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      5 minutes with: Ian Gell, head of new product design at Aqualisa

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      5 minutes with: Ian Gell, head of new product design at Aqualisa

      Following the launch of Aqualisa Smart Quartz Collection of showers, Hotel Designs catches up with Ian Gell, the brand’s head of new product design…

      The recent launch of the new Aqualisa Smart Quartz Collection of showers shows that the shower brand is firmly in the driving seat for innovative shower technology in the UK. In order to understand the technology behind the new products – as well as some of the major challenges that come with driving innovation in the bathroom – we spoke to Ian Gell, Aqualisa’s head of new product design.

      Hotel Designs: As Head of New Product Design at Aqualisa, what was the initial brief when creating the latest Smart Quartz Collection of showers?

      Ian Gell: We wanted to create a first truly Smart shower that would improve the showering experience even further and offer connectivity across our Quartz Digital collection in an ever-growing IOT market. We also wanted to develop a feature rich product at an entry level price. Aqualisa are known for designing world class showers and we wanted to go that one step further making our showers that little bit more special.

      A modern shower.

      Image credit: Aqualisa

      “From a concept perspective, having a shower that can be operated via an app or having voice control abilities seems quite straight forward however, the truth is, it was extremely challenging.” – Ian Gell, head of new product design, Aqualisa.

      HD: Can you explain some of the main challenges you faced when designing these products, and the solutions you came up with to rectify these?

      IG: The development of the app was the biggest challenge for us. From a concept perspective, having a shower that can be operated via an app or having voice control abilities seems quite straight forward however, the truth is, it was extremely challenging. There is no ‘off the shelf’ solution that you can incorporate and use so we had to develop something from the ground up that could communicate with all our products. As well as developing the app, we had to develop the software and hardware in our valves and controllers. Allowing all new controllers and valves to communicate with each other was key.

      HD: What makes this collection truly unique from anything else on the market?

      IG: Aqualisa invented the digital shower back in 2001 and we have been market leaders in this area since. Having a truly connected shower to offer is the icing on the cake for our well-loved brand as it enables so many exciting and innovative opportunities to become possible.

      HD: From concept to launch, how long did this collection take to design/create?

      IG: At the back end of November 2018, the designers picked up their pens for the first time and started creating some concept sketches and schemes however, the project really didn’t pick up traction until February 2019 and was launched in March 2020 so it took roughly a year. Most of the work has been developing a connected solution with some purpose. This resulted in the app being created and the hardware and software requiring a major overhaul to allow our product to become connected which took most of the time.

      HD: Technology in hotel bathrooms has traditionally divided consumer opinions? How user-friendly is the design of the Smart Quartz Collection of showers?

      IG: A smart shower provides a personalised experience with safe and precise water control.   Our smart and digital showers are in fact easier to use than most traditional showers. We have all used showers in the past where you need to stop and analyze the controls and work out what lever turns it on and what lever controls the temperature. Sometimes it’s the same lever and takes a bit of experimenting! In most instances, the user normally gets a cold wet arm whilst trying to get the water to the correct temperature for their liking.  This is not the case with our product.

      Our product is activated by a simple on/off button so there is no confusion. Furthermore, our showers can be activated remotely by remote control, through an app also by voice command (if you a have an Alexa or Google home device), so users can turn the shower on from outside the shower. All our showers will indicate when the desired temperature has been reached giving the user confidence the shower will be at the perfect temperature before entry.

      As well as having user benefits, our smart showers are quick and simple to install. As the hot and cold water is mixed away from the showering area, there are no bulky valves to fit into the wall. Our valves can be fitted out of site in a convenient location i.e. in a cupboard, in the loft space or under the bath resulting in easy access if needed.

      “Quartz Touch also allows users to store their preferred showering profile that can be active through the controller or via the app.” – Ian Gell, head of new product design, Aqualisa.

      HD: How does the range of products enhance the bathroom experience?

      IG: Smart showers are sleek and modern devices and will compliment any bathroom interior from the more classic approach to the most contemporary design. Quartz Touch is great for tech enthusiasts out there as an LCD display is present showing the user the exact temperature. The user can also access different menus allowing full control for flow. Quartz Touch also allows users to store their preferred showering profile that can be active through the controller or via the app. You can set your preferred flow, preferred outlet and temperature with a simple touch of a button.

      Our showers are also compatible with Alexa and Google so once the Aqualisa skill has been downloaded, Aqualisa showers can be added to people’s smart routines. For example, “hey google, start my relaxing bath routine” could turn up the thermostat, dim the lights and start filling the bath from your Aqualisa controller, all via that one command. With the smart technology out there, the options are limitless.

      HD: How have you designed these products so that they are eco-friendly?

      IG: There is growing pressure to find ways to reduce water consumption per household and per person. We all understand the benefits of reducing water usage and how it effects the environment and household bills. As showers are one of the biggest contributors of wastewater, we wanted our customers to be aware of how much water they were consuming from their shower.  As a result, we have incorporated a water usage dashboard into our app that shows how much water has been consumed for each user as well as the entire house over a specific period. This could be over the last week, month or six months. The app will clearly show who is using the most water and costs associated to them.

      We also have a water saving mode on our handset that reduces flow by around 20 per cent.  Our optimised spray pattern still provides an enhanced showering experience whilst using less water.

      Our Quartz Classic and Unity controllers have a boost function. The boost option allows users to have added flow if required or users can choose to have it turned off to a lower flow rate and save water.

      Our Touch and Optic controllers have three flow settings, Eco Medium and Max. Our Eco setting reduces flow by 40% compared to the Max flow setting.

      All of our packaging used for our smart products is made from fully recyclable material. Around 70% of the packaging components we use is made from recycled material. 100% of the waste produced during the production of our packaging is collected and recycled back into paper.

      HD: For hotels looking to renovate their properties in the wake of Covid-19, why is the Smart Quartz Collection a good option?

      IG: We are continuously improving the installation features of all our products but there is a particularly good replacement and refurbishment story with smart showers around less pipework and push fit cable connection. For example, the major benefit of upgrading from a traditional shower is moving the SmartValve, the brains of the system, completely out of the showering area – and potentially away from the guest bathroom altogether which is so easy for any future adjustment and maintenance.

      Also, freeing up more space in the showering area itself opens up much more design and décor flexibility.  Perhaps even more compelling in the post-Covid economy is the ability of hotel management to monitor water usage and costs, if necessary, adjusting the water flow through hotel bathrooms.  Assurances around hygiene and safety have surely never been a higher priority in terms of the hotel guest proposition and contactless smart shower technology clearly meets that brief.

      Aqualisa is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

      Main image credit: Aqualisa

      PRODUCT WATCH: Shower spaces from Ambiance Bain

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      PRODUCT WATCH: Shower spaces from Ambiance Bain

      Bathroom brand Ambiance Bain is continually striving to deliver new, innovative, exciting products, has succeeded again with a comprehensive range of shower trays and wall panels…

      Manufactured in its own factories, Ambiance Bain’s new collection of shower spaces is created from a unique solid surface material SMO.

      Developed by Ambiance Bain, SMO is a mixture of natural stone powders and low-density mineral granules from recycling and a binder, which is then coated with a 1mm thick protective gel coat for durability and strength. This material can be cast in one single piece with no seals or bonding to deliver an easy to clean, hygienic finish.

      Image credit: Ambiance Bain

      Meticulously finished by hand down to the last detail, we have developed a manufacturing process which enables us to produce individual shower trays and panels within bespoke configurations as well as small and large runs for our collections and major projects.

      If you already have a bath and want to replace it with a shower space, Ambiance Bain SMO shower trays and wall panels are the ideal choice.  Considerable costs can be saved by installing a shower in the space left behind by a bath.  Existing drain lines and water supplies will already be in place and this will significantly reduce plumbing costs.  Our comprehensive range of shower trays and wall panels can transform your bath area into a beautiful, accessible shower space, which will use less water and is easier to clean.

      Image credit: Ambiance Bain

      Choose from four adjustable shower trays, Origin, Oka, Altima and Altimax or two made to measure options Universal and Elegance, all with co-ordinating shower wall panels, which complement our SMO worktops for a completely harmonious design.

      Available in an array of beautiful gloss, matt and sparkly colours, you can be sure there is an option for every style of hotel design. You can even choose your own RAL colour if you need a completely bespoke look.

      All our shower trays and wall panels can be cut to size as per your specification or easily adjusted on site and are quick and easy to install.

      With hygiene and deep cleaning on the top of everyone’s priority list at the moment, it makes sense to choose products which are robust and easy to maintain. Ambiance Bain SMO shower trays and wall panels, with no grout lines, make cleaning a pleasure whilst helping protect the environment, without the need for cleaning agents, they can be maintained merely with a lint free cloth and mild soapy water.

      Ambiance Bain is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

      Main image credit: Ambiance Bain

      Bathroom collaboration goals: AQATA and Roccia Tiles

      730 565 Hamish Kilburn
      Bathroom collaboration goals: AQATA and Roccia Tiles

      The UK’s leading manufacturer of luxury shower screens and enclosures AQATA recently collaborated with Roccia Tiles on an exciting new bathroom project…

      The brief for AQATA and Roccia Tiles was to create a large walk in steam enclosure that was light, airy and used stone tiles and flooring which added warmth to the space.

      The project was the perfect fit for AQATA’s Design Solutions range, the most versatile of all our shower screens and enclosures as it allows total freedom to create a unique and individual space. In this case we used the DS470 special, for this made 2 measure steam enclosure.

      The client wanted to the room to be fully visible from the outside so chrome fixtures and hinges were used and AQATA installed the screen and door using 10mm toughed clear-shield glass. This is ideal for a steam enclosure as it is easy to clean, eco-friendly and prevents the growth of bacteria. Although for this project clear glass was used, tinted options including bronze and grey are available.

      When designing the steam enclosure because of the exterior set up, in this instance the door opens to the left. However, as the DS range provides numerous options, doors can open in either direction and depending on aspects, such as height of showerhead; it can open inwards or out into the bathroom.

      Image caption: Design Solutions range by AQATA

      The steam enclosure is a complete room with the glass extending from wall to wall; however the design solution range is also suitable for freestanding shower enclosures too.

      Enriched by a passion for superb design and product innovation AQATA are a leading UK manufacturer of luxury shower screens and enclosures. Founded in 1986 by engineer and entrepreneur, Peter Brown, AQATA is a home-grown, family owned company with more than 30 years’ experience in the bathroom industry.

      All AQATA models are designed and built to order by skilled experienced craftsman at the company’s dedicated factory in Hinckley, Leicestershire. Every handcrafted enclosure and screen comes with a life time guarantee for complete peace of mind and is supplied with ClearShield ECO-GLASSTM glass protection as standard.

      AQATA has recently become a Hotel Designs’ Recommended Supplier. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

      Main image credit: AQATA

      GROHE launches new cashback offer for SmartControl showers

      800 658 Hamish Kilburn

      GROHE has launched its latest cashback incentive, its first for 2019, offering consumers up to £50 cashback on some of the brand’s most innovative showers…

      The cashback offer that GROHE has recently announced runs across eighteen different model specifications of GROHE’s one box SmartControl Shower systems, including exposed, concealed, excealed and Euphoria styles with choices of round and square trims and shower heads to ensure a perfect match to existing decor.

      The extensive range of SmartControl models and specifications can be found on the website or alternatively, GROHE offer an online configurator tool where customers follow various steps, selecting their preferred style or requirements to find the perfect model to suit their bathroom or project. You can visit GROHE’s online SmartControl configurator.

      – Exposed – The original SmartControl shower system, which is wall mounted and comes complete with head and hand shower. Multiple spray patterns can also easily be switched between, delivering a shower perfectly tailored to your mood. Ideal for retrofit.
      – Concealed – All of the SmartControl technology but with none of the pipework on display. The concealed version is a great way to achieve a minimalist look in the bathroom or create more space in your shower area. Concealed showering also offers more personalisation of the individual space in terms of layout. The freedom to create a truly bespoke shower space is enabled thanks to the concealed valve being able to be placed on an opposing wall away from the outlet.
      – Excealed – Excealed offers the best of both worlds, with an exposed thermostat still on display but reduced pipework thanks to the wall-fixed head shower meaning a riser rail is unnecessary. Both head and hand shower offer a choice of two spray patterns.
      – Euphoria – The latest addition to the range is an excellent choice for retrofit projects. With a traditional exposed frame on display, it has a slimmer interface, creating an illusion of more space in the bathroom. Euphoria offers a multi-jet shower head with up to three shower patterns plus the additional hand shower for more personalisation than ever before.

      The cashback offer is available on qualifying SmartControl purchases from a verified retailer and consumers can make their claim directly through the GROHE website, www.grohe.co.uk.

      The offer applies to purchases made from January 1, 2019 until the May 31, 2019, with all claims to be made by June 30, 2019. Proof of purchase is required. Terms and conditions apply.

      GROHE is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

      Image credit: GROHE

      GROHE reveals its first shower tray collection

      640 480 Hamish Kilburn

      Shower expert and Hotel Designs Recommended Supplier GROHE unveils its first ever shower tray collection…

      Whether it’s a new build or a bathroom renovation project, the demand for luxurious, ergonomic and modern spa bathrooms continues to increase. Therefore, contemporary solutions not only provide comfort and excellent performance that lasts for decades, but in many cases a visual enhancement too. With the introduction of GROHE’s brand new extra-low profile shower trays, design accents that ultimately increase the value of a property can now be specified and implemented in the home. In particular, a bathroom free from substantial edges and steps makes for a timeless and accessible design.

      With its unique and high-quality shower trays, GROHE, the world’s leading supplier of sanitary fittings, is setting new standards, creating the ideal combination of form and functionality in the modern bathroom. GROHE shower trays are designed to be a PerfectMatch: they not only match with any of the three sanitaryware design lines – GROHE Bau, GROHE Euro and GROHE Cube – but can also be optimally combined with other GROHE bathroom accessories too. Specialist retailers can benefit from GROHE’s versatility as a full-service supplier, with its complete bathroom solutions making it simple to implement individual customer wishes in a unique GROHE design from a single source, drawing on LIXIL’s decades of know-how in this category.

      “All the shower tray models are made of high-quality sanitary acrylic in an Alpine White finish.”

      The high-quality GROHE shower trays are particularly low profile and, with their depth of only three centimetres, are a design object of every bathroom. This makes the installation particularly sustainable, as accessibility is guaranteed for all users and therefore future-proofed for years to come. The choice of rectangular or square models work to adapt seamlessly to all designs and with sizes from 80 x 80cm up to 90 x 140cm, a selection of seven different dimensions ensures there is a model suitable for every bathroom space.

      All the shower tray models are made of high-quality sanitary acrylic in an Alpine White finish which feels pleasantly warm even at the first touch. The tray’s solid, full-surface base provides stability and longevity whilst the non-porous and smooth surface ensures increased slip resistance during showering.

      GROHE are one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

      Grohe Smart Shower

      Perfect precise performance: Euphoria SmartControl from GROHE

      800 739 Hamish Kilburn

      The minimalist design of GROHE SmartControl introduces three times the control in the shower…

      The experience of “Push, Turn, Shower” has now become even more multifaceted as the smart technology is integrated into another successful GROHE design line – GROHE Euphoria SmartControl. The new surface-mounted installation features a significantly slimmer form of the SmartControl interface as well as fast-acting temperature regulation that prevents the risk of scalding thanks to the GROHTHERM thermostat.

      Three times the control GROHE Euphoria SmartControl is brimming with “Made in Germany” technology and design quality which is displayed in the multi-jet shower heads. The smart shower system’s centrepiece is the front-mounted push and turn control unit. Unique pictograms called GROHE EasyLogic provide intuitive operation. The turn of a button can regulate the water pressure , ranging from a gentle shower to a more vigorous awakening, depending on each individual’s mood.

      With the push of a button, the spray types can be selected. The first button, for example, activates the Euphoria handshower or the Euphoria Cube stick, offering complete flexibility so that the water can be directed exactly where it is needed. The button in the middle provides full SmartControl power. Thanks to the new ActiveRain jet control, one can choose between a powerful jet spray perfect for rinsing out shampoo, or a concentrated jet spray that massages away the stresses of everyday life. The third button, with its gentle PureRain spray, has been designed to offer ultimate relaxation from your shower experience. After switching off the water, the system automatically saves the selected flow rate until it is next used. In addition to the Rainshower 310 SmartActive shower head, the GROHE Euphoria SmartControl shower system is also available with the multi-jet Euphoria 260 head shower. Three types of spray can be selected manually by turning the innovative control in the middle of the shower head’s plate: a powerful jet spray, the invigorating SmartRain jet spray and a full rain jet spray that brings the tranquil sensation of a gentle summer rain.

      The new GROHE Euphoria SmartControl control interface features a very slim, minimalist design with compact dimensions

      Meanwhile, thanks to GROHE QuickFix, individual adjustments can be made to the upper bracket of both models which makes the drilling of additional holes unnecessary, meaning it also serves as an ideal retrofit solution It is also possible to swing the arm of the head shower 180 degrees. In addition, the system features GROHE CoolTouch technology which ensures the chrome surface of the control unit does not get too hot whilst the GROHTERM SmartControl thermostat with GROHE TurboStat technology delivers the highest precision in temperature regulation.

      Minimalist design – clean and convenient

      The new GROHE Euphoria SmartControl control interface features a very slim, minimalist design with compact dimensions. Especially in smaller bathrooms, these elements offer additional comfort whilst giving homeowners the opportunity to own a high-performance shower that can function efficiently in small spaces. The GROHE EasyReach shower shelf also provides a convenient storage solution for toiletries. Compared to the existing surface-mounted SmartControl solutions this is an even slimmer version. This minimalist form is beautifully contrasted with the generously sized 310mm shower head which is available in a round or square design. With a three choice of a high-gloss and durable GROHE StarLight chrome finish or the elegant MoonWhite acrylic glass, the design can be perfectly matched into any modern bathroom.

      GROHE has been developing new product categories since its inception. This includes the GROHE Blue and Red water systems and the recently-introduced GROHE Sense water security system, which is an innovative component in the growth market of smart home technology. Innovation, design and development are closely aligned with one another and are enshrined in the German site as an integrated process. As a result, GROHE products carry the seal of quality “Made in Germany”.

       

      Kaldewei NexSys opens new chapter for floor-level showers

      1024 724 Hamish Kilburn

      Bathroom specialist Kaldewei has just launched a revolutionary 4-in-1 system solution for easy, safe shower installation…

      Launching in the UK this month, Kaldewei NexSys is a shower surface revolution. The innovative 4-in-1 system which is already pre-assembled at the factory, consists of a waste channel, sloping support, sealing and an enamelled shower surface enabling ultra simple and fast installation by professionals. NexSys takes a completely new approach to floor-level showers, perfectly combining two worlds: with one of the main advantage being it’s a seamless shower surface made of steel enamel with the design of a tiled shower area with a shower channel. The Kaldewei NexSys opens up a new market segment and rings in the change from shower channel to channel shower. This innovative product is available in eight sizes.

      Narrow channel is an eye-catching feature

      Only one year after the concept was introduced at ISH 2017 and after subsequent market research, Kaldewei is launching its revolutionary NexSys shower surface system on the market. The visual highlight of the elegant design is the narrow waste channel with a high-end designer cover made of brushed stainless steel that fits seamlessly into the shower surface’s overall minimalist look. Like all Kaldewei bathroom solutions, NexSys is made of superior steel enamel so it will retain its exquisite look for decades.

      4-in-1 system cuts out installation steps

      It’s not only in visual terms that the NexSys is revolutionising the shower market, Kaldewei is also a trail blazer when it comes to shower surfaces with regard to installation. The pre-assembled system of waste channel, sloping support, sealing tape and shower surface can, for example, be positioned directly in the screed recess after height compensation – a significant time saving for bathroom professionals. Thanks to the low built heights, floor-level installation is also possible with a limited construction depth. NexSys has no interior contour whatsoever making it ideal for insertion into the bathroom’s tile grid – like a large enamelled tile with integrated waste channel. Sound proofing is guaranteed with the use of sound insulation tape.

      Cut out of Nexsys product

      Digital helper for planning and installation

      Kaldewei offers support every step of the way, ensuring easy planning and installation. Additional information about NexSys includes a wide range of online tools such as installation videos, its Product Configurator, an interactive planning assistant or the provision of corresponding certificates. These and other useful digital services are available on the Kaldewei website.

      Kaldewei are one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

      Crosswater launches MPRO Matt Black shower enclosure

      1024 585 Hamish Kilburn

      Following the launch of the MPRO Matt Blackbrass ware, Crosswater has now introduced the contemporary finish to its shower enclosure range. Designed to create a statement, the Single Slider Door and Side Panels are framed in dramatic Matt Black with a matching feature handle. With its angular design and modern fittings, the MPRO enclosure introduces on-trend contemporary features to the showering space, which coordinate with the selection of Matt Black heads, valves and handsets.

      Manufactured to the highest quality, the MPRO enclosure glass comes with Crosswater Clear protection as standard. This innovative invisible coating acts as a lasting barrier on the surface to help reduce staining and make the process of cleaning quicker and easier. With its framed, angular silhouette, MPRO balances contemporary design with the practicalities of daily showering. The sliding door is available in three widths that range from 1200 – 1700mm, whilst the side panel comes in two widths of 800 and 900mm. This offers a flexible solution for shower rooms of all sizes and configurations.

      Crosswater are one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

      To find out more information on Crosswater, and to view their complete collection, click here. 

      Minimalism and luxury: the new Grohe rainshower revealed

      863 1024 Toby Cruse

      Grohe is ushering in the next generation of bathrooms with its newly launched rainshower, which looks to combine soothing, delicate showers with invigorating and refreshing massage functionalities. Available in round or square options, the design intends to provide users with a luxurious shower experience set to look the part in any modern bathroom or wet room.

      Manufactured at the Grohe plant in Lahr, Germany, the extra-large shower head is supported by a slender shower arm designed to fit neatly into any shower without looking out of place. The Rainshower 310 2-Jet showers features oval water outlets arranged in a star-shaped pattern at the centre of the spray face generate a vigorous massage jet.

      They are surrounded by an arrangement of nozzles producing a much gentler PureRain spray, meaning users can choose between a concentrated jet to loosen up tense muscles or rinse shampoo out of their hair and a rain shower softly enveloping their body. Cleaning the shower face is just as easy; the SpeedClean design of the silicone nozzles means that limescale can simply be wiped off.

      Despite their 310mm diameter, or edge length in the square option, the showers never feel obtrusive. This is thanks to their low-profile body and uniquely streamlined silhouette. The beautifully slim shower arm comes with a matching round or square wall rosette. The new showers are optimally paired with the new SmartControl Concealed units, whose depth of only 43mm ensures minimum intrusion into the shower, leaving maximum room to move around.

      Design-coordinated hand showers and other water fittings are available in the extensive range of bathroom products from Grohe, the brand that is synonymous with flexibility in bathroom design and fully personalised shower experiences.

      For more information, you can visit Grohe’s website here for more information.