Comfort Zone

Kaldewei’s latest collection, to be unveiled at ISH in Frankfurt, has been inspired by research into consumers’ changing attitudes to bathrooms

Kaldewei’s latest industry research delves into psychological analysis by investigating changing attitudes towards bathrooms. The findings have inspired the company’s new range of products, which will make their debut at ISH this month. Martin Koch, head of communications at Kaldewei, commissioned the study — entitled Paradigm Change in the Bathroom as an Answer to Changes of Society — in partnership with the Rheingold Institute in Cologne, and was excited by the results.

‘The big news from the study is that the bathroom has become increasingly important to the home and we predict it will be the main focus of people’s investment,’ says Koch. ‘Modern society is fast paced and demanding so people need a “contra point”, a zone away from everyday life.’

The extensive study surveyed a representative selection of people to discover what they felt about bathrooms. The results revealed that most people considered a bathroom to be an individual space where they could escape from the pressures of their day. Although design and quality were equally important to the respondents, status and outward impression were not, hence the study’s tagline: My Bathroom — the Room Reflecting the Real Me.

‘Many people consider the bathroom to be the most private room in the house so branding and standard solutions are not as popular,’ Koch explains. With the growing interest in customization, Kaldewei aims to create products that allow for more personalization. Products such as the popular Conoflat flush-fit shower tray, designed by Sottsass Associati, are now available in a growing range of colours and sizes to give consumers a breadth of choice.

The research threw up two interesting themes in future bathrooms — nature and technology. ‘Natural forms and materials play key roles in the contemporary bathroom,’ Koch says. The use of wood, stone, steel enamel and organic shapes have become a major part of the company’s portfolio. The study found people reacted strongly to bathroom technology, only accepting it when it was used unobtrusively to increase comfort. ‘Technology must integrate well,’ Koch explains. ‘People don’t want to lose their autonomy or control.’

The German company is proud of its reputation for innovation. Kaldewei was founded in 1918, introduced the first freestanding bath to Germany in 1934 and in 1957 used new hydraulic-press technology to make the first seamless bath from a single sheet of steel.

Kaldewei has a track record in bathroom research — previous studies have investigated bathing for the over 50s, bathing versus showering and bathing with a partner — and its latest findings should keep the company at the forefront of bathroom design and manufacture.

This article was first published in idfx Magazine.

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