“Vessel sinks are becoming more popular because of the nature of their versatility,” Christina Yerep, marketing coordinator for JSG Oceana, stresses. “The glass sink is more of a work of art and a sink alternative than any trend.”
Muller offers: “[Vessels] continue to be a popular choice for copper lavatory sinks. Products like our recently introduced Maestro Mandala vessel – with its sleek design – tend to stimulate the interest in vessels among consumers.”
Moore is seeing more artistic interpretations of vessel sinks, particularly in shapes, as the traditional oval shape is being challenged by more eclectic configurations such as hexagonal and rectangular looks.
There is also a fair amount of competitive jostling with regard to faucet finishes being requested by consumers, manufacturers agree.
Chrome is still the most requested finish, but only slightly more than brushed nickel or nickel finishes, according to McClain.
“Over the past two years, [nickel] finishes have gained steady ground on chrome and, in the case of Hansgrohe, brushed nickel sales are now almost equal to chrome,” he comments.
DeGenova adds: “Chrome remains the number-one seller, with brushed nickel the leader in the ‘finishes’ category.
Meanwhile, oil rubbed bronze continues to remain a strong third.”
While McClain agrees that oil-rubbed bronze has remained strong from a demand standpoint, “we don’t see it making huge jumps in sales because it is more of a nice finish for traditional or eclectic bathrooms.”
Satin nickel and polished nickel are also popular finishes among consumers, according to Rohl. “However, our more traditional Tuscan Brass, English Bronze and the new Antico Brass finishes are very popular, as well,” he says.
Wurth is seeing a surge in rich, dark textured bronzes, such as distressed bronze. “We are also seeing a very large move toward authentic-looking bronzes with a matte finish, slightly distressed and oil rubbed,” he says.
DeGenova foresees shifts in faucet and fitting colors. “We’ve just introduced Velvet Black and Moon White finishes in our ‘sensual minimalism’ design category – the Grohe Ondus line.”
Material choices are also gaining attention in the bath, especially products that can be classified as environmentally responsible. Introducing “green-based” products, such as those that are manufactured using reclaimed and natural materials, can quickly differentiate a design, according to Moore.
Materials such as glass and cast iron are distinctive options, he remarks. “Cast iron, for instance, is a very durable material. Some 93% of cast iron is recycled or reclaimed material, and you can do dimensional colors with it,” Moore remarks.
Kohler has introduced a range of dimensional colors, including Sea Salt, Cane Sugar and Frost. “You can mix the materials and finishes to create cool environments,” he adds.
“The reusing of materials, such as crushed glass or porcelain, or incorporating natural elements in lavatories, is a burgeoning trend that will gain momentum as green design comes to the forefront,” comments Campos.
“Our customers are more aware and asking more questions regarding green products, and we are pleased that we can provide them with glass that is lead-free,” adds Yerep. “We are contributing to the green trend everyday by recycling our glass.”
Notes Jason Chen of Ronbow Materials Corp. in Newark, CA, “At long last, the use of natural material is more important to the consumer than ever, which is why we choose to use earthenware, such as vitreous china and glass [for our products].”
At first glance, technology and water conservation may seem at odds, but many of the manufacturers agree that there is common ground to be found.
“Meaningful use of technology may assist end users in providing more precise control over volume and spray patterns. Technology may also enable users to more readily conserve water and modify their behavior regarding water use,” explains Wurth.
To that end, McClain notes that by late summer, 95 percent of Hansgrohe’s faucets will be equipped with a 1.5 GPM aerator. “Today, the standard is 2.2. gallons per minute, but we know that our 1.5 gpm aerators don’t affect performance.