Personalized & sustainable bathrooms suit one to de-stress with style

Personalized Bathrooms: De-stress with Style!

Grohe Cube

Personalized Bathrooms

Laden with a 'human touch', personalized bathrooms are emerging as the perfect rejuvenation hubs, observes S.D. Khan

Stress, lack of personal space, and a cluttered mind are the three unending woes of an urbanite. Earlier, people sought relief in plush cafés or a quiet corner in a hotel lobby, but these places have now become more suited to the merry-making lot. As if this was not enough, the constantly buzzing cell-phone will keep on adding to your woes. Simply stated, you need a personalized retreat where you can shed all the worries and rejuvenate. So, forget the coffee parlour and rather hit the bathroom as a brief stint of 15 – 20 minutes over there will recharge your senses and quench your thirst for uninterrupted privacy!

Fortunately, the 'personal space' aspect is now a phrase conspicuous in the bathroom solutions being offered in the country, and manufacturers are using this as a USP to connect with consumers. Be it design, ambience, faucets & fittings, or the bathtub, each component is playing its role quite wonderfully to make a shower a de-stressing exercise. Although, this 'wellness' comes at a price, the corporate savvy urbanites, and the younger generation in particular, are willing to adopt an extravagant lifestyle. Not only are they well educated, they are also aware of the western trends and keen on emulating their European peers. For them, an opulent bathroom is a token of pride and modernity.

Kerovit Bathroom Solutions

Crucially, the advent of foreign players has played a big role in ensuring that 'wellness' becomes a way of life. Their approach is highly structured as it involves a deep engagement of architects, consultants, designers, and homeowners. No wonder, personalized bathrooms are now becoming the new norm.

The Human Touch

Adding the 'human' element to bathrooms is increasingly gaining top priority. But the curious mind often questions the rationale behind a 'personalized' bathing space. After all, isn't it just a shower? Dismissing this traditional notion, bathroom majors are unanimous that since it's the bathroom where people spend some moments to themselves, it's essential that this privacy is enriched to the hilt.

REnu Misra

According to Ms. Renu Misra, Managing Director, Grohe India, today, a bathroom has moved from being a tiny space in the corner of your house to becoming a concept room that offers relaxation and rejuvenation. "From spaceship-like Jacuzzi baths, spa zones to powder rooms, it's the trophy room where people get to spend the much required 'me' time in a world of chaos. A spa-like ambience can be created today with the help of sound and chromotherapy. Colours help achieve harmony and infuse a soothing ambience while the installation of Aquazones within the home helps divide separate zones for preparation, relaxation, rejuvenation and recreation."

Talking of the design element, she states, "The current interior designs and living patterns point to a complete transformation of the utilitarian bathroom of yore into the present day, opulent sanctuary of comfort and rejuvenation. Taking inspiration from luxury hotel bathrooms, owners are extending the same spa concept to their own bath areas and creating home spas that they can access every day."

F Digital Deluxe

"The exposure to global brands," she believes, "has reinvented the traditional Indian bathrooms with world-class fixtures and modern finishes. An eclectic mix of neutral tones such as creams, whites, beiges and browns with bright colours to accentuate the décor are being employed. While natural stone and handcrafted tiles are being combined to create nature-inspired interiors, simple clean lines with metallic colours and gold and gold finishes too are in."

Traditional Indian Bathrooms

Dhirendra Joshi

Speaking highly in favour of personalized bathrooms, Mr. Dhirendra Joshi, General Manager, Kerovit, says, "Today, bathrooms are not only seen as an area related to personal hygiene, but also as a retreat and a space where you can have some quality time to yourself. Therefore, regardless of the size of that space, there is an increasing number of consumers who believe it is imperative to make this area personalized, inviting and more than just a utilitarian room thereby bringing in a 'human touch'. More and more homeowners today want their bathrooms to be styled in a way that allows freedom to use them for functionality as well as a means to refresh the mind, body and soul."

Asutosh Shah

According to Mr. Asutosh Shah, Managing Director, Duravit India, "These days, the bathroom is becoming increasingly important not just as a functional area but also as a living area and a place to relax. Changing lifestyles have increased expectations from this once humble space, it's a lot more than just a place only to take bath, wash or shower. Upcoming comprehensive bathroom concepts are based on individual needs. The bathroom has quite clearly become a furnished living area that also promotes active healthcare with multifunctional products and offers maximum comfort. There is thus a demand for innovative product ideas that are modern and fashionable as well. They are designed to individual needs and need to be visually attractive. More importantly, they must also be the perfect fit for the functional needs of end users."

Duravit Bathrooms

He adds, "The change in lifestyle of people and the resultant function of the bathroom has brought design competence into real play. Perfect interplay of shapes, colours and functions has taken centre stage. Purely functional bathrooms are increasingly a thing of the past and demand is slowly rising towards "designer" sanitaryware. It must be said that most modern bathrooms feature harmonious and holistic concepts with timeless appeal. They are an expression of individual personality. The design is not just about the products themselves, but also about the use of materials that helps create a welcoming atmosphere."

Hindware Italian Collection

Sushil Luniya

While commenting on the transformation of bathrooms, Mr. Sushil Luniya, President, Marketing & Sales, HSIL Limited, observes, "Human desire is an unquenchable thirst, and to quench this longing we expand our ideas and innovations. Bathrooms are seeing a big change in 2014, leaving behind the bohemian styles of the past and looking more towards minimalistic, sleek designs for an uncluttered bathroom. In fact, custom bathrooms are nowadays ranked among the most popular home upgrades."

He elaborates, "With the focus on creating complete bathroom suites and products that match with each element of a bathroom's need, we recently launched a range of bathroom suites under Hindware Italian Collection. There are 4 complete bathroom suites, Atlanta, Berlin, Twilight, and Modena on offer, each with its distinctive style but incorporates a contemporary look of clean lines and curvaceous rounded edges. The Berlin series and the Enigma Slim, water closets are ideal for small compact bathrooms. Enigma Slim having only 19 inches of projection from the wall with a wider bowl for seating comfort ensures maximum walking space. Apart from the above, Hindware's bathroom products basket is enormous and each piece is designed taking into consideration urban parameters, so size, shape, sauve design and technology are their key features which will enable the end consumers to choose and style their own personal space with ease."

Kohler Bathroom Products

According to Kohler's Spokesperson, "The bathroom is a space that indulges the senses, calms the spirit, and cleanses the mind. Everything in this space contributes to the experience of how a person interacts with it. Kohler with its cutting edge technology, design and innovations gives consumers more options to make their personal space luxurious and provide them an experience like never before."

Sushil Matey
Talking of the human element, Mr. Sushil Matey, Chief Operating Officer – Mega Accounts, Emerging Businesses & Marketing, H&R Johnson (India), "In our opinion, the "Human touch" in a bathroom comes from a combination of aesthetics, functional benefits as well as the overall experience that a bathroom provides. We have introduced a series of new products recently like premium bathtubs, CP fittings and some new models in sanitaryware which are high on aesthetics and give functional benefits, thereby providing a complete bathing experience to our customers. We are also amongst the pioneers in introducing unique concepts like the Germ Free Sanitaryware as well as eco-friendly products like Eco Flush in our range. The design of our faucets is done with special focus on safety of customers against any injury while the faucet is used. Our faucets are also fitted with water saving aerators which save water as well as soft and non splashy flow. We also have a range of wellness products like shower panels & shower cubicles which provide a complete Spa like experience in the bathrooms."

H&R Johnson Bathrooms

Rejuvenation in Demand

Euro Cube
Today, apart from ambience and aesthetics, people seek therapeutic qualities in bathroom products such as showers and bathing panels. This growing fondness for rejuvenation is encouraging manufacturers to tailor their offerings according to the needs and preferences of consumers.

Notably, Johnson has several products and features in its bathroom range which provide a therapeutic and spa kind of experience. "Our Rain Showers come in different shapes and sizes that perfectly gel with bathroom ambience and size. The water flow from rain showers comes as droplets giving actual experience of rain. Special internal design ensures uniform flow from all the nozzles thereby giving luxurious bathing experience. Johnson also has a range of high end shower panels which have attributes of water fall, body jets with multiple massage effects enhancing bathing pleasure. In addition, for entertainment we have products providing options to play FM radio or connect and play MP3 songs of own choice using LCD touch panel. Color changing LED lights give chromotheraphy effect to soothe the mind, body and soul," apprises Mr. Matey.

Shedding light on Grohe's offerings, Mr. Misra informs, "Aesthetics in design with superlative technology can help change the appearance and functionality of your bathroom. Bathroom fixtures and faucets from Grohe that exude both luxury and technology can help in enjoying a truly luxurious and pampering experience. We have a digital collection with a modular design that allows precise and intuitive digital control for all points of interaction in the bathroom. Grohe F-digital offers maximum design and planning freedom; with wireless technology and a full range of coordinating products for the shower, bathtub, basin and bidet, so you can plan your bathroom as you wish."

She continues, "At Grohe, we are enabling style-conscious patrons to create their own oasis of rejuvenation by bringing the most superlative sanitary- ware solutions into the market. Pedestal sinks and vessel sinks that float on solid wood cabinetry, basins made of hand-painted porcelain, carved marble, glass, copper and stone in natural forms like bulbous round and oval are popular. Large soaking tubs, claw feet, and vintage-look faucets besides LED-lit shower heads and oversized spa-like shower enclosures are just some of the accouterments patrons can choose from."

Sanitaryware Products

Talking of Kerovit's range, Mr. Joshi says "Every product under the Kerovit brand name spells beauty, functionality and longevity, be it the WCs, the Wash Basins or the flush cisterns. While aesthetics take a pre-dominant position in all our offerings, we don't limit ourselves to aesthetic appeal alone. Yes, patrons today have an elevated sense of style and lifestyle aspirations but the discerning Indian consumer is both price and quality conscious. We, at Kajaria, have pulled out all the stops to offer sanitaryware products that are not just visual treats but also long-term assets for your bathroom."

"Consumers," according to Mr. Luniya, "are increasingly placing a high premium on qualitative time and wellness is emerging as a dominant concept. Whether a beginner or a believer, customers today are willing to spend more on wellness products. At HSIL we recognize this trend, and understand the consumer psyche which is why we introduced 'Amore', a range of wellness products that are in tune with today's times. Amore takes a leaf out of the Roman civilization that was steeped in its culture of worshipping their own physiques and communal bath spaces had an important standing. The difference; Amore or wellness as seen today is more personal and private."

Significantly, HSIL's Amore collection offers Massage tubs, Shower enclosures, Multifunctions and Shower panels under "Romance", "Ambiente', Thermae' and 'Solitaire' series. "Equipped with features such as chromo therapy, hydro therapy, hydro massage jets, water level sensors, anti-odour drainage, electrical leakage protector, to name a few the massage tubs are a touch of class and elegance. The highlight about Amore products is the use of 'Super Hygienic' disinfection system in bathtubs and the piping system which safeguards user from any harmful bacteria. This innovation is considered to be the biggest progress in the whirlpool industry, an innovation attributed to the brand's ingenuity which solved a huge industrial headache," he asserts.

According to Kohler's Spokesperson, "The bathroom segment is witnessing rising demand from customers for innovative products, designer accessories as well as customised solutions for their bathrooms. People are looking for high-end gadgetry in the simplest of products. Over the past years we have strengthened our operations in India in the bathroom segment and have launched products according to the evolving customer needs. We will focus on providing our consumers a complete bathroom range, with a variety of products ranging from premium to high end in different styles, colors and materials to match individual taste and décor preferences. Technology and design will be core to our product portfolio, which are embedded in each range to offer a unique blend of product design and utility."

Flipside Shower Panel

A forward-looking Mr. Shah, notes, "Today, innovative products performing several functions simultaneously meet the complex requirements of modern bathroom users. For example, with one product, the user can take a steam bath or shower and enjoy the beneficial effects of colours, scents and music at the same time. The rising apartment culture and exposure to global brands have transformed Indian bathrooms. But now, this development is going one step further. Many people often dream of and plan a "private spa" within the four walls of their home, a place where they can relax and recuperate in private. Functionality might be the keyword, but increasing affluence, awareness and exposure to global trends has brought about a revolution in the Indian sanitaryware market. Consumers are keen and demand premium quality and design-oriented sanitaryware. It's the only way forward!"

Research is Instrumental

Lifestyle products such as bathroom solutions necessitate a structured Research & Development wherein tastes and preferences of the consumers are gauged time and again while keeping in mind the scope for periodic innovations.

"While designing any new faucet," expresses Mr. Matey, "Our in-house R&D team collates the responses and feedbacks of customers/Architects/builders and tries to incorporate it into actual product. The example of this is our Quebec range where we have ensured that all the SKU's in the range look alike as one family. The handle of Quebec range is designed with a snap fit action, removing the conventional screw which is being used to fix handle. This gives the handle uniform and flawless finish on all the 5 sides. In the same way we have also pioneered and developed the Germ Free Sanitaryware that helps inhibit the multiplication and growth of bacteria thereby helping customers in maintaining the hygiene of their bathrooms. The germ free feature is also incorporated in Seat Covers that are supplied with Germ Free Toilets which come in direct contact with customers' body, thereby ensuring complete safety."

Grohe too is committed to delivering the most relevant products that meet customer needs. "We often tailor-make our offerings on the basis of the market we are catering to. We have a design team par excellence that is committed to understanding the needs and tastes of consumers across the globe. For this, we have been awarded repeatedly with the most prestigious international honours. These felicitations act as illustrations of our dedication to innovation, aesthetic creativity and the desire to consistently provide the most outstanding bathroom solutions to our consumers," says Ms. Misra.

Architectural Nuances

Meanwhile, Kajaria's exemplary business success can be attributed to innovation and commitment to providing world-class quality. According to Mr. Joshi, "Our market edge over competitors comes from the enviable promptness and speed with which we cater to continuous and ever-evolving consumer trends. Our R&D wing works tirelessly on tapping the tastes of the market and it is with a thorough understanding of the same that we develop each of our offerings. It comes as no surprise then, that all our products personify a perfect blend of sophistication, elegance and functionality that the Indian consumer today seeks. Kerovit flaunts a gamut of professionally-crafted products that successfully merge the concepts of modern living and architectural nuances derived from painstaking study by the R&D team. Thanks to their efforts, every Kerovit product caters to the evolved aspirations of the discerning Indian buyer."

HSIL has a dedicated R&D team comprising of a team of researchers and designers including foreign experts who along with marketing and sales are constantly mapping the pulse of the consumer and design products in accordance with present day taste and preference; clutter free, trendy and modern. "The team also experiments with raw materials committed towards manufacturing world class products which are sustainable, durable and fashionable," avers Mr. Luniya.

Hindware Bathroom Products
On the other hand, Kohler's R&D team is deeply involved in reckoning the needs and requirements of Indian clients. "India has diverse needs and specific demands, our teams spend a lot of their time in fulfilling their needs. A classic example is the vibrant collection which was launched for Indian consumers' love for the colour Gold and gold plated products. The use of PVD technology was also keeping in mind the hard water supplies in the country which adversely affects the life of faucets and other accessories. Another product, Pureclean has been launched keeping in mind consumers who are open to changing habit & exploring new technologies. With its ergonomic features, Pureclean is aimed at creating awareness about the category and creating a difference to the consumers, in terms of experience, hygiene & comfort," remarks the company's spokesperson.

"The bathroom" according to Mr. Shah, "is becoming increasingly important as a living area and a place to relax. Due to changing lifestyle a lot more is expected from a bathroom than a place only to take bath, wash or shower. The upcoming comprehensive bathroom concepts are based on individual needs. The bathroom has become a furnished living area that, at the same time, promotes active healthcare with multifunctional products and offers maximum comfort. There is thus a demand for innovative product ideas that are modern as well as fashionable. They are designed to individual needs and should be visually attractive. It should also fit to functional needs of users. Moreover, the contemporary bathroom meets three upcoming requirements in principal: sustainable design, green production and ecological in usability. In its overall balance it has to be economical but nevertheless joyful and relaxing."

Well, personalized bathrooms are here to stay, and will keep on enriching homes and de-stressing lives of their occupants. Efforts of manufacturers are undoubtedly pivotal to success, but it's the trend-savvy consumers whose ever increasing desire for extravagance will keep fostering innovations in this segment. The market is already abuzz with chic and elegant bathrooms and the coming years are set to witness more gifts unfolding!

The aforementioned bathroom majors have also shared their views on sustainability and corrosion resistance qualities of their products, and those inputs will be will be carried in a future edition of MGS Architecture.
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