The demands of the bathroom have evolved over the course of the last century. No longer just a room of utility, the bathroom has become a place of innovation and luxury, a sanctuary — and a medium for representing personal style through a curated selection of products.
This newly-defined space and its developments significantly impact the role of the plumbing contractor. Contractors must understand not only the lifestyle requirements of the customer, but also the products that will best support that lifestyle. The more expertise the contractor has in regard to bath trends now results in a more individualized design experience for the customer. In-depth knowledge of the latest trends elevates the customer experience and the potential for increased volume and frequency of sales for the contractor.
In recent years, the emphasis on bathroom layout and functionality has played a significant role in the development of the bathroom furniture category. Changing the tone from purely utilitarian to experiential, providing storage, and allowing for an individualized experience, bathroom furniture has become a critical component in bringing lifestyle and personality into design.
Cabinetry, vanities, and mirror systems have been at the top of the list for creating these newly inspired spaces. Complemented by trends in technology, bathroom furniture has become a key feature for enhancing both luxury and productivity, providing easy-to-use, ageless features such as built-in outlets, Bluetooth technology, leather-lined drawers and crystal tempered shelves.
These trends have been brought to life at Duravit, as we prepare to celebrate our 35th anniversary in the bathroom furniture business; a fraction of Duravit’s 200 years in the industry. Our initial priority in furniture design was to add ease and convenience (both in installation and function) in bathroom settings. However, we soon realized that bathroom furniture could do more for our clients: it could support and enhance their lifestyles.
Relationships with designers further differentiate our products, allowing us to offer full suite collections of Duravit products. Philippe Starck, Phoenix Design, Matteo Thun, and EOOS, among others, have all been very much a part of our furniture story, providing fashion forward and distinct furniture pieces that provide continuity and a defined aesthetic throughout the bathroom space.
Duravit collections are designed to provide options that satisfy the needs of any client — from the clean, geometric variations of L-Cube’s vanities, available in over 30 finishes, to the picnic-table inspired styling of the Cape Cod Collection, innovation, lifestyle, and individualization are all prioritized. A developing culture around luxury and spa-like experiences in the home has embraced these more recent additions to the market.
Consumers are now seeking both the enjoyment factor of a luxe bath replete with all of today’s technology driven solutions, as well as the productivity and efficiency-enhancing opportunities of a well-planned space.
As a result, we’ve provided all of the necessary building blocks; from cabinetry to wall-mounted vanities, simplistic and richly finished compartments are at the ready. Furniture function also differs between guest and primary-use bathrooms, providing opportunities for designers to push the envelope.
Bathroom furniture design is also adapting to consumer interest through features that are useful for all ages, but offer additional benefits to aging populations. For instance, barrier-free shower trays offer a beautiful seamless aesthetic for the shower, yet they provide easy access for individuals of limited mobility. Wall-mounted countertops maintain a design-forward look with plenty of surface space for toiletries, while allowing space for wheelchair accessibility, and can be beautifully complemented with vertical cabinets for enclosed storage space.
Rolling carts present an option that doubles as storage and can be upholstered with a seat on top to provide a place to sit during daily grooming routines. Dimmable LED lighting in our mirrors offers tremendous light quality to meet the desired activity and mood, yet are extremely functional for those who desire assistance with visibility.
Bathroom furniture is informing our lifestyles in creative ways that demand new ideas in how we organize our lives in the bathroom. Taking on the challenges of today and the future, bathroom furniture now holds a key to the evolution of bathroom design.
As the world of design leads the charge in this area, it’s important to regularly ask ourselves how we can use these new tools to benefit our lives, engage the changing culture around the home, and to create designs that enhance accessibility, expression, and lifestyles. Likewise, this creates opportunities for the plumbing contractor to sell these new tools to consumers.
Consumers want the latest and greatest, and understanding a customer’s evolving taste and design requirements gives way to increased business. In turn, if the plumbing contractor is aware of how they can best meet their clients evolving needs and desires in bathroom design, they can also increase customer satisfaction.
A final and further benefit to the contractor is Duravit’s sensibility toward engineering. All of our products are designed for intuitive, easy installation saving time and money on the job site.
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Timothy Schroeder is founder and president of Duravit USA (DUSA), the United States subsidiary of Germany’s Duravit, a leading manufacturer of design conscious bathroom ceramics. Since founding DUSA in 1996, Schroeder has combined canny business sense and a passionate appreciation for design to help the company grow to be a market leader in its field.