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Fri 1 Jun 2007 12:00 AM

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Bathroom trends: current, popular and permanent

Bathrooms have undergone one of the biggest transformations in an interior designer's portfolio.

Bathrooms have undergone one of the biggest transformations in an interior designer's portfolio. Behind a door in a condensed 4m² room, there once stood a simple ceramic washbasin, toilet and bath with overhead shower.

Today, however, not only has the space allocated to the bathroom slowly encroached on the living area, but the barriers dividing the bathing space from the bedroom have been abandoned completely. Basins and toilets are increasingly wall-hung; showers have been awarded their own enclosures, or complete wetrooms and integrating technology is now de rigueur.

There are two schools of thought dominating bathroom design. The first is an increased sense of nurture and wellness, spearheaded by manufacturers offering baths with whirlpool settings; rainshowers; water tiles; toilets with bidet functions such as Geberit's and Roca's shower toilets. The key to this design movement is enabling relaxation and rejuvination in an otherwise busy lifestyle.

The other dominant trend is the move towards eco-responsibility. The bathroom is the one area where water-saving solutions can have a real impact on the environment.

Companies are introducing automatic taps with infra-red sensors; showers that combine air and water and toilets with a choice of three and six litre flushes. Major manufacturers boast of healthy research and development budgets and teams who are continuously working to produce more sustainable eco-friendly products. Redirecting used shower water to the toilet cistern is an area that many companies are attempting to conquer currently, and when an economically-viable solution is found, we anticipate that many hotels and hospitality projects will utilise this in their properties.

Whilst compiling this supplement; gathering the newest products; meeting the manufacturers, and viewing the latest launches, the number of designer products on the market struck us an additional area of growth in the bathroom sector. Car designer Pininfarina, product designer Philippe Starck and architects: Jean Nouvel, William Sawaya, Wiel Arets and Matteo Thun, have all designed ranges for bathroom companies. Their talents for sleek, functional forms are transferred from striking buildings and machinery to minimalistic chrome and ceramic shapes that will undoubtedly dominate bathrooms across the Middle East.

This bathroom special proves that good design can be eco-friendly, high-quality, and more importantly, available to commercial interior designers in the GCC.

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