to the shower will not drop and scald the person inside. To achieve balanced pressure on the hot and cold water supply, a Kwikot pressure control/reducing valve must be installed on the main water supply to the house from the water mains. The water supplying the geyser, and the water supplying the cold taps, will then all be of equal pressure. So if someone flushes the toilet whilst someone else is showering, the cold and hot water flow will drop equally, thus preventing an unexpected, unpleasant showering experience.
Kwikot offers a quality ensured and reliable range of robust pressure control valves including the Mono Valve; Mono Box Pressure Control Valve with Y-Strainer and Lever Ball Valve; Multi Valve; and Pro Clean Pressure Control Valve with Sediment Filter. These valves offer a myriad of features and are suitable for an endless range of applications within their ranges. All Kwikot valves have interchangeable replacement parts and come with a two-year warranty.
Tile Africa: Some of the materials being incorporated into modern bathrooms are lager format glazed and porcelain tiles, glass or metal mosaics as well as natural stone mosaics for feature cladding. Matching minimalist taps and accessories are very popular and bathroom furniture must be simplistic and functional.
Water Comfort: Back painted glass, which gives you more freedom with colours, patterns and sizes.
Cobra on 011-951-5000 or www.cobra.co.za
Hansgrohe 021-447-7144 or on HYPERLINK “http://www.hansgrohe.co.za/” www.hansgrohe.co.za
Italtile on 011-510-9050 or HYPERLINK “http://www.italtile.co.za/” www.italtile.co.za
Kwikot on 011-914-2300 or www.kwikot.co.za
Tile Africa on 011-970-2124 or HYPERLINK “http://www.tileafrica.co.za” www.tileafrica.co.za
Water Comfort on 011-887-4504 or www.watercomfort.co.za
Bathrooms1.jpg: Pic courtesy Cobra
Bathrooms2.jpg: Pic courtesy Hansgrohe
Bathrooms3.jpg: Pic courtesy Italtile
Bathrooms4.jpg: Pic courtesy Legno
Bathrooms5.jpg: Pic courtesy Tile Africa
Bathrooms6.jpg: Pic courtesy Tile Africa