The Wonder world of washrooms

October, 2016


From being a mere sanitary space to a personal sanctum for rejuvenation and wellbeing, the washrooms worldwide and in India has come a long way.

A purely functional wash¡room is a thing of the past. Today it is more about convenience, comfort, sus¡tainability, a feel-good zone, creating an ambience and making a personality statement. This global trend has made inroads into India too, particularly in the high end homes and hospitality sector - thanks to a plethora of elegant, innovative and technologically advanced sanitary products, now available in India. All these products - rain showers, steam baths, whirlpools, electric bidets, under floor heating, digital controls to programmed water flow, temperature, lighting, waterproof speakers that streamline music, ambient lighting, mood lighting - have uplifted the washroom to an entirely different plane.

´Bathrooms are now a space for rejuvenation and luxury. The trends in India especially in the lifestyle domain are inspired by international standards of luxury and bathrooms are now the new living rooms´ avers Pau Abello Pellicer, Managing Director, Roca Bathroom Products.

Market Makeover
Little wonder, the Indian sanitary ware market has been growing steadily in the last few decades. According to Research and Markets´ study ´India Sanitary Ware Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2018ö, India´s sanitary ware market will grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of about 12 per cent during 2013-18. The Indian sanitary ware market accounts for 8 percent of the global production and ranks second in terms of volume in the Asia-Pacific region. The demand for sanitary ware is highest in residential sector followed by other sectors including hotels, hospitals and offices. The premium segment is estimated to be about 10 to 12 percent of the total market.

Initially, dominated by domestic manufac¡turers, the market now has several international players too, due to the immense potential that exists in India. Salil Sadanandan, Managing Director, Kohler, Kitchen& Bath -India, Sub Saharan and Africa lists out the prospects : ´The growth in the construction industry is creating amazing opportunities for international bathroom manufacturers and suppliers. With recession hitting western markets, a large number of players are turning to India where there are over 400 million young consumers evolved in their tastes and preferences. Indian government´s Smart City project and its plan to develop satellite towns around existing cities, also means more business´

Some of the major players in the industry today are HSIL, Cera, Roca, Kohler, Keuco, VitrA, Hansgrohe, Duravit, Dornbracht, Acrysil, HR Johnson, Somany Ceramics, Orient, Kriztle, Grohe, Hansgrohe and Rak Ceramics. The market also has a large unorganised sector, catering to the price sensitive low and mid segments.

While booming real estate, rising disposable incomes and changing lifestyles and aspirations have raised the demand for lavish sanitary installations, the demand is largely confined to urban areas and new projects. Replacement market, which is huge worldwide, is miniscule in India.

Trendy Traits
Automation is a major trend that is sweeping the washrooms with emphasis on convenience, hygiene and wellness. From automatic-flush toilets, touch free faucets and soap dispensers, remote-controlled lighting to toilets that autonomously lift and lower the lid, heat the seat, and clean - have all made their way into the bathrooms. There is a clear shift even in the usage of wall and floor tiles reveals Abhishek Somany, Joint Managing Director, Somany Ceramics. ´For flooring the trend is towards slip resistant tiles. For walls, ceramic tiles are still preferred largely due to its cost-effectiveness. But vitrified tiles are of better quality and certain colours are rendered better as compared to in ceramic. There is a shift in colour choices too. The low-cost and mid-cost housing owners are going for brighter colours, particularly in the South. But in cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru or Delhi, the preference is more for muted shades, in the mid end to high end apartments. There is a move towards large format tiles in big washrooms. However, I am not convinced about the benefit of using such large format tiles as the workmanship in India is not good´ Contemporary designs with sleek timeless look with nature inspired forms is the buzz word as far the design is concerned in residential washroom spaces. Customized designs that make a personal statement are also in vogue. The layout is changing too with the bath spaces closely integrated with the bedroom and living areas without intruding into privacy. In hospitality spaces the design is utility-centric as it is used by many customers.

´In general, bathroom products have become lighter and filigree in terms of shape and material. Such design is a sign of precision: clear lines, precise edges and clearly-defined gap widths. In India the demand for the customisation and digitisation is continuously on the rise´ avers Parind Sarmalkar, Sales & Marketing Director, Dornbracht India.

Material Mix
Ceramic continues to be the popular material due to its properties like corrosion resistance, abrasion resistance, glazy surface and ease of maintenance etc. But other materials like stone, wood, glass, granite, marble, slate, mosaic, quartz, resin, fibreglass, stainless steel, corian are also being experimented with. Some new materials are also being developed by several manufacturers like Fineceramic by Roca, DuraCeram and DuraSolid by Duravit, Sani-Q, by Acrysil etc. But the leaning is towards natural materials aver industry professionals ´Natural materials are becoming increasingly popular like quartz, marble and granite which have a unique appearance and provide an individuality to the washrooms´ points out Chirag Parekh, Chairman and Managing Director, Acrysil Group of Companies ´Several new materials are also being used. For instance, we have developed the SaniQ quartz material. Its mineral stone properties create a silky satin finish and highly durable products. Unique manufacturing, casting technologies allow us to produce new forms and shapes hitherto unseen in bathrooms´ elaborates Parekh. Acrysil offers washroom products under the brand name of Sternhagen

Lighting Leads
The current trend is toward sunnier washrooms with a range of artificial lighting - from recessed lighting in the ceilings for general illumination, indirect lighting that bounces off the walls, decorative lighting with elegant chandelier above the bathtubs, mirror lighting, shower lighting, ambient/mood lighting, all largely remote controlled, accent lighting to highlight interesting features in the bathroom etc. An expansive range of aesthetically designed lighting fixtures are available today to meet these requirements.

Before selecting the lighting several factors must be considered says Manjul Trehan, Country Head & Director Sales, Lutron Electronics India & SAARC: ¨Lighting is often selected based on the size and layout of a bathroom as also on its colour scheme. For instance, bright colours enhance lighting effects whereas dark colours absorb light. Light fixtures should be placed in such a way that it flows everywhere¨.

Care Concept
Growing concern for mobility, accessibility and safety of children, senior citizens and the physically challenged has led to the birth of the cross-generation bathrooms, focusing on their special needs. Hence several products to cater to this segment have entered the market - from slip-resistant tiles, grab bars, non-slip mats, toilet seat raisers to bath seat lifts that help bathers to easily transfer from outside the tub in a sitting position into a bathtub and then lift them up back with a push of a button etc. Even tiles are being chosen with care says Somany: ¨Consumers have become more cautious and avoid using slippery marble, granite etc for washroom floors and are opting for slip-resistant tiles. Our slip-resistant product Slip Shield is a huge hit.¨ Electrical safety is another rising concern with several electrical equipments being used now. Water carries electricity efficiently. But, if the two mix, the result can be deadly. There are special requirements for electrical installations in bathrooms which must be followed.

´As far as safety measures are concerned, there are strict regulations. The Ingress Protection (IP) rating in bathroom lights refers to the amount a light is protected from water/ steam entering the light fittings. Every light fitting comes with an IP rating that rates its water resistance. So, it is verified that an IP44 rating or above is an essential requirement for lighting to be deemed safe for use in the bathroom´informs Trehan.

Sustainable Solutions
With increasing environmental awareness, customers and manufacturers are also moving towards products that conserve natural resources. On offer in this segment are, sensor operated faucets, dual flush toilets, sensor controlled lighting, waterless urinals, showers with recycling process and even plumbing fixtures that allow shower water and hand-washing water to be sent directly to the toilet. In India, too the green practices are gaining popularity particularly in the hospitality and commercial sectors. ôIn India, many consumers have begun to appreciate the value of saving water and energy, more so in the hospitality segment. There is a huge market for sensor technology and products that help economise on energy and water. By using a lower volume of water to flush the toilet, one can dramatically reduce one´s annual water consumption and contribute to the conservation of natural resources´ states Renu Misra Managing Director, Grohe India.

Evidently, smart yet sustainable bathrooms will be the norm in the years to come with comfort and excitement created with cutting-edge designs, lavish installations, all of which will not only redefine the bathing experience but also add a glam factor.

Global Going
Pau Abello Pellicer,
Managing Director, Roca Bathroom Products

Globally, the trend is towards amalgamation of aesthetics and advanced functional features. There is a rising popularity of concept washrooms with coordinated sanitary fittings and accessories and a growing preference for premium high-end technology products. With the society getting more conscious about water conservation, there is a demand for green solutions too.

Tile Trend
Ashok Goyal,
Chief Executive Officer, Nitco

Finding a balance between functional needs, aesthetic desires and environmental responsibility is the trend today. Users are looking for design options that are inspired by various elements that exude the beauty of nature. So tiles with a natural stone, wood and marble look are in demand.

Material Magic
Amit Shah,
Managing Director, Classic Marble Company

Engineered stones from marble and quartz are widely used especially in hotels, villas and high end private residences for countertops, vanity tops, flooring and cladding applications. Quartz countertops integrated with a beautiful onyx backsplash, mix and match walls with different designs and shapes made of rich marble or large format porcelain tiles, book-match patterns in shower enclosure for visual impact and marble flooring are some of the popular trends in material usage.

German Grand
Chirag Parekh,
Chairman and Managing Director, Acrysil Group of Companies

The bathrooms in Germany are transforming into a lifestyle spaces focusing on innovation, design and aesthetics. White appears to be the predominant bathroom colour, though designers have now started using black sanitary ware as a bold contrast. Black has a timeless elegance and blends easily with other shades.

Italian Influence
Marco Diana,
Commercial Manager, Rexa Design

There is an increasing demand for customisation of high-end furniture, bathtubs and shower trays in Italian residential washrooms, since the average furniture size is rather small as opposed to bathtubs and shower trays which are often very large. The colour choice is often neutral.

Design Depth
Akshat Bhatt,
Principal Architect, Architecture Discipline

There has been a drastic change in the aesthetic and functional approach to designing a washroom. There is a return to the neo-classical/Georgian aesthetics with an inclination towards minimalistic décor threaded together with sleek forms, edgy surfaces, monochromatic tones with metallic highlights and satin finishes. Ample natural light during the day through maximum openings such as skylights and windows, and diffused lighting and accents are in vogue to give washrooms a dramatic feel.

European Effect
Renu Misra
Managing Director, Grohe India

In the European hospitality sector the preference is for products that offer highest level of functional comfort backed by superior technology and packaged with exceptional designs. There is a demand for digital products and eco-friendly products too as sustainable use of water is one of the biggest priorities in commercial properties today.

Wellness Wash
Parind Sarmalkar,
Sales & Marketing Director,
Dornbracht India

The concept of ´healthness´ (based on the concept of ´health´ and ´wellness´) has found its way into bathrooms. As an intimate haven of relaxation, the bathroom becomes more and more a ´private spa´ where the center of attention is the human being and his individual needs such as energizing, releasing stress and regenerating are met with. The positive impacts of water are being used specifically to fulfil these needs.

Consumer Choices
Emanuela Tavolini,
Director of Sales -Europe, Graff

For consumers the bathroom is no longer just a washroom, but an area for wellness and relaxation. The ideal bathroom is more spacious and includes features and design elements that characterize other rooms in the house. There is more demand for well designed faucets, as they are perceived as architectural elements and not just functional items. Both in the residential and hospitality sector users expect the shower systems to offer more functionality and transform the ôshower actö into a special moment.

India Image
Abhishek Somany,
Joint Managing Director,
Somany Ceramics

In India, in general, the tiles are going larger, sanitary ware is becoming bulkier, and automated. A major trend is the consumer preference for shower cubicles as against bath tubs. Earlier, for example, every hotel would have a bath tub in the washrooms. Now increasingly the new hotels are not providing bath tubs. The trend in toilets is for one-on wall hung products with smaller projections, easier cleaning facilities and water saving technology. There is a clear shift even in colour preferences to. Earlier sanitary ware used to be in black ,pink, burgundy, green etc. Today 95 per cent of them are in white.

Dimmers Doing
Manjul Trehan,
Country Head & Director Sales, Lutron Electronics - India & SAARC.

Demand for dimmers is growing as they allow one to adjust the light according to one´s mood and needs and makes night visit to bathroom bearable to the eye. For showers, dimming can create the soft illumination that is ideal for relaxing which can refresh one´s body and soul.

Style Shifts
Salil Sadanandan,
Managing Director, Kohler, Kitchen& Bath -India, Sub Saharan and Africa

White on white is more popular than ever in washrooms as it works beautifully for both traditional and contemporary styles. Black that goes-with-everything is equally popular. Black and white, a classic combination, is forever in style. So is the smoky look - architects and designers worldwide have adopted smoky mirrors with golden hues and gold-tinted glass. Brass and copper are widely popular in cabinet hardware, faucets and lighting. Interiors are showing a return to Art Deco influences, with crisp geometries and strong contrasts.

Hot trends in 2017 - Industry Predictions
Pau Abello Pellicer, Managing Director, Roca Bathroom Products

Elegant suave and highly functional smart bathrooms are the way forward. The key market trend will be smart toilets with night lights, heated seat with adjustable temperature, auto open and auto close, remote control, auto flush system, different nozzle positions for male/female, water temperature and pressure adjustment, etc.

Ashok Goyal, Chief Executive Officer, Nitco
HD Digital printed tiles for all the rooms including washrooms will lead the innovation pack .With its ever evolving technique, digital tile printing is set to explore different finishes, realistic images and vibrant colour pallets.

Akshat Bhatt, Principal Architect, Architecture Discipline
In the coming years, I see the emergence of wallpapers and non-permanent textures in residential washroom spaces. People want their washrooms to feel large, which is not always possible. The relationship with the living space i.e. the bedroom is critical and I wish to see some evolution and maturity in the coming years

Parind Sarmalkar, Sales & Marketing Director - Dornbracht India
With health, wellbeing and individualisation trends, the focus is turning to personal needs and efficiency. In the future, these influences will call for an intelligent form of presentation of water -one that can meet different needs at the touch of a button, while conveniently simplifying and tailoring the applications selected. Digital transformation, complex technologies will open up new possibilities and opportunities.

Emanuela Tavolini, Director of Sales -Europe, Graff
There will be an increase in the demand for shower products that can recreate a small Spa both in residences and in the hospitality sector. To stimulate and satisfy the consumers senses, shower systems will provide music, shades of lights, mist and several combinations of water jets at all body heights. Technology combined with aesthetics will make it all possible.

Project 1
Project: Townhouse, Hong Kong
Lighting Solution provider: Lutron Electronics

In this 3-storey luxury townhouse, Lutron´s HomeWorks Total Home Lighting Control System was used extensively throughout the house to control all lights and create the right ambience . In addition, Lutron´s Sivoia quiet-electronic-drive shades were installed in the living rooms, bathroom and bedrooms, which were seamlessly integrated with the HomeWorks® lighting control system.

The Sivoia allows one to control daylight effectively and provides the privacy necessary inside the washroom. If one has a routine daily schedule, the built-in time clock of the HomeWorks system can activate preset scenes per your daily schedule, like having a ¨Refresh¨ scene early in the morning, ¨Relax¨ scene in the evening after work and a ¨Peaceful¨ scene during bath etc. In the middle of the night, one has to just press the midnight button and HomeWorks system will create a softly illuminated path from the bed all the way to the washroom toilet bowl.

UMU glass was installed in bathroom areas where privacy is a critical issue. Lutron´s seeTouch keypads with backlighting for readability at any time of the day was also installed. A series of events begin when someone enters the bathroom and presses the keypad buttons. The space will be lit up gradually, shades come down, UMU glass becomes translucent enabling the owners to enjoy their private moments.

For the guest restroom, Lutron´s RaniaTM dimmer is deployed to turn the light softly on and off. Stylishly-designed and equipped with LED light-level indicator, it recalls preset light level at the touch of a button and turns light fully on when someone double taps the button.

Project 2
Project: Private Residence New Delhi
Architect: Architecture Discipline

This house that typically stands as a tribute to the 70s Indian modernism is a masterpiece due to its exemplary style and beauty. The bathroom interiors have been kept minimal to enhance the sophisticated feel of the house. The stone is cast in situ mosaic, that has been developed by using crushed Mother of Pearl extracted from oysters and collected from local vendors. The light seeps into the washrooms according to movement of Sun rays during daytime through a cylindrical shaped skylight cut through the roof. The interiors are done in white which makes the space look bigger and neat.The shower cubicles are custom built and fabricated by Architecture Discipline. The bath fittings are from Artize and sanitary ware from Villeroy & Boch.

Washroom Wizards
Crochet Washbasin from Maison Valentina

A reinterpretation of the crochet techniques, this exquisite handcrafted washbasin, with great attention to subtle detail and proportion, has a structure in glossy lacquer with brass details, Estremoz marble on top with polished brass legs. Price: 26 970 Ç | 40 455 $ ( Product not available in India but can be ordered through Maison sales channels)

ViClean-U+ from Villeroy & Boch
This shower toilet, adding a new dimension to toilet culture, comes with several intelligent features like washing functions that can be adapted to suit individual preferences, an innovative Balloon Jet technology to ensure gentle cleaning of sensitive areas, a warm flow of air with adjustable temperature ensuring pleasant drying, a seamlessly adjustable heated seat guaranteeing even distribution of warmth and an energy management system that allows automatic saving of both electricity and water.

Hansgrohe@home app from Hansgrohe
Do you want to see what a new tap, a wash basin or a shower solution will look like in your washroom ? You can do just that on your Smartphone or Tablet using the photo function on the Hansgrohe@home app. Take a photo of the existing washbasin or shower space, and remove the taps or showers to be replaced with a swipe of your finger. Then select the desired product from the Hansgrohe product portfolio, click on it and the app places the new product wherever you wish. This app is available in 13 languages and can be downloaded free of charge from the Android-Marketplace1 through Google Play, or from the iTunes store at

Inspira washbasin from Roca
A sleek contemporary wash basin from the Inspira range , manufactured with Fineceramic, a material used exclusively by Roca, is 40 percent lighter and 30 percent harder than conventional basins and are scratch-free and easy to clean

Rainshower SmartControl 360 from Grohe
This shower system with innovative Grohe SmartControl technology backs the seamless adjustment of spray patterns and volume. The other technology TurboStat delivers water at the desired temperature within a fraction of a second and keeps it steady for the entire duration of the shower.

RF Switch from Lutron
This RF switch can receive commands from the wireless occupancy sensor via Lutron´s patented Clear Connect technology and can turn lights on and off automatically when one enters or leaves the washroom respectively. The sensor also has a vacancy mode with manual on and auto off which can be used when there is plenty of daylight or heavy traffic, to avoid wasting lighting energy during daytime or having the lights on and off frequently when it is not necessary.
Price: Rs.17500

Kristall Bath Suite from Acrysil/Sternhagen
A futuristic one stop sanitary ware collection comprises highlighter tiles, wall hung WC, SaniQ Wash basin and Shower/Diverter . The wall-hung WC comes with water saving and rimless flushing technology, soft-close cover and high quality take off hinges.
Price: Wall-hung WC: Rs.60,400 - Rs.1,42,000
SaniQ Wash basin: Rs.53,200 - Rs.62,900
Kristall Tiles: Rs.820 - Rs.1050
Shower/Diverter: Rs.28,300 - Rs.2,20,900

NXT Range from Kohler
With a seamless exterior, easier waste disposal, this toilet range available in three variations has an unparalleled flushing technology, where the rim guides the water jets to create a high velocity stream hitting the bowl at high pressure. The waste matter slides out of sight even before flushing.
Price: Replay Wall-Hung Toilet: Rs.18,000
Freelance Wall-Hung Toilet: Rs.21,000
Forefront Wall-Hung Toilet:Rs.28,000

Sensory Sky from Dornbracht
This shower system with different rain modes, mist, light and fragrances turns showering into a unique experience. The extensive, flat rain panel has separate nozzle arrays for the overhead spray, body spray and rain curtain, as well as a cold water mist nozzle and light and fragrance functions. In addition the sprays, nozzles, light and fragrances can also be activated separately and independently for an individual shower experience.

Aqua-Sense from Graff
This shower system inspired by what one experiences at Spas, has several features including an electronic system controlled by a touch screen, ceiling-mounted shower-head with rain, heavy rain and waterfall effects, RGB lighting that changes colour , 4 ceiling-mounted speakers, adjustable side body sprays. Music can be easily uploaded using an i-Pod connected to a wall-mounted USB port.

Multifunctional Bathtub from Johnson Bathrooms
This stylish cosy corner bathtub has several features like bubble function, computerized function with a control panel, inbuilt 1HP Jacuzzi Effect Pump and FM Radio.

Dimension : 1570 x 1540 x 660 mm
Text: Janaki Krishnamoorthi

Acrysil Group of Companies,
Mumbai, Tel: 91-88799 75861
Architecture Discipline, New Delhi
Tel: 011-46028676
Classic Marble Company, Mumbai
Tel: 91-9699000300
Dornbracht India, Mumbai
Tel: 022-26853900
Grohe India, Gurgaon
Tel: 0124 493 3000
HR Johnson, Mumbai
Tel: 022-2610 5724
Hansgrohe India, Pune
Tel: 020-66259500
Kohler India, Gurgaon
Tel: 0124 4319601
Lutron GL Sales and Services,
Gurgaon, Tel: 0124-439 0130
Maison Valentina, London UK
Tel: 00351 914 924 350
Nitco, Mumbai
Tel: 022-67521555
Roca Bathroom Products, Gurgaon
Tel: 0124-4278347
Rexa Design San Quirino, Italy
Tel: +39 0434 593182
Somany Ceramics Limited, Noida
Tel: 0120-4627900
Villeroy & Boch Sales India, Mumbai
Tel: 022-30549300