Some of the most exciting innovations in product design for the home are influencing the bathrooms and kitchens of tomorrow.
Beyond surface trends of colour palettes, flooring design and even materiality, real advancement in bathroom and kitchen design relies on new technology, R&D into manufacturing and an eye for the constraints of modern living. They inform the finer aspects of product design, elevating standards of design and manufacturing for the entire industry.
Basins with ugly drains are a thing of the past, at least for Stefano Cavazzana. For his latest range for Novello, the Venetian designer proposed a sleek linear channel instead. Taking inspiration from Japanese interiors, the Craft 2.0 collection is based on the streamlined aesthetic of traditional shoji screens. As a result, the overall design is a beautiful composition of right angles, rendered in natural stone to look hand-made.
AT THE EDGE
Italian studio Meneghello Paolelli Associati’s latest collection for Arbi, Belt, is devoid of sharp edges. Instead, it revels in the feminine beauty of the curve. Across their range of freestanding bathtubs and washbasins, is a distinct tapered edge, designed to look as though the material was shaped by a squeeze. This non-linear approach ties in brilliantly with another hot bathroom trend — the unusual mirror. Round or oblong, wall-mounted or suspended on a rod, mirrors are the most reliable investments if you want to facelift your bathroom for less.
Antonio Lupi has always been at the forefront of material experimentation to advance its designs. Last year, they presented the AGO85 collection that boasts of an impossibly thin edge. Designed by Mario Ferrarini, this design benchmark was made possible via their trademarked material, Flumood.
Simple can be breathtaking, especially when done with an eye for detail. Grohe, the global brand, known for exceptionally designed sanitary fittings for kitchens and bathrooms, achieved exactly that with its latest range of mixers, Atrio. Each section of the mixer is based on the humble cylindrical form, with identical uniform sizes and proportions throughout. The arch of the mouth is a perfect semi-circle, and the tap handles too, are derived from sleek cylindrical. From a brilliantly stripped down aesthetic, to a wide gamut of finishes and different options for installation, the collection seamlessly adapts to a wide range of settings.
Economising space is a real concern for home owners, especially apartment dwellers; and let’s just agree, the interior layouts we are sold by developers rarely work in real life. Enter the ‘bijoux design’ movement. Restricted to furniture design till recently, this slant toward tiny is now gaining ground in kitchen design. The Japanese brand Sanwa has developed a new range of kitchens specifically designed for smaller homes. From cabinetry designed to multi-task — cooking and washing facilities are housed in a single unit – to exotic materials and vibrant hues, the collection’s DNA is built on the space-saver module. But with an eye on design, this solution creates wonder, even in a small living space.
THE IKEA HACK
The Swedish manufacturer has a lot going for it when it comes to kitchens. Good value for money, availability in a wide variety of modules, and an entire range of plug-ins that make all the difference. Yet, people don’t want the bog standard Ikea kitchen. Enter the ‘hack’. Now the hack relies on a few things. First — the quality of Ikea’s kitchen cabinetry carcass, which is good indeed. Second — that you are up for some DIY. As the Danish studio Reform demonstrates via their own Ikea hacks, all it takes is subtle changes to elevate the situation. New shutters, new counter tops or just a statement sink and mixer is all it takes to own a designer kitchen at the fraction of the real deal.