Analysing current trends and long-term developments makes up a large part of Paul Flowers’ day-to-day work. The Senior Vice President Design at Grohe AG has identified some of the major trends, which are essential to the concept of the modern-day nomad. “The needs of people change as they transition through different life stages characterised by specific lifestyles and few constants. And yet the more transient our lives become, the more we feel the need to form an emotional bond with things that are familiar to us and give us a sense of belonging. These are the objects, which we want to take along on our life journey. Consequently greater attention will be given to the mobility of those furniture and fixtures which we have traditionally left behind every time we move house.”
While all of his work revolves around designing water fittings and showers, Paul Flowers also finds time to envisage new forms of bathroom fixtures such as washbasins and bathtubs. He believes that these objects will increasingly evolve into pieces of furniture, which people relate to as faithful companions. This trend is being accelerated by the fact that the bathroom more and more becomes a living space and people reallocate their living space in line with their actual personal needs and preferences. This has led to bathroom fixtures becoming detached from their traditional wall-mounted positions, using flexible connections to create free-standing islands. In addition, the trend towards urban living will boost demand for smart solutions providing bespoke comfort even where space is at a premium.
“The sustainability of the products is an important aspect of tomorrow’s more transient lifestyles,” says Paul Flowers. “So products need to be designed and engineered for longevity and outstanding quality. People interested in using a product for a long period of time will be prepared to invest more in order to be able to enjoy it on a long-term basis.”
In addition, products will need to enable economical use of the precious resource that is water. In this respect an important part will be played by digitisation like Grohe brought it to the bathroom already a few years ago. Modern technology helps create customised water experiences, which people can indulge in without guilt. Modular elements - such as the ones optionally available for the F-digital Deluxe shower concept - serve as interfaces between humans, technology and water.
The bathroom of the future will put a stronger emphasis on human design, which encourages users to form an emotional attachment. The language of form will be globally relevant and regionally anchored at the same time. This trend towards “glocalisation” is already reflected in Grandera, a range of water fittings inspired by global icons of design and architecture. As for the choice of materials, future bathroom modules may well use such details as wooden tub legs or washbasin supports lending a sensual note to the products. Neutral colours - in particular black and white - are a good choice when it comes to preserving the modernity of the product over the long term.
Flexible and mobile, incorporating smart technology and infused with emotional design - the bathroom of the future is taking shape.
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