KBB - January/February 2010 - (Page 14)

T rends Tech Support Lavatory faucets get savvy and simple Our bathrooms seem to have some catching up to do. While electronics and digital technology have infiltrated nearly every room of our homes, their adoption in the bath space has been just a tad slower, that is, until recently. Digital showering and bathing systems, as well as multifunctional toilet/bidet seats, have all helped to make our bathrooms “smarter” and more comfortable, and now lav faucets may be following suit. SENSORS & SIMPLICITY If you ask most experts, touchless or hands-free faucets are the wave of the imminent future. The reasons are obvious. Less touching means better hygiene, and automatic on/off operation reduces water and energy usage, a primary concern in the bathroom. Sensor faucets can also benefit aging-in-place and Universally Designed environments, offering a convenient alternative for “those with limited dexterity or even the smaller hands of a young child,” said Judd Lord, director of industrial design for Brizo. In addition, “colored light can be used to convey water temperature and thus help prevent scalding.” But if you’re imagining the fickle faucets of airport restrooms, think again. Manufacturers have developed more reliable sensing technologies that don’t feature a prominent infrared beam and therefore lend themselves more readily to attractive, residential-friendly designs. With capacitive technology, for example, “the entire brass faucet acts as a magnetic field, and as you move your hand around the faucet, it will activate the water,” said Avi Abel, president and general manager of Watermark Designs. “It’s as reliable as infrared but it offers a lot more design possibilities, such as traditional-looking spouts.” Of course, with “back to basics” a pervasive theme in our lives and our homes, today’s traditional-style taps are considerably less fussy than their predecessors. As consumers gravitate toward easier-to-use and easier-to-clean designs with simple, fluid forms, “the aesthetic is sleeker, but still retains traditional cues,” said Sarah Maduscha, faucet product manager at Kohler. Similarly, designer Cheryl Kees Clendenon has noticed an expansion in maintenance-friendly single-hole models “to include more classic looks.” Not surprisingly, contemporary styles with clean architectural lines are popular, noted Ji Kim, senior industrial designer for Moen, especially those that integrate well into the overall environment. To this end, “some of the minimalist faucet styles take their cues from interior objects like wallmounted vanities or mirrors,” she said. For modernism with a softer edge, some lav fittings are sporting organic curves or being paired with, say, a traditional-style vanity or sink. Clendenon said, “We really like to mix classic elements with modern details for a fresh approach.” CHOICE FINISHES Warmer finishes, particularly those usually reserved for more traditional settings, can also help take the edge off a contemporary tap. Abel has seen a renewed interest in oil-rubbed bronze, but on more streamlined designs. “It’s creating this whole new dynamic,” he said. “These stark, minimalist faucets that used to be sold only in chrome look completely different in oil-rubbed bronze.” However, by all accounts, chrome and brushed nickel remain the finishes of choice, with stainless steel also enjoying its share of demand. Others that have piqued designer and consumer interest include white, brushed bronze and brushed and satin gold. So what of the future for bath faucets? According to Maduscha, conveniences we enjoy in our kitchens will soon be migrating to our bathrooms as well. “More ergonomics, touchless technology and electronic valves—all will become more expected,” she said. I —Alice Liao + K BB January/February 2010 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com July 2004 http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbis.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - January/February 2010

KBB - January/February 2010
Contents
Editor’s Note
Online Content
Online News
Trends
Products
Profile
Taste the Rainbow
Semi Formal
Education
Editorial Index
Ad Index
Favorites

KBB - January/February 2010

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