The trend for 2019 will be Individualism says industry experts to Victoria Burrows.

For restaurateurs and hoteliers thinking of giving their properties an update, a good place to start might just be that much-overlooked and under-valued space: the bathroom.

“The bathroom is a huge part of the overall guest experience; it’s just as important as the other areas of the building,” says Mark Bickerstaffe, New Product Development Director at Kohler Kitchen & Bath.

“A good looking and functionally efficient bathroom makes you feel special by indulging you in a way you may not experience at home or very often elsewhere. Your tasks may be functional, but they transform you for your next activity mentally and physically. People also look at the bathroom as a symbol of cleanliness overall, especially important in a restaurant. Customers want to experience new and better things when they are out or travelling and that experience shouldn’t stop at the bathroom door.”

As well as pleasing guests, a bathroom, of course, also needs to fulfill the requirements of the property and its staff.

“In trade and industry, the focus in the sanitary area is on a harmonious design, perfect hygiene, easy-care properties and quick cleaning,” says Guido Muenz, General Manager at Duravit Asia.

“Building owners and investors have the highest requirements in terms of functionality, hygiene, cleaning and value for money. Planners and architects want products that meet the highest quality, sustainability and planning standards.”

Individualism is Key

So what does this year have in store for bathroom design? Firstly, individual personality, and lots of it.

“Individualism is going to be the key trend so artistic expression within the interior will be evident,” says Bickerstaffe. “Greyed muted shades of blue indigo, purple and olive green are a strong direction. Set this all off with a brushed bronze or brass or titanium finish on the hardware and you have a stunning look. Black is remaining very strong but with texture and tonal difference – gloss, matt, hammered, silk … I also feel pops of intense colour, not as a systematic decoration but part of an eclectic mix, will be trending.”

Balancing colour and naturals is a key contemporary look for bathrooms.

“Colour, natural materials and amazing surface finishes are where the leading edge of bathroom design is right now. Using natural stones in beautiful, subtle, contrasting tones and textures together in the same room is amazing. I’m especially loving the combination of stone, wood and bold earth-toned colour,” says Bickerstaffe.

Many top sanitary fitting companies, including Kohler, have released ranges in varying shades to allow designers to add something special to their bathrooms.

Grohe has launched 10 colour finishes, each available in polished and brushed surfaces, across their many collections, ranging from warm tones of warm sunset and cool sunrise to cool shades of hard graphite, nickel and chrome.

Grohe
Grohe

“These new options are a rich toolbox for the creative mind,” says Audrey Yeo, Vice President of Marketing Asia at Grohe. “[We are] seeing a trend towards coordinated bathrooms in various colours to meet all demands of personal taste and design schemes. We also have complementary ceramics to complete the look. Acquiring all products from a single source takes the guesswork out of mix-and-match mistakes.”

Yeo says that Grohe’s two most popular design collections in Asia are Lineare, which is designed to complement both round and square shapes and Essence, with its understated elegance that blends a classic look with modern styling.

Texture is another way to add wow factor. Duravit has 30 different surfaces available.

“Natural wood finishes are popular in light and dark shades,” says Muenz. “For example, real wood veneer, like Mediterranean oak or brushed walnut, adds texture and softness to white sanitary ware.”

Technological advances in materials are also helping to elevate bathware. Grohe’s Spa Colour collection is produced with PVD (physical vapour deposition) technology, which the company claims is 10 times more scratch resistant and gives three times more surface hardness, making it especially long lasting.

Duravit’s HygieneGlaze 2.0, which is baked into the ceramic during firing, brings hygiene technology into the bathroom.

“After just six hours, almost all bacteria ( 90 per cent) is killed. After 12 hours, a 99.9 per cent reduction is achieved. After 24 hours, 99.999 per cent of the bacteria have been eliminated; an extraordinarily high level,” says Muenz.

Bickerstaffe says that Kohler are also exploring the potential of new materials.

“You’ll see us exploring cement in amazing ways, we are obsessed with what we can do with glass materials and the translucent, iridescent and opalescent effects that are possible,” he says. “Probably more exciting, though, are our efforts with waste materials. Our waste lab is transforming material that would otherwise be trash into beautiful new products. Innovation in this area is essential and we are committed to making every one of our products more environmentally friendly.”

Kohler’s most popular products in Asia are the Veil suite, which combines timeless elegance with value-adding lighting technology and contemporary style, and their minimalist Composed faucet range.

Kohler

In trade and industry, the focus in the sanitary area is on a harmonious design, perfect hygiene, easy-care properties and quick cleaning” – Guido Muenz, general manager, Duravit Asia