Overall, the look is more streamlined, not just visually, but for ease of maintenance and minimal clutter.
The manufacturers of products and materials for the bath have certainly given us much to choose from, moving away from the “same-old, same-old” products of old. In terms of luxury bath materials and finishes, the trend toward rich textures and patterns from glass to stone to quartz seems to be one way that the smaller bath is made into the jewel it becomes. Another example is the way LED technology is transforming how light can be integrated into the space, from lighted tiles to direct those night-time trips to the bathroom to vanity mirrors with lighting embedded to eliminate shadows and glare.
In the vanity area, the materials being used to make lavatories have expanded in fantastic ways – glass, metals, cast stone and concrete can all provide unique forms for sinks. This explosion of materials has spread to the counters as well, with one strong statement coming from translucent quartz and glass surfaces that support indirect lighting, made easier with the growing variety of LED options.
Sensor faucets speak to reduced water use and convenience, and they are also enhanced with LED lighting to indicate temperature. Up to the vanity or medicine cabinetry available, the incorporation of lighting and technology allows for everything from night-lighting to integral television and communications, and vanity lighting is dramatically improved in terms of eliminating glare.
In the shower, integral support systems that enhance health and aesthetics, larger capacity steam generators, the addition of aromatherapy and chromatherapy, and the addition of sound technology make the new luxury shower a real retreat. In response to consumer demand, there are a number of ways technology is improving the shower experience, from thermostatic valve design to programmable pre-sets for different members of the family. The real story seems to be in bathtub design – tubs with integral support and even sliding doors to support health and healing, new designs for air and water treatments in the tub, lighting, sound and scents to again enhance the wellness experience.
And how long has it been since you updated your understanding of toilets? Today’s options include dovers that rise when you approach, warmed seats and feet, integrated bidet systems, night-lighting, and not just music, but your own music. While they all sound glamorous, they can truly respond to health and hygiene needs.
With client demand for value for every dollar spent, these concepts and products can help to create not just luxury but a strong step towards the health and wellness that we are all aspiring to – providing an opportunity for us as bath designers.