How Will We Improve The Design Of Our Future Bathrooms?
Hygiene has always been paramount for home design. But with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis, we're also thinking ahead on how we can simultaneously reduce our water consumption, enhance the design of our bathrooms while improving the overall cleanliness of our abodes.
(Related: 6 Inspiring Ways To Design Your Bathroom)
“The modern consumer requires products that balance hygiene and convenience with style and technology,” says Paul Flowers, chief design officer at Lixil Group, a Japanese housing and water products manufacturer that owns brands such as American Standard and Grohe.
According to Flowers, more consumers are concerned with the performance of their bathroom products with regard to water consumption and eco-friendliness. This has resulted in new developments such as efficient showers that distribute water evenly at low pressure, and smart water controls that allow users to intuitively and precisely control water, as well as pause their water supply when shampooing.
To increase efficiency in product maintenance, Grohe has developed digital solutions such as Grohe Sense Guard, a first-of-its-kind water sensor that helps prevent leaks and will immediately shut off the household’s water supply when it detects a burst pipe or flooded basement. “This sensor also helps the consumer track water usage and optimises the way water is used, all through the functions of a smartphone,” says Flowers.
Another water-efficient product currently available on the market is Toto’s Tornado Flush. Paired with a rimless toilet bowl, the Tornado Flush uses less water than regular toilet bowls, yet circulates a whirlpool of water that thoroughly cleans every inch of the bowl with a downward pull that prevents spray mist from pluming outwards.
Innovations aimed at improving hygiene are also on the rise. From American Standard comes the Genie Hand Shower, which features a transparent showerhead that enables users to easily see when it is dirty and needs cleaning. The brand also offers Aqua Ceramic, a super-hydrophilic technology that prevents dirt and stains from sticking to ceramic surfaces, and ComfortClean, a revolutionary ceramic glaze of zinc oxide that kills bacteria in the toilet bowl.
(Related: Here's A Smarter Way To Design Your Dream Bathroom)
“With ageing societies becoming a social phenomenon globally, bathrooms will become more user-centric and accommodate all ages, including the elderly, as it becomes more common for different generations to stay together, especially in Asia,” says Sandra Brand, marketing manager at Hansgrohe Singapore.
One product line that can make the bathroom safer for the elderly is Hansgrohe’s Unica Comfort shower bars, which double as sturdy grip handles to prevent the user from slipping on wet floors. It also features an additional hand shower holder at the lower end of the bar, which can be accessed even by users who are seated. This collection also includes a safe footrest covered with non-slip plastic.
(Related: 5 Must-Have Men's Grooming Essentials To Keep In The Bathroom)
“Safety is becoming a priority, so homeowners and designers are looking more at non-slippery tiles, bathroom furniture with soft, rounded corners, and glass-screen-free shower and bathtubs with safety handles. Surface materials such as Toto’s Cefiontect nanotechnology ceramic glaze, which prevents the build-up of mould, limescale and waste matter, are also becoming more popular,” says Clifton Leung, the founder of Hong Kong-based practice Clifton Leung Design Workshop.
The designer observes that more homeowners are keen to integrate the bathroom design with the look of the bedroom. “The colours and materials used in the bathroom have to blend in with the bedroom design,” he says. Semi-open bathrooms—like those seen in hotel suites—are becoming more popular, as homeowners hope to incorporate luxurious elements of the hotel experience in their abodes.
(Related: Home Tour: This Romantic Open-Plan Apartment Makes A Dream Home For Two)