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ISH, Frankfurt 2013

Ahead of the 2013 Bathroom Innovation Awards we asked Belinda Geels, Reece Bathroom Marketing Manager, to give us an insight into the latest in all things bathing, direct from ISH Fair in Frankfurt.

ISH, Frankfurt 2013


May 28th, 2013

On our recent trip to ISH, the world’s leading bathroom fair held bi-annually in Frankfurt, we saw the very latest in bathroom trends. ISH 2013 further reinforced the bathroom as a deeply personal and individual space.  Modern bathroom design now offers so much variety and innovation it was difficult to establish the top trends but we have narrowed down our top 10 trends (including an exciting collaboration) to watch out for:

Complete Integration

Integration was a dominant theme across many dimensions. The integration of the bathroom into the home. The integration of bathroom products with bathroom furniture. And the seamless integration of products within the bathroom space itself.

IndesignLive Reece at ISH Integration

IndesignLive Reece at ISH_Integration Alape

Sensory Experience

The new bathroom offers a totally immersive experience stimulating all the senses. Mood lighting within the bathroom, in showers and baths.

IndesignLive Reece at ISH_Sensory_Laufen

Music and sound in showers, baths and built into mirrors and cabinets. Different spray styles and water flows. Total control over temperature. Vibration and massage settings in baths.

Indesign Live Reece at ISH_Sensory_Kaldewai1

And, perhaps the best illustration of this trend is the new “super shower” that offers a total, integrated sensory experience that brings together all these elements including personalised water scents!

Indesign Live Reece at ISH_Sensory

New Bathroom Spaces

The bathroom continues to open up to form part of the wider living zone where bathrooms meet bedrooms and even the bathroom and dressing room become one continuous space.

Indesign Live Reece at ISH_Spaces

And as the bathroom space becomes bigger, zoning within the bathroom has become more important and more evident, reinforcing again the bathroom as a destination for personal rejuvenation and renewal. This trend saw dedicated areas of the bathroom for specific functions such as cleansing, preparation and relaxation.

IndesignLive Reece Bathroom - Hotel Inspired

Colour Accents

Use of colour in products was restrained but did go beyond the usual monochromes to include splashes of bright colours. White and chrome was also popular, offering an elegant pairing. Muted hues of orange, red and grey were also used as accents.

IndesignLive Roca Khroma BTW Close

IndesignLive Reece at ISH_Colour Accents

A Material World

While vitreous china and traditional ceramics still represent the heart of the bathroom, there were a range of materials on show. Laufen’s innovative new ceramic material, SaphirKeramik was a highlight and featured in a new range of basins. SaphirKeramik is lighter, stronger and more flexible than vitreous china and ceramics and capable of producing exceptionally thin walls and tighter corners.

IndesignLive Reece at ISH_Material World_Alape2

Other alternative materials include Alape’s Ceramostahl which is a rich glass enamel glazing applied to seamless sheet of steel. There were also a range of polyethylene and resin based products. Alternative materials also extended to Corian tapware and stone composite.

INDESIGNLIVE Reece at ISH_Material World_Shelving

INDESIGNLIVE Reece at ISH_Material World_Shelving

Shaped by Nature

While there were many different shapes on show and the usual complement of square and linear products, soft edged, organic shapes appeared popular. At one level, subtle curves were used to soften otherwise squared edged basins and baths.

INDESIGNLIVE Reece at ISH_Shaped by Nature_Roca

At another, products took on a more free, organic shape reflecting forms of nature which was best illustrated in a variety of moulded basins shaped out of single pieces, integrated seamlessly with other bathroom furniture and sometimes even with the wall.

INDESIGNLIVE Reece at ISH_Shaped_Laufen1

Smart Water

Even more so than ISH 2011, technology has entered the bathroom and now is an integral part of the total bathroom experience. Infrared controls, touch panels and remote controls are used to drive just about every function in the bathroom.

INDESIGNLIVE Reece at ISH_Smart Water_Laufen1

From setting the mood with lights and sound, controlling precise water flow and temperature through an extensive array of thermostatic mixers, setting personalised shower sprays, and even directing a multitude of toilet programs through the increasingly ubiquitous “tech toilet” hybrid bidet. The smarter technology products on show were built with the future in mind and capable of catering for new functionality.

INDESIGNLIVE Reece at ISH_Smart Water_Laufen3

The Universal Bathroom

The theme that everyone should be able to enjoy a beautiful bathroom was illustrated in the non traditional settings of assisted and independent living and public spaces.

INDESIGNLIVE Reece at ISH_Universal_Laufen1

The range of products for these bathroom spaces showed greater design quality, innovation and integration and reflected a more considered approach to design, needs and human interaction.


Taps continued to represent the product category with the most variety and innovation at this year’s ISH. The show highlighted many old favourites including modern traditional styles, side and cross handles along with strong new looks. Long, elongated handles, touchless taps and retractable kitchen mixers were popular with thin, sleek-look taps a real standout.

IndesignLive Reece at ISH_Taps_Nobili

indesignlive Milli Axon Extended Basin Mixer in black and chrome

Best in Show – The Kartell Laufen Collaboration

Our pick for best in show for the most integrated and innovative range was the Kartell by Laufen range designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba. This collaboration combines the iconic design of Kartell with the quality of Laufen to produce a truly fresh and considered range. Only a Swiss Italian union could produce such a fresh and distinctive range that conveys precision and emotion in equal measures.

IndesignLive Reece at ISH_Best in Show_Kartell by Laufen8

 indesignlive Reece at ISH_Kartell by Laufen6

IndesignLive Reece at ISH_Best in Show_Kartell by Laufen2



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