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11. – 15.3.2019 (Monday – Friday), Frankfurt am Main

The comfortable bathroom

Source: VDS
Source: paulien-hausberger
Source: VDS
Source: sieger design
Source: VDS

The new bathroom luxury: Comfort for all generations

Whilst bathroom comfort used to be determined by size and glamour, today the focus is on providing fixture and fittings that are both attractive and useful for everyone – both old and young, able-bodied or those with limited mobility. From this ‘design for all’ perspective the issue of barrier free bathroom access is something that truly benefits everyone.

One example of current success is the floor level shower; it epitomises the zeitgeist and implies comfort and convenience more than being regarded as a special product for wheelchair users. The idea behind a smartphone app that enables faucets, showers, bidet toilets or LED lighting to be individually programmed is that it provides both comfort and convenience.

Moreover, the intention is that ambient assisted living, AAL in short, enhances the quality of life in the future. AAL stands for age-appropriate assistance systems that have the ability to carry out daily activities. Solutions based on advanced microsystem and communication technology enable people who need care to live independently and take an active part in society for longer than is currently possible.

Demographic change has prompted the state to encourage such research, while the campaigns for barrier-free bathrooms and barrier-free plumbing, heating and air-conditioning (SHK-Barrierefrei), amongst others, have also received much support for their commitment to counteracting the negative perception of associating an age-appropriate bathroom with impending neediness. The fact that the new image of the convenience bathroom has increasingly gained traction can be counted as a victory. Experts expect the ISH in Frankfurt am Main to offer major new impulses and a further strong push in this direction.

Ergonomics and safety in the bathroom

The German sanitary industry is focusing on user needs and sustainability

Ergonomics and safety are important in ensuring that people stay healthy and feel well. Because of demographic changes in particular, the theme is gaining in relevance – and this is in the bathroom as well. The German sanitary industry offers numerous solutions that make it possible to use the bathroom safely and in a way that is ergonomic and comfortable at every stage of life.

The purpose of ergonomics is to reduce health risks to a minimum and give people support in their daily lives. This has an application in the bathroom as well, because of rising life expectancy and increased heath consciousness.

Floor level showers without door sills, for example, provide generous room for movement and eliminate the hazard of tripping. The drainage system can be installed entirely in the wall as an alternative to a water outlet on the floor of the shower. This ensures the highest degree of safety. Already, there are small modifications such as seats, rails and hand grips that can provide a tangible improvement in safety and a relaxing shower experience. The same is true for non-slip surfaces, such as almost invisible surface coatings for enamelled shower surfaces. Digital features, such as integrated hot water safety devices and electronic control panels, can also make bathrooms more comfortable.

Tall people and those with back problems can benefit from raised WCs, for example. A remote control for flushing the toilet can make it possible to activate the flush in an ergonomic way. In addition, movement sensors can make daily life easier: a sweep of the hand can activate the desired flushing volume contact-free. With modular furniture and fittings, the whole layout of the bathroom can be adapted flexibly to living conditions.

In addition to attractive product design, the sanitary ware manufacturers in the Blue Responsibility initiative are orientating themselves particularly around user-friendly, safe and health-conscious solutions. In addition to looking good, the products need to function for people of all ages and physical constitutions. As Wolfgang Burchard, Director of the VDMA’s Association of Valve Manufacturers sums up: "Beautiful, timeless bathrooms can be used sustainably by all generations, because they fulfil people’s needs over a number of years. For this reason we can benefit from ergonomic solutions even when we’re young. At the same time, they are an investment in the future".

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