What goes into planning modern and smart bathrooms?

What goes into planning modern and smart bathrooms?

Here’s a space that can be efficient, smart, stylish and high on aesthetics. It’s no longer just a functional spacebut a haven to relax and rejuvenate.Focused on hygiene, sustainable in functioning and a perfect blend of style and comfort – no, we are not talking about the bedroombut the ba...

Here’s a space that can be efficient, smart, stylish and high on aesthetics. It’s no longer just a functional spacebut a haven to relax and rejuvenate.Focused on hygiene, sustainable in functioning and a perfect blend of style and comfort – no, we are not talking about the bedroombut the bathroom! What the client wants The needs and requirements of clients constantly change. While this is assumed to be majorly governed by trends, in many cases when it comes to bathrooms, it is also the final image of the house that guides the client to make specific stipulations in terms of material and the fabric to be used and dimensions for the curtains. There has undoubtedly been a general arc of evolution when it comes to the mindset of clients, says Sumit Dhawan, Founder & Principal Architect, Cityspace ‘82 Architects. He recalls that a decade ago, bathrooms were a hidden topic of conversation. Clients would call for a simple and no-frills bathroom to meet basic shower, toilet and basin requirements. They would not care if the geyser were visible or if the toilet stands bought were of a slightly lower quality. “These days,” he says,“people want their bathrooms to be a paradise with the right colour schemes, tones and equipment. More important, they want them to be a point of pride in sleekness and sophistication with items concealed. Clients are also calling for additional services to be incorporated, such as having a steam and sauna. Everything in a modern bathroom needs to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing while a decade ago, it just needed to be highly utilitarian.” Smitha Zachariah, Creative Head, ZxP Design, believes there is a growing awareness about what’s available in terms of function as well as beautiful designs for bathrooms. “Bathrooms nowadays are not just functional but also thematic, so there is a variety of options to consider when it comes to designing of faucets, showerheads and other fixtures.” And Jitesh Donga, Chief of Design, Mahindra Lifespaces, shares, “Homebuyers have become more aware about categories of fittings and fixtures available in terms of finish, function and aesthetics. There is strong demand for the best in the product segment, both in terms of aesthetics and functionality. The ‘His ‘n’ Hers’ concept is now quite common in premium and luxury projects.” Going forward,bathroom fixtures will be more minimalistic, predicts Pooja Bihani, Founder, Spaces & Design. “The number of fixtures added to bathrooms will be well thought out. For instance, a hand shower can work as a means to fill the bucket so the puncture needed for taps is not that necessary.” Such an approach, over time, has seen better response from clients. Indeed, the Indian bathroom fixtures market has seen steady growth over the past few years with the change in consumer preferences and a demand trajectory towards luxury housing offerings. “Bathrooms in contemporary Indian households are embellished with fittings and interiors to become a style statement,” says Anjali K, AGM-Design and Architecture, Sattva Group. “The Indian real-estate industry is addressing the demand for built-up, ready-to-move projects from a variety of segments, such as offices, housing units, shopping malls, hospitality, manufacturing and logistics facilities.” She shares that with evolving consumer preferences and needs, the housing industry is also undergoing significant growth, thereby fuelling demand for bathroom fixtures, which form an integral part of modern-day infrastructure. Essential elements Bathrooms tend to be the smallest rooms within a home, yet are personal, intimate spaces. “Space utilisation and the utility of fixtures are key for design,” says Donga. For Bihani, the layout plays an important role in deciding the key elements of the space. “The plumbing lines, fixtures like the washbasin, counter and WC and their layout help determine various aspects of the design. Also, the elevation of the bathroom plays a key role in deciding fixtures and decor elements within the space.” Zachariah points to her two most important considerations: function and mood. “The design of a powder bathroom can be fun, thematic or something unexpected,” she says. “Meanwhile, for a master bathroom ,you do not want it to be unexpected but rather familiar, more like a place where you can relax.” All considered, there are multiple elements that dictate the essentials for bathroom interiors such as space, circulation, plumbing fixture locations, lighting, grab bars and shelves. Sharing the Sattva approach,Anjali K says,“The most essential element we follow isunderstanding our customer’s needs and translating the smallest of these into satisfactory reality.” She adds that for design aesthetics, it is vital to have a great layout, which is the foundation of a well-designed bathroom. This is followed by the right bathroom basin that will fit well into the space and offer aesthetics as well as functionality, as per the customer’s needs. All this, along with the selection of taps, vanity, shower, bath, tiles and mirrors, plays a vital role in bathroom interiors. Further, designing a bathroom also requires aligning its elements with various factors. These include the bathroom layout –before searching for statement tiles and dream accents, the bathroom’s layoutmust be carefully considered. Along with ace lighting, one must also be space-smart and work with the interior style and storage. Bathroom design can be both daunting and fun –Dhawan believes it just needs to be divided in a more palatable way. “Of course, having the basics such as a sink, toilet and shower in place is essential. However, depending on the context and location of the bath, these essentials can be changed.” He adds that in most of his projects, state-of-the-art accessories and amenities such as vanity,closet, double sink, huge mirrors and storage cabinets in the master bathrooms are considered. “The master baths are usually the most elaborate. We try to adorn them with marble and wooden fixtures. As we move down the hierarchy of the baths, the secondary bathroom is relatively more superficial than the master bath. As they are tied to a bedroom, these baths are supposed to be fuss-free, with a shower, tub, maybe a single vanity and a toilet. At the bottom of the rung, we have the half baths or the powder rooms, which only include a toilet andvanity. Of course, the aesthetics of all these bathrooms need to be top-notch, with the master baths having murals and extra storage space.” Focus on conserving water Evidently, the growing influence of sustainability and green design are driving trends and reshaping interiors. Mamta Rawat, Partner, Conserve Consultants, says, “Water-efficient plumbing fixtures contribute significantly towardsindoor water conservation.” She adds thatgreen buildings lay emphasis on benchmarks and help with the selection guidelines maintaining user comforts. According to Donga,low-flow fixtures are the most appropriate and are gaining popularity owing to growing consumer awareness.“An added advantage to the savings on water and energy is the fact that they are increasingly available in a variety of colours and styles, which is appreciated by users.” Speaking of recent trends, Anjali K points tothe use of water-efficient fixtures whose flow rate meets the baseline criteria and pressure-regulating devices to maintain optimal pressure and prevent water loss. Bihani adds to the list, sharing,“Foam health faucets help conserve water by diluting the water stream with air. In standalone houses and bungalows, heat pumps and centralised pressure pumps can be used instead of geysers as they provide water at a regulated temperature efficiently, without any wastage.” For her part, Zachariah says,“High-quality faucets with aerators control water flow and prevent wastage of water.”There are many ways to save water and energy without replacing your water heater, including insulating pipes and the heater itself. Light it up! With lighting, too, there is no one-size-fits-all idea that can be implemented. Natural lighting concepts are not new and bathroom windows have been growing in popularity. “There is just something special when it comes to soaking in the sunrays in the morning,”remarks Dhawan.He works on projects that are vast and commodious in nature and says, “To make the bathroom feel more expansive in nature, there should be an illuminated bathroom mirror, with perimeter lighting around it to make it seem more open and brighter. Consider deeper tones and colours offset by industrial-style light fixtures if the bathroom has the space. The characteristic black pipe-style finishing adds a bold touch to give the bathroom an adventurous, contemporary feel.” For Donga,lighting plays an important part in bathrooms, both from a utility perspective and to create a sense of depth and/or spaciousness. “The intensity and type of lighting can determine whether a bathroom feels lively and energising, or relaxing and therapeutic. It is also important to consider the amount of natural light as this will help plan the lighting scheme.” For Anjali K, the preference has been forbathroom lighting that provides both design and functionality. She shares that dimmable light fixtures and LED lighting are trending. Bihani mentions that task lights over washbasins and WCs can be used to add to the functionality of the space. Additionally, shower mirrors, shower speakers, steam showers and a TV in the shower are among the newest entrants in the market with upgraded technology and help in enhancing the value of the space and getting lighting to align with the design. To conserve energy, efficient lights and smart bulbs can be used as they last longer and the brightness level can be adjusted to suit requirements. Rawat says, “Computer-based simulations help projects decide the specifications for selecting lighting to impact energy efficiency and user comfort.” Zachariah adds, “With their minimalist style, LED energy-saving bulbs look great in the bathroom, and are practical as well as decorative.” Certainly,a mix of different types of lighting can enhance the relaxing vibe of the bathroom and make it feel elegant and luxurious. For manufacturers to consider! Evidently, manufacturers of bathroom products have been consistently and constantly innovating. Most leading brands already offer some incredible services that make the architect’s work more manageable. What’s on demand in terms of future services? Dhawan:“Welook forward to seeing some touchless fixtures that can easily be applied for a more residential context in terms of bathroom fixtures. Most bathroom fixtures have been white for many years, as it was the most accepted colour. But now, some homeowners want a spa-like feel and manufacturers have started introducing fixtures in different colours. In conjunction with this, we hope to see some bright pops of colour for a maximalist bathroom as well. Further, one way to reduce water consumption when taking a shower is to release a more powerful spray. These showerheads do not compromise on the force of the spray but reduce the amount of water used.” Rawat:“Many brands in India are providing fixtures surpassing green benchmarks. In post-COVID times, many clients prefer smart/no-touch assemblies.” Zachariah:“I would like to see more smart technology integrated intobathroom fixtures like temperature-controlled bidets with water sensors.” Bihani:“Over the past two to three months, there have been issues with the supply chain, making it difficult to source fixtures on time. Better availability of materials is one of the services that can be improved upon. Also, a greater number of options in neutral, beige and earthy tones of sanitaryware is needed as per current client preferences. The future bathroom With increasing dynamism in lifestyles, spaces and homes are evolving as well. Bathrooms have now become integral parts of homes –spaces of recreation as well as spheres in which time at home is spent. We asked our experts how they visualise the bathroom of the future in India and gathered some interesting responses. In Dhawan’s view,“While efficiency and minimalism abound, the modern Indian bathroom does not dismiss a traditional aesthetic. A wall-hung toilet with its rectangular skirted design stands out in any décor and is packed with ground-breaking flushing and anti-microbial technologies.” Donga is confident about the focus being on alternative materials to reduce cost and maintenance requirements. Futuristic bathroom fittings are in demand in India but largely limited to the luxury or individual villa segments. For large affordable and premium developments, he believes the focus will continue to be on a mix of functionality, aesthetics and resource savings. According to Rawat,awareness and initiatives on water conservation and holistic sustainability will multiply each passing day in India. Low-flow and low-flush bathroom fixtures contribute significantly towards this. Most modern bathrooms have adapted to the concept of recycled water usage. For Anjali K, with the introduction of new, smart technological advancements, the future bathroom is set to become much smarter, interactive and luxurious. For her part,Bihanibelieves bathrooms are likely to be minimalistic and energy-efficient, and incorporate smart technology adding to the functionality as well as aesthetic of the interiors. Zachariah concludes by saying thatmuch more attention to detail will be given to bathroom interiors and fixtures. Since COVID-19, people are more conscious of the spaces in their homes, especially bathrooms, and hence there will be increased demand for design options, particularly in bathroom fixtures. Evidently, bathrooms have become an integral part of home design and the market is transforming to keep abreast with ever-evolving consumer demands –wellness trends, changing family structures and the influx of global aesthetics will all have an impact on evolved bathroom design. - SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN Interactive baths In the West, demand has been growing for interactive makeup mirrors, chromotherapy showers, no-touch faucets and smart showers. What is the scenario in India like? Here, there is a demand and growing use of defrosting mirrors that are used to eliminate condensation from mirrors, thereby enhancing visibility, says Pooja Bihani, Founder, Spaces & Design. “Also, intelligent WCs with temperature sensors, controlled water pressure and temperature regulated bidet add to smart bathroom technology.” Anjali K, AGM- Design and Architecture, Sattva Group, alsobelievesthat demand for interactive mirrors is growing in India. “These are a frameless solution, ready to integrate into both modern and traditional bathroom interiors.” She adds that, today, bathrooms have become an avenue of technology on a par with hometheatres. With COVID, the advent of no-touch faucets has emerged, where the valve engages the flow of water through a rubber-like disc. “When the sensor does not detect a signal, the valve remains closed so no water flows through the faucet. Touchless faucets can be used in kitchens or bathroom sink cleaners and are easier to use. This eliminates the worry of spreading germs or bacteria to other people in the household.” She also shares that taking the concept of a digital shower a step further, a smart shower allows the user to fully control every aspect of the showering experience, including temperature, flow, duration and outlet, from the phone or even through voice activation when paired with a smart home system. Innovations in the bathroom world make things easier to use and stunning to look at, says Sumit Dhawan, Founder & Principal Architect, Cityspace ‘82 Architects.“The latest innovation in shower design eliminates enclosures so that the shower becomes more a part of the room. Radiant heating is a critical element in new bath design. It is used to heat the floor, towels or the air. New radiant heaters have a modern, sculptural look.” Meet the modern bath! The year 2021 was full of challenges and new developments but as the months have gone by, the latest trends in terms of modern bathroom fixtures have come to stay.Sumit Dhawan, Founder & Principal Architect, Cityspace ‘82 Architects,lists a few: A bathroom classic that tops the charts time and again when it comes to trends is a freestanding bathtub and sink. This classic can be easily adapted to fit any aesthetic. A modern aesthetic with resin can be utilised or copper accents can be integrated for a more vintage vibe.Bathroom accent walls have been gaining importance. They provide a centralised location for the focus to be drawn upon naturally. They can highlight other luxurious aspects of the bath, such as a double vanity or jacuzzi.Last, and most important, heated bathroom floors are something of a timeless and opulent tradition that can be included in modern bathrooms. Heated floors come in two variants: hydronic,which is a more updated version of roman technology that requires installing the entire house with the floor heating system and comprises rubber tubes that circulate the heat from your water heater; and electric,where a thin panel the size of an electric blanket is installed under the floor and controlled by your thermostat.

Related Stories

Gold Stories

Hi There!

Now get regular updates from CW Magazine on WhatsApp!

Click on link below, message us with a simple hi, and SAVE our number

You will have subscribed to our Construction News on Whatsapp! Enjoy

+91 81086 03000

Join us Telegram