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FIXTURES & FINISHES


Creating a smart spa


GROHE UK’s Michael Gray discusses the growing trend for including smart technology to help create a spa-like haven in the bathroom, and the types of solutions available


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mart technology should be considered in any new bathroom design, particularly as more and more homeowners and designers are now looking to use the space as a personal haven to unwind and relax. Many smart products are now available in the bathroom from shower toilets, to spa- like showers controlled by Bluetooth technology, helping to create the perfect home spa bathroom.


This trend is driven by increasingly busy lifestyles, and the desire for not only an optimised user experience, but one that is personalised to an individual’s preferences. As well as creating personal, luxuriously tailored experiences for the user, the smart home will be able to make resource management really efficient – saving water and energy without impacting on product performance and enjoyment.


SHOWER TOILETS


Shower toilets are the norm in Asia and now there is an increasing demand for these hygienic toilet systems in Europe, in both hotels and homes. Shower toilets feature an integrated bidet system and are designed to harness the gentle and effective cleansing benefits of water to help deliver optimum hygiene levels in the bathroom, and often come with a host of advanced features. Thanks to the gentle and natural cleansing process, the need for toilet paper is eliminated, thus the systems can offer excellent eco- credentials.


Certain shower toilets offer smart technology, including extensive options that allow users to create a personalised cleansing routine, including adjusting the water pressure and position of the spray arm, to the preferred temperature, spray pattern and cleansing cycle. The individual settings can be controlled intuitively using either the remote control or via an app which allows users to store all their favourite settings on a digital device. Some brands have also taken into consideration common issues for users, such as having to go to the toilet at night, and have


march/april 2018


combatted this by designing toilets with incorporated LED lighting.


TAPS


Already a well-known feature in public and commercial washrooms, touchless taps are now gaining popularity in residential bathrooms due to their unique combination of comfort and hygiene thanks to hands-free activation. Through the touchless, sensor activated control, the taps minimise the spread of bacteria to contribute to a healthy bathroom. This also helps to keep the tap sparkling clean for longer, reducing maintenance and maximising product life. They also often come with a timer which automatically stops the water flow after a desired length of time to reduce wastage.


SHOWERS


Many people planning a bathroom today also want to take their future needs and requirements into account without compromising on contemporary, stylish design. Driven by demographic change, demand for “multi-generational bathrooms” continues to increase. Wet rooms are a popular feature in the modern bathroom as they are spacious


and provide easy access for all users. There is also a growing need for thermostatic shower control to ensure precise and safe user comfort. Look out for manufacturers that offer thermostatic technology to deliver maximum safety levels in the bathroom. This can include technology that balances out fluctuations in water temperature and pressure, and technology that ensures the outer surface of the shower remains cool to eliminate the risk of scalding.


Luxury hotel bathrooms often make a statement using products that encourage wellbeing and promote a space of relaxation, and homeowners are being inspired to emulate this in their own homes. As a result, there is a huge array of wellness products now available, including showers with mood lighting, steam functions and music controlled by Bluetooth. Oversized ‘statement’ showerheads are also available, alongside products that offer a range of spray patterns designed to suit the user’s needs, with side shower sprays offering the opportunity for a massaging showering experience.


For smaller budgets, showering products are available that offer multiple


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