As a new generation of architects, builders and homeowners emerges, so, too, does a new set of trends. Clean contemporary designs, natural sustainable attributes and ease of functionality are the earmarks for the latest crop of products making their way into the bath. This is especially true in bath faucets, which focus not only on water conservation, but on water delivery systems that mirror the flow of water in nature.
Likewise, bath sinks are showing cleaner lines, more organic forms and natural materials that tie into the trend toward sustainability.
Ziggy Kulig, CEO of Graff in Milwaukee, WI, sees a preference for bath sinks and faucets leaning toward contemporary designs, and believes this has to do with the green movement being spearheaded by the younger generation.
“The up-and-coming generation of homeowners wants to simplify their lives and their surroundings, and they stay away from overproduced products that don’t have a good story and a purpose,” he explains.
Farshad Tafazzoli, founder and president of Zoli in Boca Raton, FL also confirms growth in contemporary styles for the bath. “Globalization and travel are exposing Americans to nontraditional designs,” he says. “The younger the target audience, the less likely they want what their parents had in the house.”
While transitional continues to be the largest seller due to its versatility, the greatest impact is coming from the growing penetration of contemporary style as a percentage of sales, according to Hal Weinstein, president of Xylem Group in Cumming, GA. “We are seeing some markets where this is now 20% of the market, where it used to be only 8% a few years ago. Younger buyers, the European influence and loft conversions are just some of the things that are driving the contemporary style.”
“There is a strong emphasis on spare, clean architectural design with a contemporary European look. European style brings the minimalism to many contemporary designs,” confirms Ed Detgen, v.p. of marketing for Danze in Woodridge, IL. “Geometric shapes, clean lines, simple design overall: The combination of those elements with some of the beautiful finishes can bring a striking look to a bathroom.”
While minimalist European style has a strong influence on products preferred by this next generation of homeowners and designers, the group is also drawn to a more natural look and feel with regard to these items.
“Our designers, both here and in Europe, draw inspiration from the natural and the built environment,” says Kulig. He cites Graff’s Luna collection as an example of a nature-inspired product, as its gentle curve is meant to emulate the sliver of the moon it’s named for.
Eden Bath also draws inspiration from nature for its bath sink designs. “Our sinks are very focused around organic shapes, and the materials used to create them are natural materials such as stone, wood and copper,” says Shawn Gusz, sales & marketing director for Eden Bath in Puslinch, ON, Canada.
Gray Uhl, director of design for American Standard in Piscataway, NJ agrees that a lot of today’s product design inspiration is coming from nature. “Home fashion is changing as more people take a closer look at all of the choices they make and the impact those choices have on the world around us,” he comments.
Drawing upon nature is a great way to bring a subdued, calmer, softer look or feeling to a room, according to Detgen. “Whether it’s through a warm finish, such as oil-rubbed bronze, or through a natural water flow through the spout, these are ways to subtly, but elegantly, impact the design of a room,” he states.
Making the Transition
While contemporary is seeing a lot of activity with regard to bath sink and faucet design, traditional remains strong as a perennial seller. However, transitional is still garnering the largest share of the market right now.