We’d love to populate our bathroom with plants: flowering, fragrant, rampant plants glistening with beads of water. But seriously: whether we think back to our last holiday by the sea as we enjoy a relaxing bath or step out onto the patio after our morning shower to take a few deep breaths of fresh air – we rarely feel as in touch with nature during the course of our daily routine as we do in the bathroom.
What should a bathroom look like? The standard array of shower or tub, toilet and basin, a mirror above it and maybe a little cupboard over there... all in a nice straight line up against the wall? That’s all in the past. But the bathroom’s shift in meaning, away from pure practicality and towards more ambience and cosiness, still has to find suitable forms of expression.
Obviously not everybody has a castle at their disposal where the various generations of the family can get together; but that isn’t actually that important anyway. The main thing is that both young and old feel at ease in the room which, for a growing number of people, is becoming the basic prerequisite for a self-determined life – the bathroom.
When it comes to form, there are many ways to interpret water: it can flow in a purist surge from a fitting that has been reduced to nothing but a surface, gush thickly or vivaciously out of arching taps into water troughs, filigree bowls or flat, minimalist basins. Design trends in the bathroom will be the focal point of interest at the ISH. Perhaps more than any other room, the bathroom is proving to be a place that reflects an abundance of external influences from society, design and ecology.
Life in the city, right in the thick of it. Different people and cultures live side by side, with different daily rhythms, different music, different family structures. Even the architecture itself is a reflection of this diversity: closely spaced rows of houses and obstructed views alternate with open squares and expansive vistas, stone rubs shoulders with greenery, little terraced houses stand shoulder to shoulder with tower buildings. A place for individualists.
The ISH 2011 is coming up trumps with innovations that are sparking consumer demand for the sex appeal of electronic fittings which permit touch-free operation or convenient adjustment of showers and other equipment features at the push of a button. Rarely has the sanitary sector seen the kind of innovation wave that is now helping electronic products conquer the private sector.