Vitra launches at ISH

First launched at ISH, Vitra offers the T4 collection with an array of basins, including central offset, asymmetrical or thin bowl designs. The widths start at 450mm and go up to 1300mm, which is a double basin. The styles can be wall-hung with an optional towel rail, mounted with half or full pedestals, or counter-top mounted. There are also an additional four short projection styles.

The Azeta Crystal range of brassware from Webert has been launched by Galassia. It features Swarovski crystals embedded into the operating lever ofthe brassware, which comes in a chrome or gold linish. Azeta Crystal comprises of deck-mounted, high-rise and wall-mounted basin mixers and wall and deck – mounted bidet mixers. Deck and wall-mounted bath mixers, bath/shower mixers and shower systems also make up the collection.

Designed for retrofits and upgmdes, Mira has combined its existing Totem valve and 360 Showerhead to offer the Myline shower. The valve has separate flow and temperature control and features Cool Shield technology so it doesn’t get hot to touch. The 360 showerhead allows users to flip it by 90°, for a choice of four sprays; Rain, Burst, Storm and Cloud.

Merlyn Showers launched its Series 6 range of enclosures boasting enhanced features including increased height and Mershield protection. The range spans Quads, Sliders, Pivots and Showerwalls. The Showerwall has a height of 1950mm and features concealed fittings and 6mm toughened glass.

Adding to its portfolio of finishes, Cifial has introduced the Techno 35 Mono Basin in polished gold. The collection comprises matching basin, bidet, bath and shower options and is available in four finishes. Manufactured from solid brass, the Techno 35 Mono Basin range is also available in polished chrome, polished nickel and brushed nickel.

Launched at 100% Design, Stalson has introduced the Paris range oftaps, manufactured from 100% 304 grade stainless steel and designed by Simon Goude. Paris is available in large or small versions and in a mirror polished finish it it or matt brushed finish. Featuring ceramic disc cartridges, the range also comes with water-saving rectangular aerator nozzles.

Laufen show off Palace suite

Designed for public spaces, Alape has launched the A4 system to its portfolio. lt is constructed using an allround aluminium frame which acts as support for counter tops, bracket panels and storage. Designers can choose from a range of countertop finishes including natural stone and wood-effect laminate, as well as functional extras including storage and lotion and soap dispensers.

The classicaIly-styled Palace suite from Laufen has been designed to resemble a boutique hotel bathroom. It centres around the countertop washbasin and features furniture or optional ceramic shelf It is made from a new stronger ceramic, which allows for more slimline designs and for larger pieces.

Pelipal, distributed in the UK through InHouse, has introduced the Primadonna collection of bathroom furniture. It is available in white or anthracite high gloss finishes and a choice of four horizontal wood grain finishes, including Chocolate Structured and Graphite. Primadonna features curved fronts and is completed by a range of washbasins, with sizes up to 1752mm for a double wash basin.

Mark Two has added an easy-living range to its Balterley collection. The Vision collection includes European-inspired wetrooms and wall-hung basins, which can be positioned at any height. Steel baths with grips and anti-sIip bases, as well as showers with low profile trays and a close – coupled WC also make up the range.

Launched at Cersaie, Teuco has introduced the Milestone pedestal washbasin, designed by Italian architect Carlo Colombo. According to Teuco, Milestone has been designed as a symbolic celebration of Colombos involvement with the company. Made from marble, Milestone’s aim is to turn the bathroom into an architectural and communicative space.

This year’s London Design Week saw the launch of the Modular Home (MH) series from TOTO. The MH series comprises furniture and storage elements, washbasins, bathtub, shower; taps, accessories, WC and bidet. Tap and washbasin plumbing is concealed behind drawers.

HiB has introduced two Solo floorstanding furniture units to its offering, a 400 x 885 x 220mm option and a 500 x 885 x 250mm option. The Solo units feature a fixed internal wooden shelf and a high gloss door with bow handle, which is hung on fully adjustable soft close hinges. Manufactured from moisture resistant MDE it comes in a choice of matt anthracite carcase to offset the white door or the , whole cabinet in gloss white.

The Richmond range cooker

The Richmond 110DFT range cooker from features an electric oven with nine functions and a seven burner gas hob, including a wok burnen In addition, the range cooker boasts telescopic shelves and internal oven lights. lt is available in a choice of 12 finishes, as part of the companys Colour Boutique Concept.

Reflecting the popularity of ladder- style towel rails, Myson offers the Tahoe radiator. It is available in a choice of two sizes, measuring 1200mm or 1800mm in height. Tahoe is suitable for indirect, closed heating systems and it comes complete with a 10 year guarantee.

Cosentino has launched the Silestonl Bathroom Collection, featuring basins and shower trays made from quartz. There are eight basins in the collection and a choice of seven shower trays. The Silestone Bathroom Collection offers the same benefits as the kitchen worktop, such as resistance to scratches, stains, and it is available in a range of colours.

Stand and deliver

Considering the original mass produced baths were apparently converted horse troughs, it is probably fair to say they have come a long way since then. Freestanding baths evolved with a luxury tag attached to them, but now, the market seems to be doing well for a number of reasons, including the wide choice available to all levels of the market.

As Nick Platt, bathroom category manager for Moods Bathrooms, explains: “The freestanding bath market is a growing market and sales have fared well over the last couple of years. Once a luxury item, only afforded by a niche market, continuous advancements in the manufacture of freestanding tubs mean that the consumer now has a wide choice of affordable, high quality mainstream models.”
Marketing controller of B.C Sanitan, Nick Richards adds: “Freestanding baths are now very much a timeless classic that will never go out of fashion. Consumers have been opting for freestanding baths over other models not only because of the boastful stylish aesthetics, but also because of the comfort and luxury that is also attached. One of the reasons that freestanding baths remain so popular is because of the sense of grandeur that is introduced with the size and appearance of the tub.”

Finding space

Typical British bathrooms aren’t normally known for their spaciousness or grandness. As Darren Paxford, technical manager of Vitra, explains: “Bathroom space – floor area – is a crucial factor in choosing a freestanding bath. Plumbing and water supply has to be re-organised and the freestanding bath generally requires floor space on all, or at least three sides.” Yet this hasn’t seemed to have affected sales of freestanding baths, which ultimately, require some element of space.

However Claire Surplice, retail channel manager of ldeal Standard, explains: “Freestanding baths can be easily fitted into today’s average UK bathroom. Contrary to popular belief they do not have to be the centrepiece of the bathroom and can lookjust as good placed beside a wall or in an alcove. ln fact, they can actually make a major contribution to the illusion of space in a bathroom, as the absence ofa bath panel exposes the floor: A new generation of contemporary shapes and water saving options is now on the market and the freestanding bath is becoming more than just a vintage throwback, it is a bath for modern times.”

Bathroom to bedroom

Recent trends within boutique hotels have seen baths move out of the bathroom and into the bedroom. As jonathan Carten marketing manager of Victoria + Albert Baths, comments: “There is a definite trend for baths to break out of the bathroom!

This started in boutique hotels and is now increasingly popular with consumers. lt fits perfectly with the idea of the bath as more than just a practical device to get clean in – it is an item of indulgence, relaxation and of course beauty, so even when not in use it’s adding architectural interest to the interior space.”

But, the idea ofa bath within the bedroom hasn’t proved as popular as originally anticipated. Some consumers still seem to want the privacy and sanctuary feeling a separate bathroom provides. Samantha Wake, Bette UK sales and operations managen explains: “Although some consumers like the idea of a bath in a bedroom, the practicalities of achieving this can be off-putting. Also, although a bath in a bedroom in a boutique hotel might be fun, people still tend to want privacy in their bath at home.” And Lois Paffett, marketing manager for Kaldewei agrees, adding: “Although this l was a trend that began to emerge, we haven’t seen it take i off in the way it was expected.

People prefer to keep their baths y separate to the bedroom to ¤ create a feeling of a sanctuary.”

An individual purchase

Regardless of which room in the house its destiny lies, a freestanding bath still seems to be considered as an individual purchase, rather than as part of a bathroom suite. The freestanding bath is designed to be a statement, and while consumers still want it to complement the rest of the bathroom, complete coordination doesn’t seem to be top priority.

Jonathan Carter of Victoria + Albert, explains: “We’ve noticed that over the past decade consumers have an increased design confidence which helps them to eclectically mix and match beautiful items. Similarly to the living room where the days of matching cushions, curtains and pelmets is long gone, the bathroom now also has a more mature and sophisticated language of design.”

And Sally Cutchie, designer for C.P Hart, adds: “Consumers tend to see the bath as a separate entity to the basin and WC. It is always important for the elements to work together but often it is the bath that the client chooses first and then the other pieces follow.”

A developing future

Encouraging consumers to trade up should be relatively easy, given the new developments and designs entering the market. Manufacturers are not only providing personalisation options, but new materials and technologies are providing freestanding baths with a range of benefits for the consumer Limestone Gallery has recently launched the Trio bathtub, which comes in three separate sections to make it easier to manoeuvre, and Cabuchon Bathforms have introduced a bath with seating.

Designs are set to become more and more functional and visually striking, with chromotherapy and remote controlled functions all taking a leap forward into the freestanding bath world. lndustry experts have high expectations for the market, and are encouraging retailers to explain the benehts, as well as emphasise quality and the fact that it is an investment to clean up in this market. As Jacuzzi’s Nick Richards concludes: “More emphasis needs to be put on quality. Freestanding baths are designed to be the focal point of the bathroom. A freestanding bath should be seen as an investment.”

Bathroom conference focuses on green profit

The Annual Bathroom Conference, organised by the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA), is set to focus on sustainability and how the industry can generate profit from the green agenda. It takes place on November 9 at the Heythorp Park Hotel in Oxfordshire and is open to everyone in the industry, from manufacturers through to distributors and retailers.

Featuring a full day of presentations, the conference will be fronted by award-winning science writer and broadcaster Sue Nelson. She will bring her experience and knowledge of sustainability to the event as presenter and facilitator Nelson will be joined by a line-up of ‘green’ experts, including Ben Earl, environmental affairs manager of B&Q; Tim Pollard, head of sustainability at Wolseley UK and Michelle Hubert, senior policy adviser climate change CBI.

They will be discussing the role of the bathroom industry in creating a sustainable future for our children, whilst at the same time generating profit for those engaged in it, CEO ofthe BMA, Yvonne Orgill commented: “Whether we like it or not, our planets resources are limited and we have to find a way of living within our means. But, at the same time, our industry must prosper and if it is to survive we have to profit from the green agenda. Fundamentally, that’s what it’s all about.”

The way things are

My business would bejust great if it wasn’t for the internet, competitors’ discounting, consumers changing the way they buy…” These may not be the words we use, but it’s what we are really saying when we complain about ‘the way things are: Here are the facts:

• The internet is indifferent to the overhead required to run your business model.

• Customers are indifferent to the overhead required to run your business model.

• Customers are adapting their buying processes to a changed environment, quicker than you have adapted your selling and your marketing.

• Customers will only buy at their convenience, not yours. And they find the internet convenient – the same way you do when you’re ‘ buying something that’s not a kitchen.

• You are going to have to start thinking like a customer; not a retailer.

As a kitchen designen you may well have the skills to sort all this out. Think of how you work with your clients. You talk to them and listen carefully. You measure the space available. You invest your time, energy and skills designing a solution that makes the best use of the space available and the relevant components, bearing in mind the customers’ needs and expectations.

Well, just think ofthe internet as a big, awkwardly-shaped space where consumers live and extend the same design principles to this environment. You need to get the dimensions of it and (re)design your business to suit. You have access to an endless range of ‘components’ which are as flexible as the space they are designed to address. They can also be constantly measured to see how well they ‘fit§ (or not) and can be freely expanded or reduced as required.

Unlike kitchens, these ‘products’ are frictionless and gravity-free but good design principles still apply. You still need a sense of balance and proportion. You still need to have an eye for when somethingjars aesthetically or ergonomically, simply isn’t working, or is not what your clients are looking for lust like kitchens, it takes a while to really get to know these products before you can get the best out of them and be confident and competent in their use. The best time to make a start is yesterday.

Online business design

A word of caution, though, when you go looking for advice think of web people as you would kitchen titters – their skill, knowledge and experience are invaluable to the process, but you wouldn’t necessarily want them designing your kitchens. When it comes to your online presence, it’s not about web design, it’s about business design.

Use relevant and appropriate digital components with the advice, knowledge and support ofthe tech guys to achieve the outcome you want. Like good kitchen design, it’s the intelligent and purposeful arrangement ofthe components that will determine the quality of that outcome. It’s past time for complaining about the way things are. What you’re really complaining about is the way things were. What are your thoughts?

VAT reduction to improve Green Deal

Over 25 industry bodies have released a joint statement calling on the Government to use cuts in VAT to incentivise consumer take up of the Green Deal. The organisations, which include the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, Builders Merchants Federation and British Property Federation, are urging the Government to reduce VAT to 5% for all Green Deal approved measures.

The statement has been sent to MPs, as they prepare the final stages of the Energy Bill, which is the legislation that will introduce a Green Deal. It reads that “a financially compelling package to improve the energy performance of homes, and a rate of 5% VAT is a logical step which makes the energy-efficient measures more affordable and Green Deal packages more attractive.”

All the 26 organisations involved believe that the Government must do more to stimulate demand in the energy saving market. The Green Deal is a scheme which will bring old, poorly insulated and homes which waste energy up-to-date. The Government reports that a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions come from the energy used to heat homes. It suggests that consumers don’t have to pay up front but businesses will get their money back via the energy bill. But the financial savings must be greater than the costs attached to the bill. Although much of the Green Deal is focused upon insulation and heating controls, it is expected that taps and showers will also be included as part of the Green Deal scheme.

Yvonne Orgill, CEO of the BMA, said: “Through the MTP and National Conservation Water Group we have collectively been lobbying the Government for the inclusion of water saving products, linked to WEPLS, with the support of EST, Waterwise etc and were advised that taps and showers would be included. It is looking as though Green Deal will be introduced in phases, with the easy quick wins in the first phase, i.e. insulation/cavity/boilers/heating controls/heating/glazing/lighting/solar – similar to the old CERT scheme.

New products will be brought on line… as the market deems it.” But she points out: “The training element for assessors does include water efficiency, so it’s a mixed bag ofinformation at the moment.”

Bristan creates Green Team

Parent company of Bristan and Heritage Bathrooms, The Bristan Group has launched a Green Force team to identify initiatives to help reduce the company’s impact on the environment. It will include volunteer representatives, from across the business, which will be tasked with creating an action plan of improvements. This will span water conservation, renewable energy and waste prevention recycling through to green purchasing.

Karen Wise from the Bristan Group commented: “Environmental responsibility is an important part of Bristan Group’s corporate identity. By setting up a taskforce to tackle this issue, we are demonstrating our ongoing commitment to the green agenda and we hope the outcome will steer our business towards an even greener future.”

All Bristan Groups bathroom furniture is manufactured from timber from sustainable forests and all literature and brochures are printed on FSC approved paper: Four litre flushes, flow regulators in showers and eco-click cartridges in taps are already available in a number of Bristan and Heritage Bathrooms’ products.

Masco, Neff and Ideal Standard all announce appointments

Chartley has strengthened its sales team with the appointment of John Timson as business development manager. He joins the company from the Masco Group, having previously held sales positions at both Bristan and Moores Furniture Group. Timson’s remit at Chartley is to create further awareness of the range of showers, taps and accessories with retailers, interior designers and architects.

Neff has promoted Richard Gilbert to regional manager of its newly-created Central and West of England sales region. Gilbert has worked as an area business manager for the company for over 10 years and successfully achieved 120% of his target in 2010. Prior to joining Neff he worked for another major group as part of its training and sales teams, as well as in the major electrical retailer sector in his early career.

Re-inforcing its leadership team, Ideal Standard International has appointed Alex de Courcy as its sales director for the UK. He joins the company from 3M Consumer & Retail Markets, where he held the position of sales and marketing director for the UK and Ireland. De Courcy brings with him a wealth of experience within the FMCG industry, previously heading the UK grocery business unit at Twinings, as well as roles at Mars.

SieMatic agent, Sable Interiors has announced the appointment of Martin Brown as senior kitchen designer within its kitchen department. His role at Sable will cover the co- ordination and management of its prestigious kitchen projects. Brown will be responsible for ensuring the highest quality of design, product and customer service is achieved for each and every client. Sable believes the arrival of Rrnum will contribute to its on-going success.

Jason Granville has been appointed as regional sales manager for the South at Reginox UK. In his new role, Granville will be responsible for building on the company’s retail customer base, as well as increasing brand awareness in the South East and Home Counties. He will also be maintaining and developing relationships with existing customers across the region. Granville brings with him extensive industry experience, having previously worked for William Ball and RIBA.

Kitchens International adds to its’ workforce

Kitchens International has appointed Brian Docherty as operations manager and Chris Redpath to warehouse manager Docherty will oversee all office operations, warehouse administration and control stock levels. The company has also promoted Carol Cameron to showroom manager of the Edinburgh Dundas Street showroom, having previously worked for Kitchens International for 13 years as a sales designer. Three new sales designers have also been appointed in Dudas Street, Edinburgh’s Westfield Road branch and Glasgow.

Matt Phillips has been appointed as commercial manager for Rotpunkt Kitchens, available in the UK through Waterline. He has worked for Waterline for 12 years and joins james Kidd to further develop the Rotpunkt business. Phillips will be responsible for expanding the network of Rotpunkt dealers. Taking over as regional sales manager for Phillips’ area is Martin Baker, who brings with him 15 years’ of experience with Magnet Kitchens.

Following an overall growth in sales, Portico Midlands has appointed Adam johnson as sales manager and Andy Depper and Sarah Powell as field sales representatives. johnson will be responsible for nurturing existing relationships and Depper and Powell are tasked with increasing the number of trade customers. Depper will look after the North of the country, bringing with him 20 years’ of sales experience and Powell will be responsible for the South.

Gudula Becker from D & G Agencies and Nicolas Gee from THJ Solutions have been appointed by Glass ldromassaggio as representatives for the UK market. They will be responsible for the retail sales network, as well as growing the untapped project market. Becker has 25 years’ experience as a supplier to the furniture retail trade, and Gee has been supplying bathroom products to the retail and construction sectors for five years.

Designers Richard Donaldson and Emma Gains have joined PWS to strengthen the company’s design capabilities. Donaldson takes the role of product designer and brings with him an honours degree in design, with experience in product and interaction design. Gains has been appointed as showroom designer and she has previously worked as a furniture designer in Milan. She brings with her an honours degree in interior architecture and design.