A couple of years ago, the term ‘wellness bathroom’ might have conjured up intimidating clinical spaces. But over the last year, the concept has softened somewhat, evolving to encompass a wider, more personal approach.
This shift has been partly prompted by the pandemic. ‘It completely changed how we see our homes. They’re now a place of comfort and safety, and the bathroom has truly become a sanctuary where we can pamper ourselves,’ agrees Yousef Mansuri, head of design at CP Hart.
He’s predicting big things for the ‘at-home spa’ over the next few years, as many clients look to fit saunas and steam rooms – such as the ‘Touch and Steam’ by Effegibi, which creates a hammam experience – in their spaces. ‘They’re no longer specialist products. Consumers are keen to embrace more technological possibilities as they view bathrooms as spaces to relax, as opposed to solely utilitarian areas,’ explains Mansuri.
CP Hart’s other popular designs focus on chromotherapy and technically advanced showers such as the ‘ATT’ system by Dornbracht or the ‘Raindance’ shower series by Hansgrohe, which include massage functions and a range of settings for different sensory experiences.
A sauna might be a stretch for many of us, but there are easier ways to usher in a spa-like feel. According to Emma Joyce, brand manager at Victoria + Albert Baths, ‘People are considering a more pared-back, natural feel to their bathrooms.’ She has noticed customers going back to basics in their quest for a sanctuary to call their own, adding: ‘Freestanding baths are synonymous with luxurious spaces and they create a serene environment.’
The brand offers designs from traditional to contemporary, and has recently added the circular ‘Taizu’. This joins a slew of recently launched round tubs, including Inbani’s ‘Arc’ and Ex.t’s ‘Nouveau’ – all offer indulgent, spa-like escapism (and enough space for two.)
Although less glamorous, hygiene has become an increasing priority. New innovations include Italian tile brand Marazzi’s ‘Puro’ antibacterial technology that kills 99.9 per cent of bacteria. It features in its ‘Carácter’, ‘Plaza’ and ‘Alba’ collections, which all have a natural, tactile look and feel, proving that sanitary needn’t mean uninviting. Products with discrete hygienic glazes have also become popular, says Mansuri.
Then there’s VitrA’s new ‘Voyage’ range with Arik Levy, which is entirely wall-hung in order to open out the corners of a room and allow for easy cleaning, while creating a space that feels less cluttered and more relaxing to be in.
When it comes to designing a wellness space, there’s no set style, rather a few guiding principles to consider. Mansuri’s advice is to ‘start with the basics – low lighting, a deep, double-ended bath and a good performance shower’.
Interior designer Susie Atkinson, who has launched the ‘Whitewater’ bath with Drummonds, says the balance of textures is key: ‘A bathroom has a lot of cold surfaces, such as tiles, shower screens and mirrors – this needs to be compensated by bringing in a softness and warmth in other ways.’ She suggests using textured fabrics for blinds and warm tones of paint. ‘Good storage, lighting and natural materials are key elements, too,’ she says. ‘Above all, they should feel calm, uncluttered and have a freshness about them, allowing you to enjoy your daily rituals.’
THE WELLNESS BATHROOM EDIT
Five pieces that are guaranteed to give your bathroom a spa-like feel
1 ‘Slate Shower Floor’ by Matki
Bringing a splash of nature to bathrooms, Matki’s latest shower base is modelled on natural slate. Cast in stone resin, the material faithfully captures the texture of real stone, while its hardwearing gel coating feels warm underfoot. It’s available in custom sizes and can also be colour matched to surrounding surfaces for a seamless look. From £416.40, matki.co.uk
2 ‘Gym Space’ by Scavolini
With home workouts shaping up to be an ongoing trend, Scavolini’s ‘Gym Space’ collection could be a solution for gym bunnies short on space. The range revolves around a customisable wall frame, which acts as a base for gym equipment such as TRX bands, a weight bench or pull-up bars, as well as bathroom units and accessories including vanities, storage and lighting. From £5,000, scavolini.com
3 ‘Thirties’ collection by Seventyonepercent
Sister brand to ceramic surface firm Iris Ceramica, Seventyonepercent’s debut collection of bathroom furniture is a collaboration with Italian designer Paolo Castelli. Featuring a rich palette of warm walnut, elegant Calacatta Oro marble and matt gold finishes, the ‘Thirties’ range is a glamorous, Italian-style take on spa luxury, turning everyday routines into indulgent me-time. Approx £16,224, seventyonepercent.com
4 ‘Hi-Fi Mixer’ shower by Gessi
A cutting-edge showering system, Gessi’s ‘Hi-Fi’ has the streamlined design of a classic stereo with controls to match. Temperature and flow rate are adjusted by dials (which satisfyingly click when turned up and down, just like a hi-fi), whereas types of water flow (rainfall, waterfall, hand shower and nebulizer) can be selected to suit the mood at the touch of a button. From £1,599, gessi.com
5 ‘Flotation Bath Tub’ by Toto
Winner of a Red Dot Design Award (Toto’s eighth consecutive win, no less), the ‘Flotation’ bath promotes deep relaxation via its innovative ZeroDimension technology, which helps the body achieve a weightless reclining position similar to an astronaut floating in space. Meanwhile, calibrated jets create a spiralling, therapeutic water motion, massaging the body as you drift off to cloud nine. £27,000, gb.toto.com
This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration March 2021
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