Luke Di Michiel, designer of Caroma’s new Liano II Colour Basins Collection, discusses the benefits of local design and manufacturing, and why high-level customisation is the future of bathroom design.
June 21st, 2022
Caroma has long been Australia’s leading designer and supplier of bathroom products – and it’s collections like Liano II that effortlessly reinforce the brand’s position in this space. Blending their holistic design ethos with the innate drive to innovate their product offering with every new iteration, Caroma’s unique brand of timeless design generates enduring bathroom interiors that embrace both swiftly changing design trends and the personal preferences of their users.
A highly resolved embodiment of this notion, Liano II Colour Basins Collection follows the much-coveted Liano II Tapware range. The new addition establishes a clear visual link with the tapware range by mirroring its round, minimalistic forms, and celebrating a carefully curated complementary colour palette. At the same time, the new designs bring a selection of new – perhaps even pioneering – elements as a testament to the brand’s natural inclination to invent, expand and evolve.
Introductions are in order! Step in to a world of colour with Caroma’s Liano II Colour Basins Collection here.
“One of Caroma’s key advantages is the ability to offer our clients considered design collections,” says Luke Di Michiel. “That’s why, when we design tapware, we consider it important to also offer a selection of basins and associated accessories that match it where form, palette and proportions are concerned. The ability to form strong relationships between these elements in order to offer timeless designs for our clients is crucial.”
From playing off the tapware’s strong use of geometric silhouettes, which is clearly reflected in the circular and elongated, pill-like shapes of the new basins, to ensuring that different types of basins cater to varying kinds of tapware, the highly considered designs expand both the potential and the enduring appeal of the collection. “It’s about providing the consumers with the ability to select matching elements within that range no matter which type of basin or tapware they prefer,” explains the designer.
Caroma’s new collection is a masterful blend of both. The selection of matching elements makes it easy for the fit-outs to be updated or further customised down the line – and the consumer can have the peace of mind that Caroma will have a selection of shapes, colours, accessories and finishes that will match their basin or tapware.
This intent naturally informed the range’s unique palette of seven stunning colours. Luke and his team set out to create shades that are timeless, compliment the metallic finishes of the tapware, embrace contemporary bathroom trends – and foster the notion of personalisation.
“The white matte, or even the speckled matte, are a nice step change from the more traditional gloss white,,” he starts. “The darker palette, including the black matte and grey matte, is a response to the recent shift towards bathrooms as places of respite, relaxation and escape. While traditional gloss white can seem quite functional and clinical, the darker hues can create a more comforting mood. Pink matte and green matte, on the other hand, can invigorate space with a touch of vibrancy, and a sense of freshness.”
Pink, green, grey and speckled are produced to order. In that, Caroma’s offering embraces the opportunity to support its customers in responding to what’s en vogue, while further reinforcing its platform of responsiveness well into the future.
With more colours to be expected down the line, the new collection offers designers plenty to get creative with already. Particularly, as Caroma’s innovative streak takes the form of a dress ring – a new addition to the brand’s offering, and the market as a whole. Alongside the beautifully crafted ceramic pop-up plug and waste, which can be matched to the colour of the basin or the tapware, the dress ring – an imaginative take on the traditional idea of the shadow line – enables designers to further customise their basin, and elevate their bathroom.
“The dress ring plays off the traditional architectural element of the shadow line,” explains Luke. “But it takes the concept one step further.” He says that some products are designed to sit on a small, generally black base that enhances the overall look and feel. Building on this idea, Caroma’s latest collection introduces dress rings in three shapes and five unique colour finishes which match the palette of the basins, as well complimenting the shades of the tapware.
“Of course, a plain simple white basin – particularly in that timeless, geometric round shape that has the power to bring various elements of the bathroom together – is perfectly beautiful,” Luke says. “But with a dress ring, say in brushed brass, you can elevate the space further. This accessory can really transform and personalise the basin in a relatively simple way.”
The addition of the dress ring also accentuates the contemporary finish of the new basins. “In recent years we have seen the rise of matte finishes. There’s been a big push for it across basins, toilets and baths internationally,” says Luke. “And we have been really inspired by this more tactile, matte texture when designing tapware, too.”
The simple refinement of the matte glazed finish brings out the unique character of each one of the colours, and harmoniously corresponds with tapware and other accessories. And in contrast to glossy surfaces, which can at times feel quite clinical, this tactile finish has a much softer, premium quality to it. And, Luke points out, it leans into the shift towards the use of natural materials, with tactile textures of timber and stone, in the bathroom.
What was instrumental to achieving this highly-resolved level of finish, was the fact that Caroma has both the design and manufacturing facilities in Australia. “We have production capabilities at our Innovation and Distribution Centre in Preston, in New South Wales,” explains Luke. “We have a dedicated ceramics team, headed up by the Technical Materials Manager , and an extensive product development team. That means we can make small-scale production pieces on site, and develop the glaze colours and finishes ourselves.”
In this instance, the team explored a whole range of levels of matte before settling on what felt just right. Similarly, arriving at the final speckled colour took a few rounds of testing – and the ability to test new spray pattern effects . “The ability to try things out here in Australia is incredibly important,” reinforces Luke.
This rigorous approach to design and craft is also expressed through the materiality of the basins. Made with fine fire clay, the pieces boast the incredibly refined rim thickness of a mere 7mm, while maintaining an impressive, strong structure.
“Traditionally, this sort of rim thickness was harder to control within the ceramic industry,” says Luke. “But with new technologies and processes, that’s become increasingly available.” As a result, Caroma’s developed their very own techniques and worked closely with their suppliers to ensure the basins would be able to fuse those stunning and tactile design features, while ensuring unmatched durability and hygienic profile.
“Fine fire clay is such a beautiful material to work with,” enthuses Luke. “The finish is sprayed on as a glaze, and then fired through a kiln. That means the colour will not deteriorate or wear off. The finish is for life – which puts us in good stead to be able to offer a superior warranty with the product.”
Caroma’s local design and manufacturing capabilities have yet another benefit – particularly from a designer’s point of view.
“Colour is here to stay,” says Luke. “And the future of bathroom spaces will be defined by a high level of customisation. At the moment, we provide designers and specifiers with available colour and finish palettes to consider. In the future, I imagine working with an architect or interior designer to develop a specific colour they might need. The ability for us to develop products locally puts us in the perfect position to offer that advanced level of customisation. I think that’s really exciting, and what we’ve done with this range has really set us up for that long term future success.”
To explore the collection offering a small glimpse into what the future of bathroom design might bring, head to Caroma’s website.
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