In conversation with: AXOR on wellness in the bathroom

To really understand whether bathroom design will flow with or push against some of the mega trends around wellness, Hotel Designs caught up with Jay Phillips, Managing Director at Hansgrohe UK, Managing Director UK & Ireland…

AXOR Kitchen taps in various colours

Conversations at Hotel Interiors Experience (HIX) last year saw views on bathroom design move to a new area of responsible wellness and wellbeing. Pushing this space beyond recreating a spa-like feel, the team of leading interior designers and architects joined a panel discussion, sponsored by Hansgrohe, to explore how the hotel sector can enhance the visitor experience by considering both physical and cognitive health.

In just the space of a few months, a lot has changed even since then. So, we have decided to speak to Jay Phillips, Managing Director at AXOR, to investigate the trends helping to make this concept workable for hospitality, not only to benefit guest experience but also commercial wellness.

Hotel Designs: First things first, what are the latest trends in shower design technology that are positively impacting wellness in the bathroom? 

Jay Phillips: Developments in showers and mixers serve a fundamental purpose – to enhance the user experience. As the HIX panel discussed, this can take the form of a recharging space, finding room for quiet or escaping somewhere where distractions are minimal.

At the heart of this is how we use and enjoy water in the bathroom. We’re seeing increased demand for a more bespoke and individual experience, meaning a heightened interest and demand for innovative spray patterns, extra-large shower heads and instinctive water controls.

AXOR One overhead matt black tap and white sink

Image credit: AXOR

Anything that makes our lives as easy as possible, is, unsurprisingly, popular too. Our AXOR One collection with Barber Osgerby is a great example of this. The Rain and PowderRain spray patterns deliver a personalised element and are selected via highly responsive, clearly marked paddle handles that offer intuitive control of the spray, water temperature and volume to ensure the very best showering experience.

Powered by state-of-the-art Select technology, the elegant brassware from the same collection follows an equally simple mode of interaction; press down on its all-in-one controller to start or stop the water and turn clockwise to increase the temperature. The action is effortless and ultra-precise.

HD: How important is customisation and the ability to personalise the bathroom space?  

JP: Personalisation is just as important in the bathroom as in any other space in the home. For too long consumers could only choose from white sanitaryware and traditional chrome finishes. The bathroom has long been viewed as a clinical and purely functional space. We are helping change this. Bathrooms are becoming personal places of sanctuary and retreat from an always on world. Given the chaotic nature of the last few years, this seismic shift is understandable.

Through our extensive range of finishes, shapes, textures, and accessories, we have risen to meet this demand for personalisation. Our showers and mixers are becoming one-of-a-kind works of art that can be used to enhance an interior scheme and deliver a higher specification finish. Marble, wood, leather, and metal are bringing a new lease of life to bathroom design and offer greater scope for creativity when used in combination with finishes such as luxury polished gold and brushed black chrome and beautifully modern Matt Black and White.

For our most exclusive AXOR products, there is also the option to add signatures and monogrammed pieces – the perfect accompaniment for a luxury hotel bathroom. The result is an individualised bathroom of superior quality.

AXOR My Edition and modern sink

Image credit: AXOR

HD: How can spray technology improve wellness?

JP: In a world that is perpetually connected, the ability to switch off is imperative. Moments with water provide those much-needed ways of escape. As a group, we spend a great deal of time and money investing in spray technology development to make sure our products give unparalleled experiences to our customers.

One of our key technologies is the renowned and industry acclaimed PowderRain. When showering, water should fall on the body and nowhere else. Imitating nature with warm and misty rain droplets as inspiration, PowderRain is designed to envelop the body in a gentle cocoon of water. With the advantage of micro spray technology, PowderRain is much finer than conventional shower jets; with six-outlets per nozzle, spray is transformed into thousands of micro droplets, contributing to an overall experience of pure relaxation that indulges all the senses. ​

HD: What role does biophilic design play in improving wellness?

JP: Used to increase connectivity to the natural environment, biophilic design is an ever-growing trend when it comes to bathrooms. As the importance of wellness is increasingly understood, the natural world is playing a crucial role inside our homes and hotels.

Prioritising this human-nature connection and understanding how biophilic experiences can reduce stress and improve health and cognitive function, the Hansgrohe Group continuously looks to nature, specifically the beauty and movement of water, to shape our product offering and brand ethos. ​

Take our AXOR Massaud Waterfall collection. Created to be in harmony with nature, this avant-garde collection eliminates all traces of traditional bathroom design to set the stage for a holistic experience. Mimicking the delicate shape of a blade of grass, the mixer spout is exquisitely thin and sensuously organic. The innovative spray shape takes the form of a waterfall to give maximum enjoyment of water, transforming the bathroom into a spa-like paradise.

HD: Discuss the importance of sustainable design in hospitality bathrooms? 

JP: At the Hansgrohe Group, we strive to make products that boast unparalleled functionality whilst using less. We understand it is our wider responsibility to produce products that do not cost the earth or its precious resources.

Our AirPower technology, for example, ensures water is enriched with air resulting in lighter and softer droplets. Producing a velvety soft water stream, the aerated water significantly reduces overall water consumption without compromising on performance.

AXOR Massaud tap and sink in moody room setup

Image credit: AXOR

Equally effective, our CoolStart technology, an environmentally friendly resource fitted on all our basin mixers, is another example of how we are innovating and pushing industry standards in this area. On standard taps, the continuous flow heater or circulation pump starts up immediately when the handle is in the middle position, yet this is needless if the user only requires cold water. With CoolStart, only cold water flows initially meaning pipes are not filled unnecessarily with hot water, saving energy, and reducing water-heating costs.

From an ecological standpoint, by using CoolStart or AirPower products across entire hotels or larger commercial properties, the savings could be significant from a financial and water consumption perspective.

HD: How can opting for quality products boost commercial wellness?

The ability to fit a product in the knowledge that it will not cause further issues later down the line is key to always keeping rooms usable and reducing the potential for emergency callouts and disappointed customers. Here, form and function must go together, with products incorporating precision engineering which is built to last.

For example, all Hansgrohe products are tested with water or air to get as close to the bathroom experience as possible before leaving the factory. We also ‘over-test’ to ensure robustness of all our showers and taps. In the UK, three bar working pressure tends to be the average but Hansgrohe products are all tested to sixteen bar as standard.

Equally, with so many brands offering different guarantees and warranties it can be difficult to navigate the products with the most longevity. Looking out for products that guarantee every single part is an effective way to build this reassurance into product selection and room design.

Unlike other brands, Hansgrohe manufacturers every aspect of the product, including the mixer cartridges, so the whole product is guaranteed by a five-year manufacturer’s warranty. In addition, a spare parts guarantee is upheld even after the product is discontinued – for up to 15 years. Allowing you to simply ‘fit and forget’.

Responsible wellness can take different forms, but the fundamentals of opting for both precision-engineered products with distinctive, individual designs are essential. In turn, this creates the right showering experience for guests and secures building wellness for the longer-term.

Hansgrohe is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our Recommended Suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Hansgrohe