TREND-MONITOR went bathroom trend-spotting at ISH 2017, which was held at the Frankfurt Exhibition Centre between 12th and 16th March 2017
ISH Frankfurt is the world’s largest showcase for innovative bathroom design, energy energy efficient heating and air-conditioning technology and renewable energies. Over 2,400 international exhibitors, including all market leaders, launched their latest products, innovations and technologies onto the world market at ISH, which has been running for over 50 years.
Here’s our top eight bathroom trends from the exhibition …
Bathroom Trend #1: Ageless Design
As multi-generational households become more common, bathroom products need to become more accessible and manufacturers are already responding with a range of products to suit all ages and levels of mobility.
Take a look at Duravit’s Shower + Bath, which features a glass door that transforms the fitted bathtub into an accessible shower. The door opens inwards and tucks neatly away under a waterproof seat, which doubles as extra shelf space. A safety lock guarantees that the door cannot be accidentally opened when the bath is full of water.
VitrA has come up with a whole collection aimed at increasing accessibility. Highlights include multi-functional grab bars, a tap that’s easy to turn on and off, and a mobile storage unit with lockable wheels and a waterproof top so you can safely wash yourself while seated.
And that’s not all. Manufacturers are also building on the trend for multi-jet showers and looking for ways to simplify controls. A real standout is Hansgrohe’s Axor Select thermostat module, which features generously proportioned buttons so that you can easily switch between jet types and showerheads.
Bathroom Trend #2: Small-Space Living
As homes shrink, designers are having to think smarter about space without compromising on style. Cue British bathing brand Victoria + Albert Baths, which collaborated with Conran + Partners to create Eldon, a contemporary back-to-wall design that has the aesthetic of a freestanding bath, but which can easily fit into compact spaces.
“We kept the overall form intentionally very simple, wrapping a crisp edge around the bath and back to the wall, creating a natural shelf where hardware could be deck mounted,” says Tim Rundle, design director and industrial designer at Conran + Partners. “We also created a space underneath the bath without resorting to using a plinth, allowing the Eldon to be retrofitted without disturbing existing flooring,” he continues.
VitrA is also taking a serious look at small-space living. Its Hideaway shower panel is designed to fold away when not in use to free up extra space in the bathroom. Made of reflective mirror, Hideaway can also be used as a full-length mirror.
Bathroom Trend #3: Living Bathrooms
Now that the bathroom is recognised as a living space in its own right, designers are exploring how they can soften its utilitarian feel. For German manufacturer Bette, this means upholstering a titanium steel freestanding bath in a specially developed woven fabric by JAB Anstoetz.
Burgbad is challenging expectations by working leather into its Scandi-inspired Mya collection. Leather forms the base of the 1500mm-high freestanding towel rack, covers the cushions on the bench and turns up again in the form of a utensils organiser on the full-length mirror and clothes rail.
These furniture-inspired bathroom products – made out of materials once reserved for living spaces – tell us that designated spaces in the home are becoming obsolete. The living room is no longer the only place to relax; the kitchen is so much more than somewhere to cook – and the bathroom is no exception.
Bathroom Trend #4: Next Generation Materials
Hi-tech materials are also finding a place in the bathroom. The Sonar collection by Spanish designer Patricia Uquiola, for example, is made from SaphirKeramik. Thanks to this new material developed by Laufen, the sides of a basin or bath can be wafer-thin yet super strong.
Villeroy & Boch’s TitanCeram is also worthy of a mention. As with SaphirKeramik, it allows for exceptionally thin walls that result in a pure and delicate aesthetic.
Bathroom Trend #5: Talking Textures
Already big news in bathroom tiles, embossed 3D finishes are now lending a tactile look to larger elements of the bathroom. The exterior of Bette’s freestanding BetteLoft Ornament bath springs to mind, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with glazed titanium steel with its striking embossed geometric pattern.
Meanwhile, Gessi has used texture to evolve the industrial trend. Think brushed metal finishes engraved with refined patterns that bring texture to brassware.
Bathroom Trend #6: Customise with Colour
The popularity of muted tones suggests that colour is now a hallmark of the modern bathroom.
Countertop basins from Duravit’s dashing Luv collection come in satin matt white, grey or sand. Designer Cecilie Manz’s has added a splash of colour to her console tables too. In addition to whites, the palette comprises taupe, stone grey, light blue or night blue.
Kaldewei believes that colour plays a crucial role in creating what it describes as a “harmonious atmosphere” in the bathroom. All of its washbasins, along with its shower trays and selected bathtubs, are now available in the matt shades from its Coordinated Colours collection.Think earthy brown, soothing grey, soft cream and elegant black.
Bathroom Trend #7: Get Connected
It’s not yet clear whether digitally enabled solutions will become mainstream in the bathroom. However, there is strong evidence that smart devices which can create a sense of security or safety for the homeowner are leading the smart home market and this is what makes the Grohe Sense and the Grohe Sense Guard so interesting.
Grohe Sense is a smart water sensor that monitors humidity, detects leaks and alerts homeowners instantly if there’s a problem. Grohe Sense Guard is installed in the main water pipe and can switch off the water supply if there’s a pipe burst. Both use smart technology so they can be monitored and controlled with an app.
“Mains-related water damage is the most frequent damage in the house,” explains Michael Rauterkus, Grohe’s CEO. “When water damage occurs, you want things fixed right away, but it can take weeks if not months before everything is repaired. Therefore, prevention is the best remedy. That’s why we developed the Grohe Sense water security system.”
Bathroom Trend #8: How Smart is your WC?
In the UK, shower toilets are yet to take off in a big way. Perhaps it’s because bathrooms are generally snug, and until relatively recently, the average shower toilet was on the bulky side.
All that’s about to change with the latest crop of designs, which are defined by clean lines and pared-down proportions more in line with regular toilets. Villeroy & Boch’s ViClean-I 100 is a case in point, featuring several shower functions that can be operated by remote control or a smartphone app. The technology has been hidden out of sight, resulting in a minimalist aesthetic.
Grohe was of similar thinking with its Sensia Arena shower toilet. This not only provides the hygiene functions you’d expect but also adds a touch of style to the bathroom through its streamlined shape and elegant design.