i+D - November/December 2021 - 54

Material
Matters
Kitchen
& Bath
Outdoor
Spaces
Living by
Design
With 3D printing,
previously impossible
shapes are now attainable.
This sink, designed by
artist Daniel Arsham
for Kohler, is 3D printed in
vitreous china.
(Image: Courtesy
of Kohler Co.)
Luxe Living
Janice Feldman, founder and chief executive officer
of JANUS et Cie, says, " People have always wanted
to enjoy the outdoors, and, as our culture has found
more prosperity, there has been a natural progression
to enjoy luxuries, which we now view as the norm.
Outdoor living is today a necessary and welcomed part
of everyday life.
" Also, " she adds, " luxury hotels have always had
great outdoor spaces and...consumers recognized
that they could have that 'luxury lifestyle' in their own
backyards, very much informing and simultaneously
strengthening the outdoor life at home. "
Presenting a different twist on luxe living at home,
Allen Gant III, the casual market manager for
Sunbrella, explains: " The economic downturn [of
a few years ago] led homeowners to keep a closer
eye on discretionary spending, especially with regard
to vacations. Spending more time at home, it was
a natural reaction to make improvements on their
houses, and, thus, outdoor spaces ultimately became
'staycation' destinations. "
The Inner Sanctum
Like the kitchen, the bathroom has seen an evolution from the
COVID-19 pandemic. After all, when the family was cooped
up at home, it became the place where we scrubbed away
the threatening germs of the outside world-and also perhaps
where we escaped the rest of the family for a moment of
respite. Designers say that some of the key progressions
in bathroom design include an increased emphasis on the
bathroom as a spa-like sanctuary and the growing importance
of easy-to-clean features.
The pandemic " has accelerated a number of trends, " notes
Jean-Jacques L'Henaff, vice president of design for DXV and
American Standard brands under the LIXIL Americas division.
" One of these trends is the bathroom as a sanctuary, as we all
seek refuge within our homes. No one is going back to work
five days a week anytime soon, so the hybrid lifestyle will
continue for a while. "
Stephen F. Elton, chief brand curator of Brown Jordan,
agrees. But, for a more protracted view, he relates
that when the company was established in 1945,
most people had little more than Adirondack chairs
and picnic tables outside the back door. " Our founder,
Robert Brown, wanted to reinvent the category with
innovative materials and create 'outdoor art,' as he
called it. "
He accomplished this with designer Walter Lamb, and
was so successful that many of the original designs
are still sold today-along with new ones like chairs
that gently glide back and forth.
" People are increasingly looking to expand their
living spaces, and outdoor areas...are the quickest
and most cost-effective way to do so, " says interior
designer Gil Walsh, who works primarily in and about
Palm Beach, Florida, and Martha's Vineyard. " There
has also been an explosion in outdoor furnishings,
fabrics, and accessories that provide us much more
flexibility and creativity to design outside. "
L'Henaff points out that in addition to indulgent wellness in the
form of spa-like experiences, the everyday hygiene aspect is top
of mind for everyone, and he's seeing an increased demand for
touchless technology in sinks. Bidets are also increasing in sales,
perhaps because homeowners are subliminally scarred from the
toilet paper shortages in the early days of the pandemic.
Warm yet architectural
with its tapered teak frame,
the Konos Collection by
JANUS et Cie's founder
Janice Feldman, is well
suited to modern settings.
(Image: JANUS et Cie)
A Good Investment
Shawn Booth, director of Kohler's North America Design Studio,
has also witnessed an uptick in an interest in cleanliness and
hygiene. " People are looking for products that help keep
their spaces cleaner and more hygienic, " he says. Kohler's
ContinuousClean feature, offered in a number of the company's
toilets, fits the bill. This feature doses a measure of cleanser
into the toilet with every flush. Not only does it keep the
toilet more sanitary between actual cleanings, but it also has
a sustainability benefit, as the cleanser chamber needs to be
refilled only once a year, cutting down on the number of bottles
of cleaning products.
The biggest tile and surface trend in bathrooms is the use of
hard surfaces from floor to ceiling throughout the bathroom,
rather than painted walls. The use of tile or stone cladding on
the walls makes messes easy to clean, and it will last longer
despite its constant exposure to moisture. " We believe every
bathroom should be tiled like every surface will be exposed to
water, " advises Roy Marcus, brand ambassador for Artistic Tile.
An aesthetic benefit is that the continuation of tile beyond the
backsplash and shower area will offer a cohesive look and will
visually make the bathroom-typically the smallest room in the
house-seem larger.
" One of the most important trends is the use of natural stone slab in multiple
parts of the design, not just countertops, " says Marcus. He adds that the
use of grey or white, once de rigueur in bathrooms, is waning in favor of
color. This might mean subtle uses, such as colored veining in white marble,
but it could also mean more dramatic colored surfaces. " Blues, greens,
and roses are all very important right now, " he notes.
" Not only do outdoor rooms increase a home's value, " notes Walsh, " they enhance their overall
appeal, especially for people fond of entertaining. My clients are looking for exterior rooms
to function just as the various rooms of their homes do: cooking/barbecuing, watching TV, quiet
spaces, maybe with a water feature, for relaxing and reading, fire pit areas to gather family and
friends for cocktails, dining areas with awnings. "
The river rock trend on shower floors continues to be strong as well,
says Marcus. " It's particularly nice in country or lakeside homes, places
where it feels very organic to have that material, " he says.
" It used to be landscaping that added value to a house, " says Elton. " Today, it's how the
outdoor space is furnished. " He reveals that customers frequently tell him the reason they
obtained the asking price when selling their home was that the outdoor furnishings were
included. " Outdoor furniture is the fastest growing of all furniture categories, " he adds.
In fact, analytics and advisory firm Transparency Market Research anticipates 4.9 percent
growth in the global outdoor furniture market for the 2017 to 2022 period.
And when it comes to sinks, tubs, and fixtures, there's a shared aesthetic
in classic design with cleaner lines, elegant and compelling proportions,
and the incorporation of interesting details and elements of craftsmanship,
says L'Henaff. " When you visit the manufacturers we work with in Europe,
you'll see not only the up-to-date technology but also a workbench with
tools for hand finishing, " he says. " Handicraft is very important, faucets and
fittings that have beautiful inserts and details. " Brass, matte black, and even
so-called living finishes that will develop a patina over the years are all among
the materials that are gaining momentum.
Noting how outdoor living rooms increase a home's square footage, Feldman says, " People
are more adept than ever at seeing value when making purchases, including a home. Having
an outdoor space is as much a decision of the [fiscally responsible] mind as it is of the heart. "
And, while furnished outdoor spaces began with the wealthy, " the outdoor living space
trend is completely scalable and attainable, " according to Gant. " Whether you have a lavish
and spacious patio or a simple balcony, there are performance options available. "
Sustainability plays a part in this too: Chrome finishes can be complicated and
detrimental to the environment, whereas finishes like unlacquered brass are
more environmentally responsible. L'Henaff points out the company's Oak Hill
collection, which has recently been expanded with new fittings, faucets, and
shower trims, and is reminiscent of the look of a family's country farmhouse.
Technology isn't limited to the kitchen-cutting-edge advancements
are making their way to the bathroom as well. Early next year, Kohler is
launching Anthem, a collection of simplified shower controls that help
individuals conserve water and personalize their shower experience.
Anthem includes digital and analog solutions, both of which enable the
user to pause their shower while lathering up or shaving, and then resume
the same temperature and flow setting. The digital solution also includes
a remote warm-up feature that will quickly bring the showerhead to a
54
i+D - November/December 2021

i+D - November/December 2021

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