Today’s smart bathrooms run the gamut from biophilic sanctuary to sleek, tech-enabled retreat. The latest gadgets and products feature high on clients’ wish lists and for designers and architects, it’s that one room in the house where they can go a little crazy. This is often the space where those much-loved vintage tiles that don’t fit anywhere else find themselves or where an odd light fitting works best. It’s also possible to have fun with custom finishes, details and fittings, in order to make a statement.
This is very much the case with the bathrooms in SJB’s new Clarion mixed-use development, which includes 18 apartments, in Sydney’s Alexandria. The architects used a heavily patterned grey, green and white marble for the vanity, which they also installed as island benches in the kitchen. While it lends each apartment’s interior a sense of cohesion, it makes these two rooms especially hard to overlook. In the bathroom, the marble ties in well with the terrazzo floors, timber window reveals and greenery, producing an incredibly appealing biophilic expression. Elements of nature are also the inspiration behind Kohler’s latest collection of artist edition basins.
The four models are a collaboration between the bathroom products manufacturer and US-based artist Ashley Woodson Bailey, who was inspired by 17th-century Dutch masters. They add a bold yet contained decorative flourish, generating even more curiosity because of the processes behind their making, which begin with a 3D arrangement that’s developed into a sketch and then hand-applied before firing.
Yet not all surfaces have to be dramatic to be noticed, certainly the beauty in Caesarstone’s new Metropolitan Collection is its ability to provide an elegant backdrop for custom features or heavily detailed fixtures. The technology behind the concrete-inspired finishes means its non-porous surface is high-performing and works well poolside, in bathrooms and other wet areas.
Functionality considerations are paramount in the smallest room in the house and these days, there’s seemingly no product that hasn’t been tech-enabled in order to make life just that bit easier. From glass that shifts between transparent and opaque and underfloor heating to voice-activated appliances and fixtures made all the more accessible with the rise in popularity of Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. For internal bathrooms with no windows, there’s even a lighting system that reproduces the effect of natural sunlight. Produced by Italian company CoeLux, the product of the same name incorporates LED technology that reproduces sunlight’s spectrum and brightness.
Axor’s new PowderRain showerhead supports the bathroom as sanctuary trend with an offering developed in the Hansgrohe sound laboratory that’s splash-free and quiet. The jet emits thousands of micro-fine droplets and is also environmentally friendly because it reduces water consumption. Any bathroom manufacturer would be remiss to not engineer products with water-saving technologies and this area of research and development is where many excel. Such water-saving features aren’t usually the first thing to be highlighted in the catalogue, which is interesting. But this could simply be a positive sign of the times in which sustainable practice is now commonplace (as it should be).
In regards to questions of hygiene, the toilet is something that has to be discussed and with so many new ranges available, the task of selection isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. Veil by Kohler is about as high-tech as a toilet can get and its built-in UV cleaning bidet, touchless flushing and one-touch remote control make it incredibly appealing as a low-maintenance, high-performance fixture. There’s something to be said for a bathroom that looks good and functions efficiently because of the sense of comfort it elicits and at the end of the day, that’s really what it’s all about.
Photography courtesy Caesarstone, Kohler and SJB.
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Tags: Amazon, Anson Smart, Ashley Woodson Bailey, axor, bathroom design, caesarstone, Google, Habitus 44, hansgrohe, Interior Design, kitchen and bathroom, Kohler, leanne amodeo, SJB, Smarter Bathrooms