London’s much-anticipated Hotel Interior Experience (HIX) show finally took place on 18th-19th November at the Business Design Centre – Amelia Thorpe took a tour of the stands, and tells us about the key trends she saw on display.
"After two years of planning, postponing and persevering, HIX happened…" So say the team behind London’s much-anticipated Hotel Interior Experience (HIX) show, which took place in November, opening its doors for the very first time. With exhibitors across the hotel and hospitality supply chain – from furniture to technology – it was good to see an impressive number of bathroom brands on show. "A huge part of the guest experience is well-being and the bathroom space, whether guest room, spa or public restrooms, represents the opportunity to rejuvenate, reconnect or simply have a soak in solitude," says HIX director Joel Butler of the relevance of the show to the bathroom industry.
Few would doubt the popularity of choice in finishes for brassware and accessories as a way to customise a bathroom design, from a selection of more than 20 finishes from Rutland London to the new Union Brass and Brushed Black Chrome option from Crosswater and the Allure range from Grohe’s Spa collection, available in Brushed Cool Sunrise, Brushed Warm Sunset and Hard Graphite. Roman showed off its Liberty and new Synchronicity showering ranges in multiple finishes, including matt black, brushed and polished nickel, brushed brass and matt white.
2. Countertop wash bowls
Jewel-like sit-on basins made a strong appearance, their colours, sculptural shapes and tactile finishes grabbing plenty of attention. "They give an extra pop to bathroom design and can look absolutely stunning," notes Lucy Holmes, marketing director of Sanipex Group, which exhibited Bagno Designs’ gleaming Murano wash bowls. Villeroy & Boch showed its Artis countertop basins in new Bordeaux, Rust, Indian Summer and Sage Green colours, while the new Ruy Ohtake bowls from Roca featured organic shapes and soft hues.
3. Maximalism vs Minimalism
VitrA devoted its entire stand to Liquid, its new bold and unashamedly maximalist collection designed by Tom Dixon. Designed to be ‘fun yet functional’, Liquid features generous, curvy, almost cartoon-like shapes. At the other end of the spectrum, Hansgrohe majored on the Axor One brassware collection by Barber Osgerby, with its ultra-refined and slender silhouette, achieved by positioning the tap cartridge below the basin countertop.
4. Showers vs Baths
Showers occupied much of the floor space, including Roman’s system for integration of the shower enclosure to a basin and vanity top, and bespoke offerings from Majestic, now owned by Irish brand Flair Showers, which also had a stand. Baths on show were far fewer – but what they lost in quantity, they made up for in quality – with showstopping freestanding designs such as Laufen’s Ino and Bette’s Eve Oval Silhouette. Says Bette head of marketing and product development Sven Rensinghoff: "Freestanding baths can elevate the bathroom or bedroom to the next level in terms of both the interior design and how guests enjoy the space."
5. Shower toilets
Increasing demand from international guests for shower toilets has been encouraging hotel designers to investigate the options, while companies, such as Geberit with its AquaClean range, have been working hard to explain the added value they can offer to the guest experience, particularly at luxury suite level.
Hotel services company Nestwell Hospitality invited designers to develop room concepts focussed on wellness, as part of a focus on how experience contributes towards an enhanced state of happiness. Sieger Design’s concept for a ‘Re-Charge’ suite featured its Small Size Premium Spa layout which succeeds in including vertical and horizontal showers, heated bench, side bars and affusion pipe in a 6sq m space. "It’s not about the quantity of space in a room, it’s about the quality of the elements that you integrate," says studio head Christian Sieger.
Have a look at the room concepts here.