Cover image: TapItalia

Ideally, when searching for new bathroom trends longevity is a major consideration. Shell finishes, fixtures, fittings and hardware should stand the test of time in terms of both design and quality.

Fleeting fads quickly lose their appeal and homeowners are becoming more conscious of aesthetically pleasing, classic designs that won’t date before they wear out. South Africans value high quality, stylish and practical products at affordable prices; especially those that are easy to install and maintain.

As is the case with kitchens, and given the marked increase in the popularity of bathroom design, here we showcase trends for the last quarter of 2017. So overall, what’s innovative and most highly sought after in this most personal space?

Lynne Mausenbaum of Linea Brigio says: ‘There’s a trend towards the Scandinavian style in terms of refined and very slim lines. However, the overall feel is still generous in its proportions. Gentle colours are being introduced into some sanware and in a very subtle way; the look is muted and understated. Basins are becoming thinner and appear more delicate. New technology has enabled manufacturers to develop such products, which are slender yet durable, so while the aesthetics portray a softer form the geometry is still dominant.

‘For tapware, finishes in a wide range of colours are becoming popular with black being the big trend. Rose gold and raw brass are still in the mix and tend to be used in focal areas such as guest cloakrooms.’

‘The expected look and feel for 2017 / ’18 is for defiantly precise geometric forms, selected materials and soft, matt colours and textures,’ so says Karen Robyn of Duravit SA.

For Duravit, the Danish designer Cecilie Manz has combined Nordic design with new technologies, colours and materials, which are impressive in terms of both look and feel. There are finer forms involving a newly developed, innovative material called DuraCeram®, which is thinner and notable for its extreme accuracy, high strength and elegant finish. The oval above-counter basins impress with subtle lines, generous inner basins, and clean edges. This collection called Luv also offers no-nonsense bathtubs that are based on the shape of the wash bowls; seamless, and made from DuraSolid A, they offer a pleasantly warm feel and high-quality matt look.

It’s a given. In 2017 more people are opting for natural, organic looking finishes, gravitating towards almost a day spa feel in high-end bathrooms. There’s a shift away from chrome and porcelain into natural stone, and timber surfaces for cabinetry and vanities and – as with kitchens – the trend for finely detailed mixed metals is apparent and appears to be growing. There’s also a definitive move towards matt, satin or burnished surfaces for tapware and bathroom fixtures; and dual finishes such as combining matt black with rose gold, copper or brass.

Nicole Russell of Italtile expands on the 2017 / ‘18 signature: ‘Look out for super clean colours, seamless lines, a practical and simple arrangement of spaces, but with a dash of organic luxury and elegance. The collation of wood and stone may seem a bold move, but we are seeing it increasingly; it’s easily combinative and suitable for many variations of design – a modernist yet homely composition. Wood look tiles and stone replica / screed tiles can help create this signature and timeless materials are bringing back the domain of nature; which again sees the wood look tile as being a major player in this segment. Lastly, matt black – for baths, basins, taps, accessories and soft finishes – is the new black.’

So, which colours and textures will continue to trend in 2018?

‘The textured, 3D look is very on trend now in terms of wall coverings. Walls in glossy finish remain a regular selection as they help create the impression of larger spaces due to their reflectivity. Matt floor tiles seem in high demand as homeowners are steering away from the glossy finishes seen in car showrooms and shopping malls. In terms of colour, light grey with a warm undertone helps provide the ever popular neutral palette,’ says Monika Krolewicz from Ferreira’s Tile + Bathroom.

‘The natural stone / wood and marble look remain very much to the fore and the timeless signature of these tiles helps retain their popularity. But we should not be afraid of colour. Elegant pops of colour help introduce a youthful exuberance and avoid the bathroom becoming too clinical.’

Hardware à la Mode

Matt black hardware is no longer a trend, but has become an integral element of 2017 bathroom design. Its acceptance has evolved from a whim to something of a much-needed desire and the options are many and varied. Meanwhile, brass is a more recent ‘back to the future’ look that infiltrated the market during 2016 / ‘17. Brass is appreciated by interior designers and architects because it can produce stunningly creative results via considerable versatility in styling. It’s a trend that is likely set to flourish.

Christelle Steyn of Trend Lifestyle Ceramics expands this view: ‘We see more combinations of matt and metallic and as a foil, marble mixed with cement looks and cement looks mixed with metallic, and wood combined with either metallic or marble.

‘Taps are available in gloss white, matt white, gloss and matt black, satin chrome, bright chrome and steel, rose gold, gold, brass and matt gold and there are even taps with marble bodies. Best for bathrooms are new smart control taps, where the temperature is preset and especially helpful with children and the elderly. 2018 R&D will continue to work on water and energy saving technology and we now see lead free and zinc free materials being used. What’s really exciting is that a range of accessories is available in the different finishes listed.’

Statement Sanware

Basins that create a focal point can become something of a sculptural statement in bathrooms and guest bathrooms. They are now available in sealed hardwoods, engineered stone, marble, granite composites, sandstone and glass in addition to long-accepted ceramic and porcelain. The authentic natural granite option is literally carved out of a granite block and is akin to a piece of art, which is used daily. Colour-wise, black or black / white combination basins are expected to rise up the scale; likely in combination with black tapware.

In summing up Arief Jooma of Classic Trading itemises certain choice bathroom fixtures and fittings for 2018: ‘Future trends may include colour textured taps from a number of suppliers, a freestanding Boutique Bath with freestanding bath mixer from Hansgrohe and a wood look floor tile from Porcelanosa (a European leader in tiles synonymous with design and quality).

‘Or select rose gold for tap fittings with white and / or earthy tones for tiling. The latest European trend features elegant thin-rim basins; they’re slim, sleek, sophisticated and are available in a range of sizes to fit any high-end bathroom specification.’

Gabriel Hugo from LYT Architecture on behalf of Bathroom Butler has the last word: ‘The bathroom has evolved from a functional space to a room to be designed and enjoyed, as any other room in the modern home. Some of the highlights on current and upcoming trends include the incorporation of furniture.

‘Colour-wise, there is a gradual move away from predominant grey tones, with warmer beiges and terracottas being introduced in the form of tiling and coloured sanware. This trend also extends to taps and accessories in ranges of warm metallic gold tones, such as polished brass and brushed bronze, or even matt black. There is a resurgence of ‘70’s-style block-colour combinations in muted autumn tones, particularly evident in the new tile trends with smaller format, bold graphic patterning.’

High-end bathrooms should be oases of individual tranquillity. There is no doubt that in 2017 / ‘18 South Africa the necessary ingredients exist to create a very pleasing end result. May there be joy in the making.

For the full article see Habitat #261 September / October 2017


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