Commonly the smallest rooms in homes with space at a premium, bathrooms are about to get an upgrade — as multipurpose, brightly-coloured and life-affirming spaces at the forefront of lifest le trends.
A preview of ISH Frankfurt (11-15 March 2019) reveals that colour will assert itself next year – with tiles, bathroom furniture, washbasins and bathtubs all embracing the trend. A special ‘Pop up my Bathroom', organised by Messe Frankfurt, will showcase the possibilities of colour in tandem with state-of-theart design features. Previously, strong colours only appeared on waterproof wall coverings while sanitary fittings remained white. Some might say this is a throwback to the shiny bathrooms of the 1980s or the avocado shades of an earlier decade, yet the implementation of the colour remains quite different.
The preference for blue or green palettes brings Nordic freshness and also resonates with an increased environmental awareness, as well as symbolising the health-giving aspects of the bathroom. Antonio Lupi's Reflex tub is available in ten colours, made more spectacular by the transparency of the tub and its curved lines. A deliberate design decision was made to use Cristalmood resin, which gives lightness and solidity, yet allows the user to observe the flow of water. Arlex Italia, meanwhile, has chosen Tiffany Blue as its predominant shade – a symbolic choice emphasising the growing luxuriousness of bathrooms – matching it with white, wood or grey flooring and wall tiles. The brand's Trenta5 collection is defined by linear shapes and paired with unusual sizes for accessories. Another ethereal iteration, by Ceramica Cielo, is enhanced by the oval shapes and innovative materials used in the Kyros washbasins, spelling practical elegance. "It's about a holistic approach to colour concepts in the bathroom," says Jens J Wischmann, General Manager of the Association of German Sanitation Industry, who predicts that bathroom furniture-makers will be the design pioneers of the future.
"Clients are moving away from the monochrome and bleached timber look that has dominated the last few years. Colour is a way for people to express themselves," says Graeme Martinow of Boundary Space in London. "There has been a move away from seeing a bathroom as just a utilitarian 'living' machine, to a place of luxury and peace. Bathrooms are becoming closer to boudoirs, with clients wanting the space to be to the same pretty standard as their beauty products."
Increasingly, that means visual impact is created via zonal and ambient light sources, complemented by touch technology – such as the lneo Scop flush plate by Sanit or epitomised by Jaquar Group's smart approach to water flow, volume and usage. While a complete ‘spa' experience is still a muchdesired factor in bathroom design, lifestyle elements are to the fore.
Open and closed storage is complemented with wall-hung and free-standing units which are increasingly planned with the same ‘mix and match' approach as living room areas, complete with boho rugs and armchairs for added comfort.
More masculine but no less inspiring are Diesel's and Duka's finishings for Libero, which show a preference for iron, wood, exposed brickwork, pipes and industrial details, creating spaces with strong character, and well-suited to every room in the house.
Black is also asserting itself and is being used either on its own or combined with materials such as marble, brass and crystal. A dramatic example is Studio Arius’s Lumiere gloss lacquered wood cabinet with glass top, which comes with a LED lighting system. This illuminates a lead crystal basin (in Cristallo de Medici) which is mouth-blown and hand-bevelled, and, thanks to the interplay of lights, commands attention and has a profound visual beauty.
Bolder and brighter, and blurring the lines between privacy and prettiness, the new upscale fittings and features will have visitors to bathrooms loitering with intent in the future…
Plisse collection by Artelinea
Kyros by Andrea Parisio and Giuseppe Pezzano for Ceramica Cielo
Diesel Open Workshop bathroom by Scavolini
Lumiere by Glass Design
Linea tap by Artize