Brodey adds that collections with products developed using sustainable materials in a variety of designs and finishes will be important in keeping up with consumer demand, and in line with the evolving “green” movement.
Consumer demand is so great now that Fishman says the use of recyclable materials is getting him jobs. “I’ve been told that ‘all things being equal’ our products, being made of recyclable stainless steel, were the deciding factor in getting chosen for some projects.”
Toto’s market research backs this fact. “Socially sustainable design [the confluence of green and Universal designs] is gaining dominance,” says Campos. “There is heightened interest from homeowners in materials that are recycled and easily renewed, and that offer a low carbon footprint.”
With more people thinking about conserving energy, environmentally friendly products such as towel warmers, which keep towels warm and dry, cutting the need for constant washing and drying, are growing in popularity.
An Age Old Problem
With the Baby Boomer generation remaining active in the marketplace, the idea of “aging with dignity” has become increasingly important. The preference is not to visibly make concessions to getting older with specialized fixtures and settings; it has become more of an integrated approach to create beautiful spaces that still work as the client continues to age. “Whether it’s decorative grab bars in designs and finishes that coordinate to other accessories and fixtures in the bathroom, or adjusting heights of sinks and showers to accommodate new needs, designers are adjusting as their client base generates a new set of needs and wants,” says Parrish.
Manufacturers have realized that product design and technologies need to serve the broadest range of people. “Products that are safe, stylish and non-institutional are popular with an older population, and it is important for the bathroom hardware and accessories manufacturer to keep this relevant market in mind,” declares Brodey.
Another “Aging in Place” adjustment comes in innovative storage within the cabinets such as pull-out organizers, hampers and waste bins, according to Shari McPeek, marketing manager, Rev-A-Shelf in Louisville, KY. “This not only frees up floor space for walkers, wheelchairs, etc., it creates a clean ‘spa like’ and more spacious room,” she concludes.