Resplendent retreat

October, 2014


Innovative design and advanced technology has transformed bathrooms from functional rooms to rejuvenating retreats. We look at how high-end homes and hotels witness this dramatic switch.

The Indian washroom accessĦories market valued at 15 billion dollars is considered the second largest and is growing at a rate of 15 percent per annum. The industry comprises both organized and unorganized sectors but the luxury segment is dominated by top foreign and domestic players in the organised sector. Though the luxury customers form just the top two percent of Indian households but the money spent by them is reportedly ten times that of the segment of consumers just below them. Every year both national and international companies are launching new products to meet the rising demand.

Demand drivers
Booming real estate, globalisation, increasing awareness among consumers, rising disposable incomes and changing lifestyles have pushed up the demand for luxurious washrooms in housing and hospitality sectors. With this growing emphasis on luxury, style and comfort, the bath fittings market in India has widened to include this luxury segment, where consumers spend between Rs 5 lakhs and Rs 1.5 crores for their washrooms. Naturally, several Indian and international companies are cashing in on the demand with a host of luxurious and sophisticated bath fittings and accessories.

Trendy traits
Developing such bathrooms evidently involves more than just picking up a wash basin, a commode and a shower unit. It includes aesthetics, comfort and luxury, which is made possible by design and a gamut of advanced gadgets. Designer wall and floor tiles, heated towel rails, ambience lighting, remote-enabled mood lighting, shower units with temperature settings/massage facility, shower panels integrated with jets, air baths (involving effervescent bubbles instead of targeted jets) and high quality music systems are some of the top line addiĦtions being made in these bathrooms today.

Luxury bathrooms are also making way for stylish wardrobes, shoe racks, greenery, carpets and artefacts. Going green is also part of the luxury concept with a range of eco-friendly products on offer.

Evidently these new age bathrooms are all about indulgence, excitement and comfort created with cutting-edge designs and lavish installations, which not only redefine the bathing experience but also add glamour to the bathroom.

Asutosh Shah, Managing Director, Duravit India
Bathrooms that used to be purely functional place for personal hygiene are increasingly becoming luxurious retreats with multiple uses. Bath spaces are now closely integrated with the bedroom and living areas. To ensure that the contemporary look is retained over time, the designs that withstand abrasion and materials that have a neutral, timeless look are chosen. Hotel bathrooms are setting new trends with innovative products that multi-task to meet the complex requirements of modern users. Duravit in collaboration with high-profile designers like Philippe Starck, EOOS, Phoenix Design, Sieger Design, Sergei Tchoban and Matteo Thun offers innovative new products.

Vivek Kapoor, Managing Director, Jupiter Aqua Lines (JAL)
Aman Anand, General Manager - International Business, Jupiter Aqua Lines (JAL) The trend of luxury bathrooms started in India, when people travelling abroad experienced the luxurious facilities and opted to have them in their homes. Architects and interior designers have also played a vital role in introducing the concept. While luxury bathrooms are popular in cities or in second homes, only reputed developers are offering true luxury bathrooms with branded products.

There are several elements in a luxury bathroom with various options for each - be it design, material or brand. For instance, Italian marble flooring, gem studded faucets, porcelain basins, cascade flow showers, jacuzzi tubs, electronically controlled steam cabins and faucets with time and temperature.

Paolo Civelli, Founder, AQUAelite
A personal and customisable spa is the new way to interpret a luxurious bathroom. It offers a sophisticated and comfortable environment regulated water flow and controlled lights and sounds. Generally private bathrooms use a remote control to choose the jets and loop colours, while hotels prefer a body sensor that automatically turns on the lights.

AQUAelite offers showers with sound systems and Bluetooth control as well as waterproofing, chromotherapy and remote control.

Renu Misra, Managing Director, Grohe India
The current interior designs and living patterns point to a complete transformation of the utilitarian bathroom of yore into the present day, opulent sanctuary of comfort and rejuvenation. Taking inspiration from luxury hotel bathrooms, owners are extending the same spa concept to their own bath areas and creating home spas.

An eclectic mix of neutral tones ranging from creams, whites, beiges and browns with bright colours to accentuate the dTcor are being used. Pedestal sinks and vessel sinks that float on solid wood cabinetry, basins made of hand-painted porcelain, carved marble, glass, copper and stone in natural forms are popular. Large soaking tubs, claw feet, and vintage-look faucets besides LED-lit shower heads and oversized spa-like shower enclosures are trending.

India is at par with the global trends in terms of product quality and availability. Indian consumers seek bathroom fittings that are moving towards single-lever fittings from the traditional two-knob fittings. Wall-mounted fittings are a rising trend. Technology has brought in toilets with heated seats that deliver a warm water wash with temperature, pressure and pulsation adjusĦtability. Other notable additions include the lighted bowl that eliminates the need to turn on a light at night, remote control to adjust the seat settings, automatic flush, catalytic deodoriser function and sensor-operated automatically opening and closing lid.

Ecology also plays a key role in creating a feel-good bathroom. GROHE is the only manufacturer offering a full-spectrum of water-saving products - for bath, shower and sanitary installation. Grohe Ecojoy products allow water savings of up to 68% without compromise on performance and design.

Harsh Bhutani, Executive Director, Bravat India
Indians are becoming increasingly conscious about the look of their bathrooms. Minimalistic design inspired by nature and one´s physical environment is the trend in Indian luxury bathrooms. Indian designs based on international aesthetics with the synthesis of technology, quality and unique style, showcasing rich lineage will be the underlying trend. Metallic finish and elegant faucet designs will be the highlight of the season. Technologically advanced bathroom tools such as colour, touch, music, chromotherapy and rainfall system will add to the sophistication of the bathrooms. Nature-inspired neutral tones and patterns are going to be big this year.

Utility shower enclosures, bubble baths with controlled panels, massage bathtubs, electric bidet, modern bath furniture, digital controls that pre-programme water flow and temperature, ceiling-mounted rain-shower heads and wall-hung mirrors with LED lights are some other trends in high-end bathroom solutions.

Jason Russell, Director, Newform India
Hotel bathrooms are no longer a simple appendage to the guest room, but an opportunity for luxury properties to express their brand personality and to pamper their guests. Hotel bathroom designers can create impactful designs with trends such as blurring the lines between internal and external environments, opening up space to more natural light, introducing natural elements and green features, integrating technology and thoughtful use of vibrant colours.

Homeowners can affordably bring glamour into their bathrooms with colour, patterns, textures, fixtures, lighting and accessories. The bath fittings set the ´mood´ of the bathroom and careful selection of the right elements is important. Black and white remain the classic choices while blue and chrome yellow are soothing options. Lime green, ice blues, and even a splash of red are other choices. Faucets highlighted with neon colours paired with a white sink provide a classy look. Nature-inspired neutral tones and patterns are going to be big this year. Products that incorporate advanced techniques of saving water and delivering cleaner, healthier water are the modern consumer´s choice. A continuing trend is to have colour therapy in the shower.

Sandeep Surana, Managing Director, Hansgrohe India
Internationally, bathrooms are undergoing a transformation - becoming super luxurious, contemporary and sleek.

In India, the luxury bathrooms are becoming sleeker in design yet functional and minimalist, due to space constraints, especially in the metros. In residential luxury bathrooms, the focus is on design and customisation. Space planning is utility-centric and the fittings are chosen to complement the needs as well as the tastes and preferences of the individual. In a hotel bathroom, utility-centric planning is priority followed by design due to multiple users. The bathroom is designed in tandem with the hotel´s image, brand position and functionality.

Rupali Nimbalkar, Vice President - Design & Services, RNA Corp
´Luxury´ as a statement has touched every aspect of washrooms design in India. The size of a washroom has taken a major leap. Today, we see five fixture toilets as an essential design element. The use of Italian marble, branded sanitary ware and accessories are all related to luxury. This trend is popular in metros and smaller cities but luxury is more personlised in the former.

The material used in bathrooms should preferably be maintenance-free. A wide variety of natural/artificial stones or tiles are available with a vast colour palette. The washrooms are generally in lighter shades with huge expanse of mirrors to make the space look larger. Mood lighting helps enhance the experience. Lighting plays a pivotal role in luxury washroom designs, where illumination can be direct or indirect as per the overall design concept.

Varun Gupta, Joint Managing Director, Bathline Sensations
Every individuals idea of luxury differs, as do the features they would like to include in their bathrooms. The possibilities are endless - his and hers wash basins, bidets, jacuzzis with underwater lighting and adjustable slide jets (with an option of water, heated air, or both), sauna, steam bath, whirlpool or a reading nook with bookshelves and comfy chairs. There are also bathrooms located in a secluded corner of the house beside a glass wall that brings the outdoors within.

An industry, which is full of leading home-grown brands, is now seeing an insurgence of international players, especially from Europe. Researchers have found that many consumers prefer international brands over local because global brands are associated with superior quality, worldly knowledge on consumption trends and higher social prestige. Moreover, global brands are perceived as creating an identity, a sense of achievement and identification for consumers, symbolising the aspired values of global consumer culture. International brands are exerting their power within various domains and the consumers meet the high price premiums such brands command with negligible resistance. Some of the popular international brands are Ritmonio, Azzurra, Aet, Fornara & Maulini, Neaetc from Italy, Kasch, Acquaviva, Domovari from Germany.

Ravi Nindwani, Managing Director, Delta Faucet Company India
Homeowners want to communicate their own sense of style, be it India or abroad. So, while there are no real rules, we observe design trends around fluid contemporary and transitional styles, technology-driven functionality and special finishes like matte black and polished nickel. Today, luxury bathrooms even in India are packed with features and technology, which deliver special experiences. But many of these are ´gimmicky´. As far as the user profile is concerned, since technology is all pervasive, it is not really the age or income group but the psychographic group that make the difference.

Luxurious bathroom are always built to the specific needs and desires of the homeowner with customised showering solutions, steam and sauna, touch enabled faucets, 2-in-1 configurations (shower head and hand shower) and even heated toilet seats. However, in customised design, it is critical to have expert help for product selection, plumbing design and installation.

Salil Sadanandan, Managing Director, Kohler India
The lifestyle of Indian consumers is changing and they are now spending much more time in their bathrooms grooming themselves. As bathrooms continue to evolve, the products installed are also improving in terms of the design, technology and craftsmanship. Products as simple as bath and toilets are employing technology such as chromatherapy, UV cleaning and touch interface.

The bathroom segment is witnessing rising demand for innovative products, designer accessories and customised solutions. The hospitality sector looks at a new age bathroom in two distinct parts - the wet and the dry area. For the dry area, majority of the hotels opt for wall-mounted closets and counter top basins. In showering area, they go for bigger showers to enhance the guest experience. Consumers these days are also opting for green products, while designers have shown preference for more sleek and minimalistic lines.

Duravit India, Ahmedabad
Tel: 079-6611 2300.
Jupiter Aqua Lines Mohal
i (Chandigarh)
Tel: 0172-422 8800
AQUAelite, Gavirate (Va)
Tel : +39 0332.732906
India: Modern Ceramics, Mumbai
Tel: 022 -2342 2161
Grohe India, Gurgaon
Tel: 0124-493 3000
Bravat India, Gurgaon
Tel: 0124- 4945 060
Newform India, Gurgaon
Tel: 0124-494 5060
RNA Corp, Mumbai
Tel: 022-6680 5000
Hansgrohe India, Pune
Tel: 020-6625 9500
E-mail :
Bathline Sensations, New Delhi
Tel: 011-4769 0000
Kohler India, Gurgaon
Delta Faucet, Gurgaon
Tel: 0124-4066 109.