Ornate Bathrooms

Gessi Goccia BathroomLuxurious Bathroom Products from Gessi Goccia Collection (Picture Courtesy : FCML Luxurious Bathrooms)
A luxurious ornate bathroom with gold fittings, a whirlpool bathtub with fibre - optic coloured lights attuning to the moods of the user, two smart sinks with sleek faucets, a sunken tub with sensors detecting the body temperature and adjusting the water accordingly, a shower enclosure with a digital panel. Today, the luxury bathroom is no longer the mere imagination of a Bollywood director. It has actually become the reality with common man's lifestyle changes having a direct influence on the designs defining these lifestyles.

Needless to say, bathrooms today are making intimate moments with one's self possible – moments to pause and reflect upon the day and escape the madness of the world behind. Statement bathrooms/home spas today almost replicate luxury spas with whirlpool tubs, steam showers, multiple shower heads, massage jets, luxurious bathroom linen, brushed metal hardware and wall art sculptures. Add to it multifunctional steam rooms which comprise fully computerised touch screen panels, foot massagers, bubble baths etc.

Bathroom designs are now defined by themes and the range involves contemporary bathrooms with minimalist designs, bathrooms with zen-like appeal, a rustic touch, an eclectic bathroom etc. From chrome fittings to sparkling gold taps, coloured basins, coloured glass replacing tiling and frameless mirrors, pieces of furniture like a recliner, plant stand, DVD players – bathrooms truly are a retreat from the outside world. For years, countries in Europe and US have celebrated the bathrooms, and India is now also following the global trend.
LED LightingOffice Interiors at NOIDA with water saving faucets and sanitary-ware; LED lighting for general as well as highlighters. (Picture Courtesy: Prem Nath & Associates)
Abhinav Khandelwal
FCML Luxurious Bathrooms, a division of FCML, a well known lifestyle retail brand is famous for getting European luxurious bathrooms design products to India. Abhinav Khandelwal, Managing Partner - FCML Projects adds, "Indians are increasingly travelling to international destinations; as a result of which they are aware of the design trends and the latest concepts in the world of bathrooms. Moreover, in the stressful environments of the day, the bathroom turns into a space for relaxation and rejuvenation in the house. Luxury Bathrooms are at a stage where there is a lot happening. The bathrooms that were a small dingy room in the most unappealing area of the house are now gradually entering the living rooms. Some of the brands like Gessi, Falper, Devon & Devon, Milldue, etc are offering concepts that highly suit a living room setting."

Colours and lights are an important consideration in bathrooms today. Designers don't shy away from splashes of colour or striking coloured sanitaryware in bathroom designs. While neutral colours and white sanitary fixtures still play a safe option to play around with, backgrounds in different colours are being experimented with, to induce positive effects on the body. While mood lighting sets the pace in bathrooms and adds to the relaxed feeling, capturing a stream of natural light by planting a skylight above is energising too.

Today, bathrooms are king sized due to the increase in the number of products - a whirlpool bath, a stand up shower with jets, a bidet, a double sink, cabinetry for storage, accessories, towel warmers, and other luxury items. The potential of the space is realised better too with floating cabinets, wall mounted fixtures, pedestal sinks, mirror fronted cabinets, a range of storage in vanity counters and use of the wall space above the toilet for shelves.

luxurious Bathrooms

Bathrooms can be the most public, concurrently the most personal of spaces. The residential and hospitality sector have witnessed a great steep from the functional to the futuristic bathroom. Today couples prefer having separate bathrooms in their houses for the husband and wife with fixtures/faucets suited to the two genders. The customisation of bathrooms follows a huge range and depends upon the budget. While bathrooms can be open and flowing, privacy is today stylishly maintained in them through roller screens, frosted glass and specially designed blinds.

Going Green

Prem Nath

Mumbai based renowned architect Prem Nath commenting on the changes in bathroom designs adds, "In India, 'Lifestyle' goes on upgrading itself – open media & exposure to worldwide products has made India consumer-smarter and has upgraded the standards. Today with such wide variety of products available for bathrooms, there is no limit on how much one could put-in w.r.t. amenities and / or cost." The designer believes in green bathrooms and hence employs water saving features in all the sanitaryware & fittings in his bathrooms projects. He also makes the use of LED light fittings - keeping it eco-friendly while enhancing the ambience.



LED Light fittingsDesign by Bengaluru based 'Shibanee and Kamal Architects' (Picture Courtesy: Total Environment Building Systems)

Going Green has influenced bathrooms considering bathrooms are a major source of water consumption as well as water wastage. Water saving equipments are recent advancements, which help in usage of 20% less water (according to statistics) as compared to conventional toilet systems – fittings like high efficiency flushing systems and high efficiency showers ensure savings. There exist infra – red controls for WC's, urinals and taps; feature touch push knobs for low transmission noise; half turn mixers and faucets; humidity and salt resistant fixtures; waterless urinals, and digital systems controlling water temperature and water flow of bathroom showers from anywhere in the house. It is possible to heat bathrooms by radiant heating coming from beneath the bathrooms tiles. Integrated bathrooms systems with amalgamated fixtures working as a single functioning unit are also available. Eco-friendly materials have stepped in to bestow a natural warmth through materials like bamboo, stone, slate, recycled glass etc. Eco friendly tiles, waterproof paints just add to it.

Kamal Sagar
Bengaluru based Architect Kamal Sagar, principal architect and CEO of Total Environment Building Systems Pvt. Ltd, a leading architect-led real estate design & development firm is famous for his customised projects and employs a number of technology and systems to keep his bathrooms green like Waterless urinals, Centralised Heat Pumps, Water Saving Cisterns and Ceramic Discs that reduce wastage of water by close to 400 litres per home per day. He adds, "India has plenty of scope for all kinds of new bathroom fittings. However, bathroom fittings coming in without any support will not work. The retailers need to advise customers and provide support for additional requirements such as higher pressure, larger volumes of hot water, cleaner water – without which many of these fittings don't work."

Kohler Co., a global leader in bath design and technology has recently come up with KOHLER Numi vitrous china toilet, which has an array of electronics embedded into it. This WaterSense and CALGreen-certified "smart toilet" incorporates a sleek, interactive LCD touch-screen interface, built-in personalized bidet functionality and deodorizer, Innovative dual-flush technology, Intuitive auto-open and close lid with a unique ballet movement, built-in music system, heated seat and foot warmer and self cleaning UV technology.

Advancements in Bath Fittings and Sanitaryware

Showers

New tech shower panels and shower cubicles are gradually replacing bathtubs and have now made possible the division of the wet and dry areas of bathrooms. While cascade showers give a waterfall experience, rain showerheads give the complete experience of rains. High tech showers today include steam jets, aromatherapy jets and have digital interface panels handing over the control of water, light, sound and steam to the users. Some also include accessories like towels on bar and massage functions while some are built for two people to have a shower at a time. Electric showers provide instant hot water independent of the central heating system, cutting down on costs. There are now Vitamin showers also which have Vitamin C dispensers with effective de-chlorine effect. LED lighting ceiling showers utilize a combination of chromatherapy and hydrotherapy – and the water sprinkles down from the lighting nozzles. Hand showers today come in various jet types which can be switched between, at the click of a button.

Bath fittingsDTV Prompt (Picture Courtsey : Kohler Co)

Kohler Co. has recently come up with DTV Prompt, a digital thermostatic valve designed to enhance the showering or bathing experience with greater control, convenience and functionality. The DTV Prompt Shower System's state-of-the-art technology creates an intuitive user experience, featuring a large LCD screen with universal markings and backlit raised touch buttons that allow easy, precise temperature control and water use. The shower temperature can be easily set to the user's ideal temperature which will be repeated every time the shower is switched on.

Soap DispenserInteresting Accessories from Ger=Man (Picture Courtsey : TDK Infrastructure)

Mixers/Accessories
Today bathroom faucets and accessories come in exquisite colours, finishes and follow diverse operating methods. There is a growing fascination for interesting angles and exciting looks. While a chrome plating can make your product scratch proof and soil resistant, an effortless movement of levers is attained by ceramic alloys. Faucet finishes are available in platinum, stainless steel, nickel plating, silver, gold, brass, white enamels and coloured epoxies. Luxurious innovations like Swarvoski taps are all about making a statement.

Bengaluru based TDK Infrastructure is an exclusive German bath showroom aimed at bringing German bath ware to India. Few of the companies that it showcases are Schell, Kaja, Ceravid and Koralle. It recently unveiled some new products from a number of brands. It introduced some interesting and high end accessories from Ger=Man– novel soap dispensers, soap dishes, an interesting wall mounted magnifying mirror with two towel rails and glass holder and glass shelves with soap dispenser and glass holder.

BATHROOM VANITIES

Vanities are classified as built-in vanity sinks (which is designed and installed in such a way that it looks an integral part of the bathroom structure) or freestanding vanity sinks. The floor mounted conventional vanities are being replaced by furniture style vanities which resemble other pieces of furniture – whether in glass, wood, porcelain, marble or laminate. Vanities fulfil your storage options and expandable/collapsible vanities are available too.

TDK Infrastructure has recently introduced some chic looking vanities from Salgar, a Spanish brand.

SINKS
The options are many - pedestal sinks, corner sinks, wall-hung sinks, recessed sinks, single piece basin blocks, sinks fitted on wooden/ MDF/ vinyl cabinets etc. Handcrafted sinks in glass, metal and ceramic today complete the definition of 'designer- wear' sinks. Besides which you find them in acrylic or fibreglass, onyx, glass, copper, cast iron, semi precious stones, natural stones, wood and bronze – you place them on the countertop and you get the focal point of your design. Also, two sinks are in vogue as they improve a bathroom's efficiency. The shapes are also interesting – oval, round and asymmetrical.

TDK Infrastructure has recently come up with their new collection of Meissen-Keramik - a great collection of sanitary wear including designer WC's, washbasins and cast iron bath tubs.

TUBS
Plain rectangular Bathtubs have taken a backseat and the new trend is of whirlpool tubs with massage jets in various colours, shapes and sizes. Soaking yourself in 'soaking tubs' which incorporate water agitation for massaging and aromatherapy helps in relieving stress through scents. Jacuzzis have become smarter in their looks. You have models that offer a pressure control feature to adjust the angle and volume of water jet flow. Adds Abhinav, "A beautiful bath tub can also become a part of an open bedroom today with flowers and candles that create a relaxing environment. This is also a very current international concept and exceedingly being absorbed by people."

COUNTER TOPS
Counter tops add to the space in bathrooms. Take marble or onyx, their rugged, waterproof and stain resistant surfaces are a hit. The age old granite still proves very durable and impervious to water.

WC's
Bidets are gradually replacing European Water Closets. New forms of more functional WC's for the elderly and sink are also available. There is one which can be kept besides their bed and later fixed over toilets which exist installed as a raised chair.

Jacquar Artize FaucetsArtize Faucets from Jacquar

FCML brings a range of bathroom products - showers and faucets from Italy based brand Gessi available in many finishes, besides bringing products in gold, drop shaped faucets and placed in clusters. For kids, there is a coordination collection from Switzerland based brand Laufen that incorporates a beautiful flower shaped mirror, a multi piece mirror in shape of a caterpillar, colourful seat covers for WC's and bright and playful bathmats. Heated towel rails with glossy chrome or gold finish, TV's available from brand like EdMotem that are specially made for bathrooms (Placed behind a mirror this TV reflects through when it is switched on and once it is turned off, the mirror turns back to being a looking glass) are some of their other offerings.

Rajesh Mehra
Jaquar, one of the most well known leaders in the bath fittings category in India with their super luxury range of Artize Sanitaryware are evolving into a 'Complete Bathing Solutions' enterprise. Jaquar having tied up with various international players deals in luxury, premium and economical faucets (Full-turn, Quarter-turn & Single-lever), Wellness Products (Hydro massage systems, steam cabins, shower systems, whirlpools), Utility Products (glass enclosures), Water-Saving Products (sensor taps) and Concealed Cisterns. Rajesh Mehra, Director and Promoter of the company elucidates, "At Jaquar, we believe that it is our judicious mix of ultra modern technological set-up and the finest human resources which not only generate products of the finest quality but also an optimal level of cost economies for our company." The company is further expanding their Spa product range with new models both in the upper and middle segment markets.

Concept Bathrooms

Karn Aggarwal
Concept bathrooms are in trend where one gets coordinated sanitary ware, fittings and accessories. International players have definitely seen a potential in the Indian market, the reason why they are stepping onto the Indian Shores. The flagship store of Germany based KEUCO GmbH & Co. KG in Asia, a leader in high end, customized bathroom solutions was inaugurated in Bengaluru 10 months back. KEUCO_studio has been brought to India by Bengaluru based Shanti Exim International Pvt Ltd and is based on a unique retail concept which allows one to experience KEUCO's numerous bathrooms concepts and designs. Karn Aggarwal, Director of Shanti Exim International Pvt Ltd says, "One of the unique features of the studio is that we also offer design assistance to special projects. Here, we engage the design team in KEUCO, Germany to offer detailed perspective for bathrooms to help architects as well as home owners to select the most suited bathrooms concepts and products that suit their functional as well as design needs. Regarding costs, while an entire bathroom concept would cost just over a lakh for a small powder room it can go all the way to around 8 lakhs for a fully loaded master bathroom."

Royal ReflexRoyal Reflex Range by Keuco (Picture Courtesy : KEUCO GmbH & Co. KG)

Keuco's recent bathroom concept with glass includes Colorboards and Royal Reflex. Made of 10mm toughened glass in pure colours - red, olive green, violet and white, Colorboards tailor-made furniture is painted on the back to retain the brilliance of the colour. Wall mounted solutions are also available. The smooth and hard surface of the glass ensures that dirt is easily wiped off. In the Royal Reflex Series, the reflective glass fronts on the furniture coupled with illuminated mirror cabinets and striking shaped washbasins are the highlights. A combination of warm woods and vibrant colours makes the range more alluring. The glass fronts accentuated by aluminium handles are made of robust safety glass with a finish of a printed wood pattern or a coloured lacquer. Available In six different size options, the shapes get highlighted by chrome surfaces of the fittings and accessories.

Grohe Allure BrilliantAllure Brilliant from Grohe

Grohe India Pvt. Ltd. (GIPL) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Germany based Grohe (known for its state-of-the-art, design-oriented solutions and innovative sanitary fittings). Grohe recently launched its GROHE Spa Collection in India. It is available in four design styles - GROHE Ondus®, Ondus® Veris, Allure and Atrio. While GROHE Ondus® and Ondus® Veris give the option of mechanical or digital systems and are available in lozenge shapes conveying a softer minimalist feel; GROHE Allure features square and rectilinear forms to complement the precise angles found in modern interiors. GROHE Atrio is all about flowing silhouettes of circles, cylinders and curves. Their recently launched premium fittings - Allure Brilliant incorporates high design standards, precise workmanship and exacting details. It is slim, light and elegant and has a gem like 3D surface.

SHOWROOMS

Today, showrooms dealing in bathroom products are a sight to watch.

The GROHE Live Center at Mumbai and Bengaluru provides a great medium for visitors to experience the unique way in which GROHE has synergized design, technology and quality into their products.

Allure Brilliant from Grohe
On FCML stores, Abhinav explains, "FCML stores are designed keeping in mind their concepts and the bathroom products are highlighted with paintings, live plants, bright rugs, candles, cabinets, etc. to give it a living space feel. We strongly believe that considering bathrooms as just bathrooms is now a concept of the past. Bathrooms are now a part of the living room, to be enjoyed and experienced." While FCML has recently unveiled a new showroom at Sultanpur and also opened one in Bengaluru that reflects these trends, they plan to open more stores soon on such similar lines.

The Future of Bathroom Fittings in India

Bijoy Mohan
Bijoy Mohan, President, GROHE ASIAPAC believes that India is a highly lucrative and a fast growing market for premium products and is expected to maintain these growth rates for the next few years. He adds, "Currently, the total Indian Sanitary market is worth around Rs.2500 crores with a growth rate of about 10-15% per annum. Of the total sanitary fittings market size in India, the premium segment constitutes 10%. With evolving market & consumer demand, we believe it is the right time to showcase this industry's current market trends (including complete bathroom solutions, water conservation technology, distribution strategy, market potential) in Tier II cities and the growing popularity of imported fittings. India is a focused market for GROHE and we aim to achieve Rs.500crore revenue by 2015."

Karn terms the luxury bathroom market as one of India's fastest-growing industries, with a current growth rate of around 50% per annum. Concluding on a positive note, Ar Prem Nath admits, "Bath Fittings and bathroom accessories have a great future to look forward to - with an ever increasing demand for great looking and more accessorized personal spaces."

MGS Architecture March-April 2012