I was lucky enough to be a UAE judge for the James Dyson Award, an international design competition created to inspire and encourage emerging generations of design engineers. While I can’t say much about what happened behind our closed-doors session last month, it was fascinating to see how some of the brightest minds in the UAE are working on innovative prototypes and concrete techniques that have the power to solve problems and transform human life for the better.
As a young boy, I remember how excited I was when I came across the first Dyson Airblade hand dryer in the UK. This ways a long time ago but bathroom design has remained at the cutting-edge of innovation to provide all of us with clean and intelligent products that are more hygienic, energy efficient and designed with precision.
European bathroom manufacturers continue to harness technology to shape the next evolutionary phase of design that is seeing personalisation become increasingly important to consumers. People want to be more involved in interior design and seek uncomplicated solutions that not only allow them to express their creativity, but have more control over their health and wellbeing. It all comes back to human-centric design and the ongoing hunt for happiness in the live-work-play spaces we inhabit.
German bathroom manufacturer GROHE, our knowledge partner in this issue of Commercial Interior Design, has won more than 300 design and innovation awards in the last decade and understands this shift. Recently, it has been working to address demands for more control and convenience in the bathroom space. It has created an app to monitor water consumption data and it continues to explore cutting-edge manufacturing techniques, such as 3D printing of metal, to provide near-limitless design options.
In the UAE, local business RAK Ceramics has partnered with renowned Italian design duo Daniel Debiasi and Federico Sandri to create the RAK-VARIANT sink collection (pictured). It uses a smart modular system that allows for endless customisations and shows how collaboration and innovation can work hand in hand together.
Clearly, investment in innovation yields benefits in design and sustainability. It has enabled the development of smarter products that are better for the planet, while manufacturing technologies, such as 3D printing, are supporting product design. As consumers spend more time obsessing over details in their bathroom, the design world is lucky to know that technological advances continue to provide new opportunities.