PRACTICAL TO PHENOMENAL
Once, considered just a utilitarian room in the home, bathrooms today have become elegant and fun. A homeowner’s pride, they are equipped with latest technology and not to forget eco-friendly solutions as well. Realty+ talks to architects and designers to find out the latest trends shaping the bathroom experience.
TEXT: LEANDRA MONTEIRO
Bathrooms are personal, functional rooms but they are also one of the places in the home that deserves the most attention to detail. They are experiential places in which one can make style statements that qualify them as worthy of Instagram. Zubin Zainuddin, Co-founder ZZ architects, explains, “Today the bathrooms are a visual and experiential extension of the home. In many cases we steer away from dramatic forms as bathrooms need to have a definite timeless appeal to them. We see bathrooms spaces evolving to one of the most visually exciting spaces in the home. The overall experience to rejuvenate oneself within the home is going to be imperative. Bathroom fittings are becoming more artistic and clearly easier to use and more fun to experience.”
From the usage of the boldest colours, Geo-patterned tiles, technological advancements and home spas. Indian bathrooms are undergoing a makeover. A room that once got the least attention and budget is now being one of the most looked after places in the house. With style fashionistas craving the clean, minimalist looks of European bathrooms as well as luxury spas, space-saving wall-hung toilets are now growing in popularity, particularly when twinned with cutting-edge sanitary technology.
“Bathrooms are becoming more and more experiential, augmented with all kinds of technology crowding the space. If it were the profusion of material finishes, that befuddled the architect in the past, it is the fine line of how much of tech is too intrusive, that the architect needs to draw now. For us, it has always a place to have highly focused detailing -right lighting, right clearances and layouts dictated by ergonomics, which does not impinge on safety. The rest are fluff, depending on the client’s aesthetic bandwidth and budget to play with!” expresses Ar Lalita Tharani, Co-Founder & Principal Architect, Collaborative Architecture, Mumbai.
DESIGNED FOR WELLNESS
One of the latest trends in bath spaces is to have walk-in closets as an extension of bathrooms. Removing barricades in-between these two spaces is to have walk-in closets as an extension of bathrooms. Removing barricades in-between these two spaces opens up a lot more room that allows for better functionality. Additionally, space is also being allocated for bathtubs for a more premium experience. “One of the hottest bathroom trends for 2019 is “Raw and Natural”. Natural, unrefined finishes offer respite from the hard, cold surfaces commonly found in the bathroom- not to mention the hard, cold reality of life beyond the bathroom door!! Wood is an obvious go-to; wooden surfaces make a room warm and cosy, proven to have a calming effect on the brain. Shower trays, wooden washbasins or a wooden bathtub can help recreate both the visual appeal and the tactility factor.” elaborates, Sohel Contractor, Creative Director, Solli Concepts
Apart from wooden interiors, other materials are commonly used. As a bathroom is totally immersive experience, designers are going to lengths to come up with the most dynamic styles.
“Marble is one the most used materials when it comes to floorings in India. More than just a style statement, I believe that people are looking into the textures and finishes that feel good under the feet. However, with respect to making a style statement, grey is the colour of the season and Sonata or Armani grey can help a bathroom design stand out. Browns and beiges are out of fashion.” articulates Pearl Jimmy Mistry, Director, Della
The bathroom is a great space to explore the use of mixed materials because they offer a wide opportunity for decoration especially for flooring. “A favourite emerging trend of mine that transcends amongst all design aesthetics is- concrete! It’s really exciting to see a traditionally “cold and non-welcoming material” mixed with organic elements such as wood, steel, porcelain and resin. Especially when laid and polished by hand, we can achieve an organic natural look in a limitless variety of colours. Statement mirrors, wooden washbasins, copper bathtubs, concrete countertops, large scale wallpapers, statement art, white and grey marble are all becoming very popular additions in many Indian bathrooms.” adds Sohel Contractor, Creative Director, Solli Concepts.
Gone are the days of ugly brown cabinets. Vanity counters, while adding a design element, are also a major storage component in a bathroom. Niches in shower cubicles add an element while creating more storage space. Alternately, the ledge walls over WCs that have inbuilt flush tanks can be used as counters to put perfumes or other decorative items on display. A higher initial investment in the new age bathroom is definitely offset by its lifespan and efficiency. Clever technology is transforming bathrooms to evolve into the new smart rooms.
The past has seen bathroom spaces as merely functional when it comes to homes but over the decades this has evolved to a whole new level. “Bathrooms today are evolving into more exciting spaces, with fittings becoming more artistic, easy to use, and fun to experience. DTV + Shower systems controls steam, waters through systems eco setting, sound and lighting delivering an ultimate customized spa-like showering experience. One can access and make adjustments using voice or wall mounted interface. Faucets with sensor valve monitors water usage which is displayed on apps.” expounds Kripa Zubin, Cofounder ZZ Architects.
Various Hydrotherapies with the combination of air, water and sound, harnesses water’s natural ability to enhance wellbeing and address specific areas of the body creating full-body experience in the comfort of your home. Bubble Massage Baths, Whirlpool Baths, Effervescence Baths, Sound Vibrations Baths, Heated Surface Baths and Combinations of these Hydrotherapies are some of the few options available for bath areas.
The materials used in your bathroom can go a long way to making your bathroom more sustainable. One of the purest eco-friendly varieties for a bathroom, LEDs offer plenty of benefits with very few drawbacks. Not only do they last around 40 times longer than conventional incandescent bulbs, they use less power too as much as 90% less.
One innovative way to make shower water go further, without compromising on water pressure, are aerated flow faucets that consume less water but provide substantial volume by mixing air. Low water shower heads which use less water but provide better shower coverage. Shower meters which can be installed with heads to monitor consumption volume in every shower and Cistern water bags which when installed reduce the cistern quantity to half.
As well as the bathroom fittings themselves, decor elements made of recyclable or recycled materials can help make the space more eco-friendly for instance, reclaimed timber can be used to make a feature wall, while recycled glass ornaments can add a chic and sustainable touch to the overall design scheme.
Ar. Vivek Rathore, Salient Design Studio Kolkata , “Epoxy paints, natural stucco, old tile china mosaic finish (recycle), small stone tiles made out of wastage or terrazzo tiles made from collected stone chips , in situ cement flooring are few which we have experimented with.”
He goes on to add, “Since bathrooms are a place which multiple persons use throughout the day, cleanliness is of the utmost importance. We make use of a seamless and rimless product series to reduce place for germ containment. We also precisely check surface geometry, surface finishes, coatings to ensure self-flow of water. We avoid finishes, textures and colours which provide legibility even to minor contaminations.”
Plumbing also plays an important role in maintaining the eco-friendly balance of a bathroom. 15-20% of contamination happens in due to bad quality plumbing and poor pipe material and faulty joinery. Hardness in water tends to constrict the flow at times leading to less flow and damaging the fixtures. Hydro pneumatic system and low section flow is important. Also material in pipes should be recyclable.