Luxurious materials, metallic finishes and updated traditional designs characterise current trends in faucets and other bath fixtures

By Aruna Rathod

The discerning consumer with specific demands is driving new trends in bath faucets and fixtures, and market leaders are combining the aesthetic ‘bling’ of contemporary, streamlined shapes with a wide range of finishes and colours to give them the best. Great design is form and function which is in perfect harmony with the environment; and technology is the big driver of change, facilitating eco-friendly designs.
“As a brand, we recognise that luxury is communicated through details – attention to quality and design. It is our endeavour to bring the best to our consumers, and we constantly design and manufacture our products to the same high standards you’ve come to expect from Kohler,” says Salil Sadanandan, president Kohler K&B, South Asia, Middle East and Sub Saharan Africa, adding that ‘believing in better’ is the cornerstone of Kohler’s commitment to innovation, stewardship and the environment.
Beneath the modern visual attractors are a wide range of technologies focused on bringing time savings and convenience to the home owner. “With technologies aimed at saving water and energy, our shower systems complete every luxury wellness experience with an innovative and sensual bouquet of chromo and aroma therapy – making every shower a luxurious spa experience,” says Chirag Parekh, chairman & managing director, Sternhagen, adding that the other key category is the temperature-sensitive faucets that are made in Italy and designed to bring the art of light into our Indian bathrooms. “Our faucet collection being water efficient, automatically manages the precious natural resource of water responsibly,” points out Parekh.

Eco-friendly at the core
From water-efficient bathroom fixtures to water-conserving dual-flush toilets, bathrooms are increasingly being designed keeping eco-friendly features in mind. Going green in the bathroom not only helps the environment, but it also helps to save money. The bath space consumes the largest amount of water in every household.
Kohler products enable exceptional performance with significant reduction in water usage. The company’s range of specially designed water-saving wall-hung toilets can save users up to 83,760 litres of water per fixture per year. The range of low-flow faucets, showerheads and hand showers by Kohler deliver an impressive 30% saving in water compared to traditional products, without any compromise on the experience of showering itself. The Kohler Detent Technology (available in the Aleo, Aleo+, Kumin, etc, range of faucets) has an intermediate stop built into the faucet levers for a significant 50% saving on water consumption. The eco-friendly technology offers consumers the option to utilise the faucet in intermediate mode and full-flow modes.
GRAFF provides all its washbasin faucets with water-saving aerators. “The Solar collection aerator, for example, can reduce the water flow from 11 to 7 litres per minute, with a considerable energy and water saving,” says Emanuela Tavolini, director of Sales Europe, GRAFF, adding that the company is also compliant with the LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) green building rating system and this third-party certification program is a benchmark for the construction of energy-saving buildings.
Jaquar, with its reputation for superlative products, has long recognised the need for responsible luxury. Its products are equipped with flow restrictors, which allow taps and showers to save up to 80% of water without compromising on the flow. Additionally, the faucets have inbuilt technology that shuts off water flow as soon as you move your hands away from them, resulting in zero wastage of water. Their air showers have a built-in air mixer that mixes air and water in a manner that makes shower drops lighter but voluminous. This revolutionary technology helps Jaquar air showers save up to 30% of water without compromising on the showering experience. “To add to this, Jaquar’s eco-friendly, zero-wastage and pollution-free manufacturing plants promote a conscious and responsible usage of water,” says Sandeep Shukla, head of Marketing & Communications, Jaquar Group.
Today’s eco-conscious manufacturers are creating products that are high on sustainability and environment-friendly. “KEUCO’s entire product line, which is the best-in-class in terms of using lead-free brass in faucets and using water-saving aerators and chrome-plating, takes very less maintenance,” says Rahul Kher, founder & director, Zalur, adding that all LED light mirrors and mirror cabinets carry an energy saving rating of A++, which delivers significant saving on power consumption over the lifespan of the product. “With head showers and hand showers backed with ECOAIR, BOOSTER technology, the water consumption is far less without compromising on the water experience,” he adds.
One certain way to have a sustainable, efficient bath space is to have a holistic approach to designing the bath space – so that there is clear saving per bathroom, that can be measured and quantified. “Innovation drives us at Roca Bathroom Products and with sustainable technology, we make optimum use of resources for better solutions without compromising on the design aspect,” says KE Ranganathan, managing director, Roca Bathroom Products. Roca has been working on effectively conserving water usage, energy and simultaneously enriching the well-being of an individual through various products and technologies such as smart toilets, Hall flush-free urinals, W+W, cold start faucets and electronic faucets. The rimless toilets and faucets with aerators, amp and flow limiters come in numerous designs, shapes and sizes to fit all kinds of bathroom spaces.

Mastering master bathrooms
Today, consumers are increasingly focusing on bathrooms as a wellness space. Amongst other international trends, multi-spa bathtubs, electronic faucets and smart toilets are among the first ones to be adopted in India. Roca’s Ranganathan advises, “While designing or remodelling the master bathroom, one should keep certain tips in mind. First, the layout plays a vital role in designing a master bathroom. The master bath itself has undergone some changes in recent years. Giant tubs, once hugely popular, have fallen out of favour. Instead, people are choosing custom-showers – including overhead showerheads, wall-mounted showerheads, hand-held showerheads, shower tiles, rain bars, body sprays and steam showers.
“Then comes personalisation, as this is a key factor for individuals and they are looking for that unique style that accentuates their personality…and the same goes for their bathroom spaces. Statement mirrors, vanity lights, candles, decorative planters, furniture, etc, provide that unique personalised touch that resonate with luxury and opulence. Even art has found its way into the bathroom.”
Another trend shaping the modern master bathrooms is the use of universal design. It accommodates people of all ages and abilities, includes wider doorways, showers with no raised lip around the bottom, larger shower doors and more room around fixtures. Colours are becoming an integral part of bathrooms spaces with designer tiles, coloured sanitary ware, showers and faucets. Bold accent walls and flooring are a popular choice for contemporary bathrooms, transforming the look and feel of the space.
Moving forward, shapes would try to break boundaries in the bathroom segment with new compact and defined shapes of bathroom-ware making a foray into the market. Modern shapes with distinctive characters are top of the list where master bathrooms are concerned. “People are now focusing on a lot of designs and options to have a complete bath suite experience,” says Sternhagen’s Parekh, adding that today bathing goes beyond cleansing the body and extends to relaxing the spirit, rejuvenating from an increasingly hectic lifestyle to emerge feeling refreshed.
Master bathrooms of today have amenities that rival spas and hotels, with ‘emotional’ showers that change colours and aromas, copper tubs, and his-and-her water closets. “The bathroom is becoming the most renovated room within the house. Customers have a very clear idea of what they would like their bathroom to look like: minimal, contemporary but comfortable, traditional looking, timeless with a modern twist,” says Tavolini, adding that every design inspiration needs to be satisfied – from the small detail to the large scale project – which is why GRAFF offers furniture, faucets and matching bathtubs and washbasins for all tastes and needs: from futuristic, cutting-edge designs to modern and timeless looking collections.
“From complex shower systems that re-create a ‘spa-like’ environment to full lines of washbasins, bathtubs and accessories, we are able to offer everything that is necessary to renovate, decorate or plan a bathroom from the very beginning,” says Tavolini.
Jaquar Group’s Shukla highlights the indulgent aspect of a modern bathroom. “With bathrooms becoming extensions of people’s living spaces, shower enclosures, whirlpools and premium interiors are now garnering greater acceptance,” he says, adding that consumers are going beyond spas and gyms to indulge and rejuvenate, and are turning their bathrooms into experiential wellness zones.
The concept of luxury, too, has shifted towards creating wholesome experiences for oneself, spending time preciously, making life easier and enhancing the quality of everyday life. Master bathrooms define and demonstrate how much the user and the interior designer are serious about the details of the space and on the quality of the entire project.
“Today, the bathroom says more about an individual’s views on design and his/her approach to planning than any other room in the house,” says Kher. Within the bathroom, details are not just details, they make the bath space and they make the products. “We at Zalur invest a lot of time in understanding the psychographics of the user, his/her aspirations and motivations – so that we can design and curate the space accordingly. One needs to have a narrative, a story within the master bath space,” reveals Kher.
When it comes to designing the master bathroom, Kher outlines three key specifics to consider. Firstly, designing the space keeping an individual’s entire psychographics in mind; and also designing so that a bathroom can last for 10-15 years. Secondly, defining experience or sensory goals per zone of the master bathroom, by breaking it into a washbasin zone, a shower/bathtub zone and a WC zone, so that one can really craft an experience per zone. Thirdly, taking into account aspects such functionality, design, ergonomics, furniture/storage, light, beauty/personal grooming, safety, care, comfort, accessories, water experience, and warmth for cold areas (like towel warmers and seating with shower area).
Once one has considered all these aspects of design, one can start visualising the kind of experience the space should deliver, with water experience being as per the user’s choice, be it the faucet or shower experience; and a light experience which is not just functional but conceptual… creating a feel that is highly personalised and focused on well-being.

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