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Sun 1 Apr 2007 03:18 PM

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Creative solutions for bathrooms

New trends revealed at ISH Kitchen and Bathroom exhibition.

Creative solutions for bathrooms was the theme at the ISH Kitchen and Bathroom exhibition in Frankfurt last month. The exhibitors also pushed the boundaries of technology with architecturally designed stands showcasing their latest products. The Duravit display designed by architect Schmutz & Partner of Stuttgart extended over 1,000m² while the Hansgrohe stand combined work with pleasure by incorporating a café and evening entertainment alongside its award winning products.

Making an impact was the order of the day, not just at the stands but at the launch of thousands of bathroom products. The 1,200m² Grohe stand designed by Munich-based architect, Schmidhuber & Partner, showcased a plethora of new products including two Grohe Rapido concealed solutions for mixers and thermostats; Aria, the new two-handle faucet line and a number of products that add to the Rainshower range, including the Rustic Design line and the Rainshower Diverter.

Roca presented more than 1500 references of products, including its new collections; the vitreous china ranges HALL and hydrotherapy columns NEO 2 and NEO 4. Xavier Torras, brand and communication director, Roca said: "Manufacturers continued to offer products that met the needs of the consumer, combining functionality and design elements. At ISH we exposed offers of colours, forms and different styles including minimalist and organic looks and increased our emphasis on electronics especially in the products related to water. We placed particular importance on improving comfort and quality of life."

Technology was a clear trend at the show, with particular emphasis on light. Franz Kook, management board chairman of Duravit AG said: "The creative possibilities in the bathroom will become more and more varied and when it comes to lighting will encompass state of the art lighting and electronic technology." Duravit showcased its e-mood range which combines bathroom furniture along with a unique lighting concept that takes into consideration all of the lighting requirements for new bathrooms and renovation projects. The Raindance Rainfall shower, from Hansgrohe, is the winner of the Design Plus Prize. It incorporates a lighting fixture to enhance bathroom experiences.

Geberit combined infrared lighting in its HyTronic electronic taps. Guy Wilson, regional manager, Geberit said: "It is clear from our perspective that technology will play an increasing role in the bathroom of the future as manufacturers expand upon the concept of the bathroom as an extension of the living space."

Andreas Dornbracht of Dornbracht warned interior designers to be discerning of certain developments in technology: "Mechanical processes are becoming more electronic with greater integration of new media in bathroom products. Many of the technical features employed, particularly the electronic ones are still too gimmicky in their application."

The show maintained a strong emphasis on saving water and natural resources with Hansgrohe launching a new generation of Rubit aerators which enrich water with air to both save water and reduce the build-up of limescale. Dornbracht displayed alternative materials such as concretes, natural stones, wood and metals including aluminum, in addition to standard ceramics and acrylics. Said Dornbracht: "Traditional white and chrome are not just emphasised by natural materials as they are today but increasingly by fresh colours as well."

As budget remains an important aspect of any project, Duravit demonstrated that its products can be used to suit even the tightest of budgets by displaying its top quality products in the form of the Vero washbasin alongside its new D-Code range, a simple clean cut design featuring washbasins, toilets, baths, furniture and accessories at prices usually reserved for no-name products.

If you can't wait until 2009 for the next ISH, ensure you visit ISH in Dubai 13-15th May 2007.

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