Bathroom Design

Part 42: Using a 360-degree approach in bathroom design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 42:
USING A 360-DEGREE APPROACH IN BATHROOM DESIGN

Aiming to reduce the number of out-of-service rooms when a bathroom product malfunctions, bathroom specifier Utopia Projects explains why their 360-degree approach is vital when designing bathrooms and wet rooms for the modern traveller…

Imagine this all-too-common scenario in a hotel: the guest calls down to reception to complain that the shower is not working.

For the individual checked in, a swift upgrade to a junior suite and a few drinks vouchers will suffice. For the hotel, though, which now shelters an unoccupied and therefore unsellable room, it’s a race against time to rectify the problem. If corners were cut during the design of the bathrooms, it will usually be exposed here, and the property will most likely have to contact the manufacturers to order a new part after the maintenance staff has finally identified the broken element, causing unnecessary delays. Sound familiar?

On the other hand, hotel bathrooms that have been designed sensitively will have pre-empted the inevitable of malfunctioning equipment. Needless to say, services that specify quality branded products and that have access to all spare parts help to eliminate long-lead times for new product parts.

A recent UK study, commissioned by Ideal Standard, found that “73 per cent of designers agreed that washrooms are the most difficult rooms to design and plan in commercial projects.” As the rise in wellness and wellbeing points a critical lens on the hotel bathroom, designers are working harder than ever to evolve purposefully designed bathrooms and washrooms, all within the often-tight budgets from the client.

Utopia Projects is a unique service that works with designers after the layout of a bathroom has been established. Helping to create statement bathrooms for the likes of University Arms Cambridge, Oddfellows on the Park and most recently the Stock Exchange Hotel Manchester, the team have a solid relationship with some of the UK’s leading designers.

How the 360-degree approach works

The designer focuses on capturing the theme and overall concept while Utopia Projects suggests an appropriate specification. “Some designers will ask for entry- as well as mid-spec in order to get the difference between both,” explains Richard Goodier, Director at Utopia Projects. “Once we have provided these free of charge, they will then present these specs to the client for approval.”

Having a second pair of eyes in the bathroom from early stages right through until completion allows designers to concentrate on other areas of the design process. “We stock the products and supply to schedules, which we break it down to first fit and second fit,” adds Goodier. “After the job is complete, we have easy access to all the spare parts to all of the products we have specified.” The company goes as far to give the maintenance staff on site access to www.hotelspares.co.uk and an easy to use  booklet that is made up of all the products specified in the hotel, so that if a problem were to surface, they would be able to identify the issue swiftly.

Times are changing

The conventional hotel bathroom as we know it has become a thing of the past. An example of an hotel bathroom breaking design barriers is The South Place Hotel, London which was chosen as the setting of BBC’s award-winning drama series, The Bodyguard. The ultra-contemporary hotel required a specific brief, and was the first new-build hotel to open within London’s city walls. “When designing hotel bathrooms, there is a lot more to consider than just the products,” says Goodier. “The South Place Hotel was an exciting project for us to be involved in, Conran & Partners who were the interior designers had a very clear image of the design brief they were trying to achieve. The products used within this set-up had to be stylish & modern yet with functionality. Always up for a challenge, we were tasked with sourcing a glass bath for the hotel suits which we had handmade in Italy, as well as having bespoke flush plates made with the hotel logo to reflect the level of detail given to this project.

“Utopia Projects prides itself on keeping its clients up to date on regulation changes as well as only working with WRAS-approved products and brands.”

Technology has opened the door for new software to creep in.. Online ‘shops’ are becoming more sophisticated, going as far as allowing designers to use virtual tools to create specifications with just a few clicks. The danger of this, however, is that cutting corners could lead to missed or unsuitable products being specified. Specialists, such as the workforce at Utopia Projects, cast experienced eyes over all specifications and sense-check everything as part of the 360-degree approach.

In addition, the new wave of tech-driven products is being introduced into the market at a rapid pace and more emphasis is being put on sustainability and quality. Utopia Projects prides itself on keeping its clients up to date on regulation changes as well as only working with WRAS-approved products and brands. Taking on the 360-degree approach to bathroom design, bathroom experts at Utopia Projects are determined to help designers meet ambitious hotel briefs with the knowledge, experience and the skill required to meet the growing demands of consumers who arguably see the bath, shower and WC as important as the bed.

Main image credit: The Biltmore Hotel, designed by Goddard Littlefair

Tap with water

Part 37: Putting sustainability front and centre in the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

PART 37: PUTTING SUSTAINABILITY FRONT AND CENTRE IN THE BATHROOM

Recommended Supplier Roca discusses sustainability in order to highlight how the international hotel design industry can save water and reduce wastage… 

Water consumption varies in hotels depending on the presence of swimming pools, saunas, laundry and catering facilities. However, water accounts for 10 per cent of utility bills in many hotels, with taps, toilets and showers comprising around 40 per cent of this total.

Any way we can reduce water consumption is going to be good for the hotel and good for the environment.

Bathroom manufacturing has become more sustainable in recent years and Roca has remained at the forefront of sustainable design by creating products that conserve water and protect the environment. For example, the bathroom manufacturer has reduced the capacity of its WC cisterns to optimise water consumption and developed plumbing products that shrink energy usage.

Guests are also being far more aware of the need to reduce water and energy consumption. In-roads have already been made in this regard, with a growing number of bathrooms now having a dual-flush cistern.

The objective is to stop unnecessary waste of water, without negatively impacting the perception of the user.

The right choice of products plays an important part in the management of water usage. And we deliberately say ‘management’ of water usage, because, although the overall aim is to reduce water usage, each of the products still has to work effectively. The objective is to stop unnecessary waste of water, without negatively impacting the perception of the user.

Water saving developments

Firstly, let’s look at some products that have been designed to reduce water-usage.

One of the latest innovations to hit the market are rimless toilets. The box rim has been eliminated, making the pan much easier to clean and eliminating areas in which bacteria can accumulate. The shape of the pan has also been redesigned, allowing us to flush very efficiently with as little as a 4/2L dual flush cistern. Considering that the average flush for new WCs is between 4L and 6L, a product like this can help to save considerable amounts of water.

Water saving technology can also be found in many brassware solutions. For example, Cold Start technology ensures water is only heated when it is required. Traditionally, when you turn on a tap, the water will be warm. This will automatically trigger the boiler, which can be expensive and wasteful, especially in a home where multigenerational families use water at different times.

Roca also has an exclusive piece of technology in its ECO disc cartridge, which helps to save water and energy. As the tap handle is raised, a slight resistance is reached at 50 per cent of the water flow and lifting beyond this bite point produces a full flow. The cartridge includes a temperature limiter which can be set at installation to eliminate the risk of scalding.

Innovation and product development are making significant headway in delivering greater water savings. For instance, the ground-breaking W+W from Roca uses waste water from the basin to fill the WC cistern, thereby reducing water usage by up to 25 per cent compared to a standard 6/3 litre dual-flush WC. The W+W basin has two wastes – the basin waste and one further down the waste pipe. The user has the option of either diverting it to the mains or recycling it by storing it in the cistern ready for the next flush.

Our Responsibility

As well as delivering bathroom solutions that save water and reduce wastage, Roca actively works to improve sanitation and increase access to water across the world. 

Created in 2010, the We Are Water Foundation is a Roca initiative which reinforces the brand’s historic engagement with society. On a planet with about 768 million people without access to drinking water and 2.7 billion without basic sanitation infrastructure, the Foundation aims to achieve two main objectives. First, to contribute to the spread of a new culture of water which is more caring, just and sustainable, and second, to help the world’s poorest and those with major water and sanitation problems.

The vision of the We Are Water Foundation is to continue growing worldwide, especially in countries where the Roca Group can, through its activities, participate more intensively to identify collaboration projects and contribute to the solution for water and sanitation problems.

Sustainable manufacturing

Roca also knows that how its products are produced is important so has created the Eco-Roca project, which looks at the production processes at its factory, as well as the development of its products and the social activities of the company. The project has two core goals, to cut CO2 emissions and to manage waste-free industrial processes via its Zero Waste Programme.

We have a greater understanding of the value of water and its wastage than ever before. Hoteliers and guests are mindful about the amount of water they are using and want ways to reduce it. It’s time to think seriously about water conservation.

Main image credit: Roca