Bathroom and kitchen design is leaning toward intelligence and sustainability

Leading experts in the bathroom and kitchen design sectors tell CID about the latest developments toward intelligent design solutions and sustainable schemes.

With initiatives in the Middle East leaning more and more toward sustainable and intelligent solutions for kitchen and bathroom designs, it’s no wonder that a majority of the new products on the market have shown to be increasingly green.

Additionally, being Estidama and LEED compliant for most projects across the region is a growing requisite and from waste management to water preservations, consumers from the region are continuing to opt for green living.

Dirk Schilmoeller, sales director, Hansgrohe Middle East, says: “This will be a trend that continues and will further drive consideration for efficiency in design by designers and architects. Events such as World Future Energy Summit and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week are proving to be great platforms driving the conversation around sustainability amongst thought leaders, policy makers and investors. This is helping them to address the challenges of renewable energy and sustainable development in the region.”

Ali Maarrawi, general manager Middle East, Consentino furthers Schilmoeller’s comments adding that projects should be concerned to meet sustainability demands, and should incorporate green measures from the very beginning of a project.

From designers to architects and suppliers, those involved on projects are witnessing an intense shift to water-saving demands. Sophay Young, senior project design consultant at BagnoDesign, explains: “In the project industry, it is common practice now for hotel operators to set minimum flow rates for showers and mixers. Not only will this minimise water consumption, it will also cut down on operational costs. The issue of environmental awareness and sustainability is such a hot topic right now and we all need to do our part to become more ecologically-friendly.”

Bathroom and kitchen brands across the spectrum like Cosentino, Gaggenau, Finasi, Geberit and Roca, are all highly committed to ensuring their products are sustainable and can compare to the toughest competition on the market.

According to Louise Pitt, marketing and CRM Manager from Geberit, sustainability has been part of Geberit’s strategy for the last 25 years, making the company a proven leader in the ongoing transition. She says: “We do everything possible as manufacturers of sanitary systems and products to use natural resources with care and thereby help to protect the environment. This begins with the research and development of our products and extends to daily use and responsible recycling. Geberit products are durable and eco-efficient.”

Sustainability, while a major buzzword in the interiors industry, isn’t the only factor dominating the market at the moment. A number of kitchenware brands are finding newer and newer ways to incorporate intelligent design into the kitchen, and create seamless solutions for the everyday user.

Mouad Benmoussa, head of design at Gaggenau, a leading kitchenware supplier, notes that there has been a greater interest in interface usage.

Benmoussa adds: “The kitchen is morphing into a modern haven of well-being and—according to current trend research—shifting towards premium products with an extended life cycle. Consumers want energy-efficient products with high functionality and a clear design. Topics like freshness, nutritious cooking and efficient food storage are gaining an importance as consumers become more health-conscious.”

Beyond intelligent and intuitive interfaces to operate kitchen products, consumers have also been opting for space-saving techniques, detachable backsplashes instead of tiling and effective positioning of appliances.

Ahmad Sultan, partner and general manager from Finasi, adds: “Intelligent kitchen design really helps to maximise space in commercial projects we have been involved in. Contemporary living units do not always allocate the largest areas for the kitchen. Dada for example can place runners under drawers which reclaims and saves up to 10% of space—which in a tight kitchen space or a small pantry space for instance, is a significant amount.”

Sultan adds that designers need to “keep in mind an effective cooking path with intuitive design to help contribute to sustainable kitchen design.”

Schilmoeller of Hansgrohe adds that intelligent kitchens must include the convergence of technology and functionally, bringing the two together makes using the space significantly easier. And in the year 2015, consumers are likely expecting this of products when looking at the marketplace.

“Good design and comfort functions go hand-in-hand, and results in a source that serves to enhance efficiency while being aesthetically pleasing. For Hansgrohe, the idea behind the intelligent kitchen is to move from twisting knobs to simply pushing a button,” Schilomoeller says.

The experts that spoke to CID this month agree in unison that at the moment, the Middle East appeals to more grandeur in design as compared to other regions like Europe and America.

While sustainability is a leading factor affecting design today, many consumers are still influenced by tradition and tend to choose marble, as Maarrawi, put it. According to the Consentino expert, the world is running out of Crema Marfil, which is one of the most wanted marble colours from Spain.

Hence, quartz material like the brand’s Silestone provide “the evolution of the industry, a non-porous, consistent, bigger, thinner and lighter, with a patent bacteriostatic treatment stone surface.”

Schilmoeller adds that consumers from the Middle East, particularly the GCC, look for products that are highly sophisticated and elegant. “With state of the art design and advanced technology at the heart of our products, we believe our product portfolio is well-suited for the demands of the consumers from this region,” he says.

While the experts tend to agree on the varying aesthetic tastes between consumers in different regions, Benmoussa from Gaggenau is confident that the globalisation of trends in design will soon come to a completion, with brands in the design sectors speaking to a fully aligned demand from consumers across the globe.

“Having said that,” says Benmoussa, “there are proper trends which are specific to the GCC. For instance, while a customer in Germany will use the Gaggenau appliances on a daily basis; our customer in the GCC will usually have two kitchens, and will use the Gaggenau appliances only on occasion.”

Ultimately, kitchen and bathroom design is leaning more and more toward sustainable products that ensure water flow rates are met, while end-users are opting for more intelligent technology designs that allow the preparation of food and the use of water to be available at the simple touch of a button.

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