Bathroom design: smart features, water-efficiency and new launches

Smart features are now regularly being incorporated into the modern bathroom and, with this in mind, Commercial Interior Design speaks to leading bathroom manufacturers about their recent projects in the region, collections and the growing demand they are seeing for water-efficient products.

Looking back at last year’s market, Louise Pitt, marketing and CRM manager at Geberit, says that 2016 emerged as a year of challenges, not helped by “the continued tightening on global liquidity and the drastic drop in oil prices”.

Pitt comments: “We were all stunned to see the cost of a barrel dip under $35 at the end of FEBRUARY 2017. The knock on effect in the construction industry was witnessed across the whole Gulf region. We face the usual challenges in a competitive environment but look optimistically forward to growth this coming year.”

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Geberit’s recent projects in the region included high-end residential developments, such as Al Barari Seventh Heaven in Dubai, as well as W Hotel & Aleef Residences Palm Jumeirah, Viceroy Hotel Palm Jumeirah, Bulgari Resort and Residences Dubai. The Swiss pipe and bathroom fitting manufacturer also supplied its products for the Jabal Omar Development in Makkah and two hospitals, Furwaniya and Al Sabah, in Kuwait.

“Geberit product ranges allow you to plan and implement solutions which are aesthetically and functionally tailored to meet the requirements of different applications, so with this in mind we look optimistically forward the challenges ahead,” she adds.

German supplier of sanitary ceramics and bathroom furniture, Duravit, has also provided its products for the luxury mixed-use development on the Palm. Apart from the Aleef Residences, Duravit’s latest projects in the GCC include The BlueWaters Island Project in Dubai by Meeras, as well as two major cultural buildings – the newly opened Etihad Museum in Dubai and the $650m Louvre Abu Dhabi museum.

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“There is continuous and positive growth of the markets, which is driven through the diversity of the projects in the region and the preparation for the Expo 2020 and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” says Duravit, Toni ElKadi, head of projects at Duravit Middle East. “Landmark projects, hotels and even entertainment projects are playing a major role in the growth. This positive development also pushes us to invest in new products to be innovative and equipped with a professional customer service.”

Celebrating its 100th anniversary, Spanish sanitaryware manufacturer Roca has a long association with luxury hotels and resorts in the Gulf region. Samer Deeb, area manager at Roca, says that the company experienced sustainable growth last year and is positive that the region’s bathroom market will maintain its upward trajectory. Emaar’s Burj Vista development in Downtown Dubai has recently been added to Roca’s portfolio of projects.

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“The main challenge we face is executing projects with European-made products and fitting within the budget of the projects. The majority of our production plants is in Europe, and we are competing with other brands in the region, mainly sourcing from Asia and Africa.”

TRENDS & TECHNOLOGY

Looking at their latest projects, Markus Singler, managing director at Hansgrohe Middle East, says there is a definite trend for transparency in the bathroom – unmasking what is usually concealed.

“Bathrooms and shower areas are becoming living spaces, not just somewhere to get clean. This has resulted in a desire for open design with few or no thresholds. The trend is for solutions which blend in smoothly with the architecture: floor-level showers big enough to move around in, no frames or door mechanisms, with an almost invisible pane of glass acting as a splash-guard.”

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