INTERIORS

BATHROOMS OF THE FUTURE: WHY WELLNESS AND ECO CREDENTIALS COUNT

No matter your square meterage.

September 10, 2019

Creating an indulgent, restful bathing sanctuary is so much easier now, thanks to the introduction of mindfulness-focused baths and showers. Gone are the days when the bathroom was simply a space to get clean. Now it’s a place for rejuvenation and relaxation too. Wellness and mindfulness are increasingly being sought at home to balance out the stresses experienced in everyday life. Read more, ‘The 4 Big Bathroom Trends to Keep On Your Radar in 2019.’

Not everyone has the time to visit a spa, so bringing spa-like elements into your daily routine can really help.

Baths designed for two offer an opportunity for a stress-busting catch-up, and whereas sharing used to mean an uncomfortable squash and somebody stuck with the tap end, now extra-large tubs such as the architect designed ‘Forma’ bath by Inbani allow two people to soak side by side. Bette’s ‘BettePondSilhouette’ is a generous, round design that’s also big enough for two. Read more, ’15 Of The Most Brilliant Bathtubs You’ll Ever See.’

Japanese company Toto continues to innovate with its new ‘Recline Comfort’ bathtubs that are made from welcoming, soft-touch material Galalato, and whose interiors are ergonomically shaped to ease the body into a position for maximum relaxation. These follow the success of its award-winning ‘Flotation Tub’ which relieves pressure on joints by mimicking the weightlessness of an astronaut in space. Read more, ‘Bathroom Revived: Budget Edition.’

Also, key to the home spa experience are the latest shower innovations designed to help create a holistic space. 

Image via Elle Decoration UK

TECHNOLOGY:

Whether it’s a smart toilet, waterproof speaker or a mirror that can tell you the weather, bathrooms are getting tech-savvy. But the move towards all-sensing, all-convenient tech doesn’t require surrendering design credentials. 

Everywhere you look, from taps to dials and lighting, the bathroom is getting smarter.

As the whole house is becoming increasingly interconnected, the bathroom is no exception. Just about everything in the space can be connected to one of the main smart home ecosystems- Amazon Alexa, Google, and Apple. Smart heating company Tado can complete this 360-degree high-tech experience with its kits that bring underfloor systems online for app, voice and scene controls. 

Newly launched Japanese bran Inax’s sanitaryware and ceramics merge delicate, simple design with intelligent features. Its ‘S600 Line’ collection includes an intelligent shower system and antibacterial shower toilet- the Japanese, of course, being eons ahead in the all-singing, all-dancing toilet sector. Meanwhile, Kohler will soon launch a range of technological innovations, including the ‘Veil Lighted Bathroom Collection’, bringing connected lighting to its freestanding bath, mirror and vanity units, its Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled ‘Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror’, the ‘Numi 2.0 intelligent toilet- think personalised cleansing and drying, heaters and built-in speakers- and the ‘DTV+’ shower systems, with voice acitvated sound, water, steam and lighting settings. 

High- quality portable speakers have become popular over the past few years, and the waterproof models are the easiest way to safely introduce sound into your shower space. The IP67- rates ‘Wonderboom 2’ Bluetooth speaker by Ultimate Ears is the best sound you’ll get. It will also survive being fully submerged in your bath – up to a depth of one metre for 30 minutes- and it floats. 

Over the past five years, we’ve seen a number of innovative showerheads with built-in speakers, lights or controls for water flow.

Hansgrohe’s upcoming ‘RainTunes’ digital shower system ticks all of these boxes, with seven in-app scenarios tailored to suit your mood, combining choreographed water, acoustic soundscapes, fragrances, mood lighting and even a sequence of images played on a video screen, all of which can be controlled with your phone. 

VitrA has been concealing technology in every part of the bathroom suite for a while. It’s V-Care’ shower toilet has a heated seat, air purification, bidet, and drying functions, and the glass-fronted, touch-sensitive smart control panels optimise the flush cycle to use the minimum amount of water. Coming up next year is something even more ambitious. The VitrA smart mirror has a built-in phone-charging stand and proximity sensors. It looks like a simple mirror until someone stands in front of it, when it springs to life, offering voice-controlled assistants who can find music and check the weather. 

Image via Elle Decoration UK

ECO:

Green credentials are more important than ever in our homes, and all areas of the bathroom are developing a green outlook. Thoughtful, intelligent design is the hallmark of an eco-friendly bathroom – as is following the golden rules of reducing, reuse and recycle.

To create environments that cause minimal damage to the planet, the most effective solutions are a blend of hi-tech and lo-fi. 

Lavatories and showers that cap H2O are a boon as loo flushing currently accounts for a significant third of household water usage. A minimal-flush, the maximum-effect toilet is Crosswater’s ‘Wild Rimless WC’. ‘Harvesting rainwater and siphoning it from underground storage tanks for use in toilets and washing machines is an excellent way to create a closed-loop when it comes to resources,’ says architect Sean Hill of Rise Design Studio. Smart shower heads and taps- such as Grohe’s ‘EcoJoy’ water-saving system and ‘SmartControl thermostat’ are now designed to splash with precision, offering high-pressure but low-water usage. 

Sustainability is helped by imaginative upcycling – from recycled flooring fashioned from crushed glass, remixed porcelain terrazzo or reclaimed timber. Meanwhile, bathroom units are following a similar ethos- Tikamoon has a variety of washstands and cabinets made from recycled. Environmentally friendly bathroom paints are a non-toxic counter to urban pollutants, propagating fewer chemicals into the atmosphere. Changes to the way you live in the space can also contribute to a greener bathroom profile.

Silvon’s organic cotton towels are woven with pathogen-killing silver-coated threads to restrict bacterial growth and reduce the need for laundering. Single-use plastics are an issue, too- eschew bottled body and household products and go packaging-free with forward-thinking products such as the shampoo bars from Lush, which are made with natural ingredients such as honey, flowers, and fruits. 

What do we need next? Perhaps a Fitbit-style carbon-footprint analytics app to conflate our data on one dashboard, to incentivise and reward those who live a sustainable lifestyle, and make the future greener. 

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