This spring, many German sanitaryware manufacturers who develop products for “in front of the wall” didn’t just launch numerous products to fill gaps in their range: the abundance of new launches included some genuine innovations as well. With Selv, for instance, Dornbracht presented an innovative new series of fittings that undoubtedly has what it takes to become a bestseller à la Tara.
When it comes to the presentation of their new launches, manufacturers are always mindful of bathroom planners as well, with the result that some of the products feature really great details for making the day-to-day lives of plumbers and planners easier. They include aids for installing sanitaryware, for instance, such as Bette’s upstand, which is set to make cracked and mouldy silicone joints a thing of the past. The enamelled upstand means Bette’s baths and shower trays can be installed entirely without silicone and is intended to provide an enduringly aesthetic, hygienic and easy-to-clean solution – complete with soundproofing.
There are some interesting new developments in the shower segment too. Kaldewei, for instance, presented its enamelled shower floor panel Design Study 2012. The panel is intended to blend in seamlessly with the bathroom floor: the outlet is discretely integrated into the wall, leaving the surface of the panel totally uninterrupted. Geberit is pursuing a similar course: the drain is no longer located on the floor of the shower, but installed in the wall instead. This is intended to simplify the construction of the floor and means all the drinking water and drainage technology can be laid on one and the same level.
“Techness” is turning into a bathroom megatrend. Almost every function in the bathroom has meanwhile been digitised in one form or another and can be activated at the push of a button. Kaldewei is now offering its first electronic fitting with a digital, user-friendly control panel that regulates the running, draining and temperature of the water, as well as activating the shower or bath function. The pause function of Grohe’s K7 F-digital kitchen faucet is a real bonus that allows the faucet to be switched off and on again quickly and easily: the user simply has to push a button to stop the flow of water and restart it with the same intensity and temperature as before – thus saving both water and energy when doing the dishes. In addition, the control panel can be positioned anywhere on the worktop – never again will you have to put your hand through the running water in order to turn it off. And there is an ingenious new product in the field of toilet hygiene too: a wave of the hand is all it takes for Geberit’s new Sigma80 actuator plate to trigger the toilet flush. The elegant glass surface, which is available with a black or mirrored finish, contains two slender light fields for the full and economy flush functions that light up as the user approaches the toilet. When he waves his hand in front of one of the two lights, he triggers the desired flush option without having to touch the panel and the light confirms his command.
When it comes to design, it is often the most unassuming ideas that make the biggest impact. Roth’s Mirastar glass showers, for instance, are now bringing a reflective gleam to the bathroom: the panels of single-pane safety glass are available with an all-over Mirastar chrome mirror finish. Because the mirror makes the room seem larger, the shower gives even a small bathroom a more spacious feel. Besides conjuring up a cosy atmosphere, Duravit’s Delos range of bathroom furniture offers a wealth of innovative features too – such as the filigree light canopy (a storage surface made of extra-white glass without the usual green edge) or an intelligent system of interior fittings. With its new One bathtub, Bette seems to be exploring the physical limits of the steel enamel material it is made of. The reward for this masterpiece of manufacturing technology is a 28-cm-high edge, a first in the category of steel enamel tubs. Thanks to LED technology, mirror cabinets are becoming increasingly elegant, ergonomic and efficient, as is demonstrated by the new models from Keuco, Emco or Duravit. Burgbad has developed a special app that displays the news, traffic info, appointments, e-mails, weather forecast and even the user’s blood pressure reading on the mirror cabinet. Developed by Burgbad for the iPhone4S and iPad2, it bundles together the most important information you need to start your day – all in a single app. It only takes one touch and, like a remote control, your mobile companion puts the news, weather and so on right onto your bathroom mirror.
But manufacturers are also embracing various special themes and taking their cues from the needs dictated by the market: there are fun comic fittings (Franke), a children’s toilet seat that looks like a turtle (Keramag), or even a new sampling valve for legionella testing from Schell.
The innovativeness of the sanitary industry is certainly impressive, as the following selection of examples goes to show. Duravit’s Architect Dry urinal flushes without any water whatsoever thanks to a hose membrane that is integrated into the outlet and only opens when urine flows through. It then closes again to keep unpleasant sewer odours at bay. A freshness system by the name of KeraFresh is now available for the urinal in Keramag’s Renova Nr. 1 Plan series and is intended to ensure a pleasant indoor climate in larger-scale sanitary installations. The clean, invisible and vandal-proof system for integrating hygiene sticks into the cistern is meant to replace the sometimes rather unhygienic deodoriser blocks conventionally used. With its newly presented luxury bath lift, Austrian sanitaryware manufacturer Artweger wants to make it easier for buyers of its Twinline shower-bath combination to sit down and get up again. The lift can be retrofitted (pre-fitting required) and thus stands for a new generation of intelligent sanitaryware products for the elderly. Swiss sanitaryware manufacturer Laufen has developed a new generation of ceramics. As compared to conventional bathroom ceramics, the new material claims to permit much thinner walls and more sharply defined edges. The first serially produced washbasins are to be launched at the ISH 2013. Sounds exciting!
All in all, it was a fantastic spring for new product launches. Villeroy & Boch presented a new bathtub collection by the name of Loop & Friends consisting of no fewer than 22 different models, and Hansa has reworked several of its fittings collections. With many of the new products, their genuine added value only becomes apparent at second glance.