Utopia considers the increasing importance of cloakrooms and en suites, traditionally somewhat overlooked in terms of inspired design and clever planning.
Cloakrooms and en suites are now part of our day to day living space, an integral part of the home and no longer considered a separate utility. Bolder colours, textures and materials are being used to link these spaces to the rest of the house, with stylish bedroom and living room accessories perfectly at home in an en suite or cloakroom. It’s not surprising that we should be paying more attention to these smaller spaces as the cloakroom is the one room where all visitors to the home are likely to spend some time, and the en suite is the ideal opportunity to create a luxurious adult haven, very different from the busy family bathroom.
The key thing about these spaces is that they are likely to be small and, in the case, of the cloakroom, often awkwardly shaped, under stairs rooms. Having said that, there is still plenty of scope to create a dramatic impact and highly practical layout, using a combination of reduced depth furniture and sanitaryware with bold colour schemes and glossy, reflective surfaces.
Furniture works particularly well in these smaller spaces and is vital in providing out of sight storage for toiletries and cleaning materials. Try combining fitted and wall mounted furniture so that usable space can really be maximised. A fitted WC unit and storage unit will hide any unsightly pipework allowing the pan to be sited in the perfect location and not just where the pipes are. A modular washbasin unit with a large, illuminated mirror above will introduce a sense of space and is a much more stylish and practical alternative to a traditional basin and pedestal arrangement. Remember, too, that wall hung furniture and WCs add much more than a contemporary touch; they give an illusion of spaciousness by leaving the floor free.
Mark Crabtree from On The Level tells us what motivates him and why 3D printing excites him...
BR: How long have you worked in the bathroom industry?
Personally I’ve been involved with On The Level for the last 15 years, but the company has been going since 1999 meaning we are fast approaching our 20 year anniversary.
BR: What are the key USP’s offered by your company?
On The Level prides itself on being able to fix problems, and we often succeed where other companies have failed. We are also proud to be an advice-giving company, so we are always happy to answer questions from past, current and future customers.
BR: What new manufacturing technologies excite you?
With so many advances in technology, there’s always something new on the market. Right now though, we are however, excited by the thought of 3D printing.
BR: What challenges do you foresee for the industry over the next 12-24 months?
How the housing market goes can have a direct impact on a variety of industries, the housing market is very buoyant and interest rates have just gone up for the first time in a while. When we are lucky enough to build a good relationship with a housing developer, we are generally well looked after.
BR: Which industrial designer do you admire the most and why? (Living or departed)
Sir Terence Conran
BR: Where do you think the industry most needs to improve?
In adhering to mandatory legislations. While CE marking has been a legal requirement since July 2013, it’s horrifying to see the lack of knowledge and apathy to what is a legal requirement – not an optional choice.
BR: Online has certainly changed the market, what key benefits have you seen?
The internet provides the ability to launch and promote a product instantly with as much or as little details as the end user wants.
BR: What advice would you give a new starter in the industry today?
Whilst experience is useful - product knowledge is essential.
BR: What motivates you most in your work?
Leading a successful, happy and fun team and constantly developing new products, new markets and the Brand.
BR: If you could choose a super-power what would it be & why?
I have got super powers, but I cannot disclose them!
Stephen Maley explains the philosophy behind Hewi's accessible design...
BR: Describe the philosophy of Hewi
SM: Decades of experience has enabled us to become experts in accessible design offering uncompromising, integrated, well thought through solutions using top quality materials and processes. The design requirements for areas where accessibility is key, for example, hospitals, hotels, care homes, and workplaces can be extremely demanding. The design and fitout of accessible sanitary rooms in public buildings or private, multi-generational bathrooms is equally challenging. As a market leader for accessible design, we know how complex the standards are and approach each project with the aim of providing beautiful, compliant and de-stigmatised accessible spaces.
BR: How does the Uk compare with other coutries, do you think we are ahead or behind in providing solutions for this market?
SM: Hewi is fortunate enough to work in over 70 countries around the world which gives us a pretty good feel for the global approach to accessible design. The UK is very design conscious and as a result our UK clients and specifiers are very discerning in the way the accessible space is considered. The UK also has world leading regulatory demands from DOC M to British Standards, many of which are replicated around the world and sets the UK above most countries in this crucial sector.
BR: What is the Hewi definition of good accessible bathroom design?
SM: To have designed a bathroom with multi-use, flexible products which not only look great, but are functional too and offer the discreet levels of additional support as and when required. For example, our removable shower seats and support rails deliver tailored support.
BR: How has Hewi maintained design integrity whilst creating products for the healthcare industry?
SM: It’s in our DNA!. We have been specialising in this demanding sector for generations, so we know the products must be robust, durable and easy to maintain. We spend considerable time on material selection, market research and product testing to ensure that improved designs are up to the task of the tough demands required.
BR: Do you think bathroom product design for accessible products in general is still behind the times?
SM: There are many superb examples of well designed accessibility products around the world – so no I don’t necessarily think that area is too far behind the times. What is lacking is the general approach to accessible space design, as it can often be an afterthought or in some cases not even considered at all!
BR: How well received are Hewi's products in your intended market?
SM: It always gives us great pleasure when we receive feedback from clients form all sectors from Care to Hospitality, who tell us how delighted they are with their new “accessible bathrooms” which don’t resemble a 1970s care home. Our hotel clients around the world report a reduction in guest complaints about being given the “disabled room” – and the fact that each HEWI system can be fitted /removed in seconds to tailor the bathroom to the needs of the user, means we have many satisfied clients, and users whether disabled or not.
BR: What inspired Hewi to create the System 900 range?
SM: The HEWI Product Innovation Team used the UK demands for Doc M & British Standard compliance as a key factor in developing the longer/deeper shower seats and appropriate support rails within a brand new range together with matching accessories.
BR: Who is your target audience for this range, healthcare, homeowners or both?
SM: Our target audience will always be the end users who want to use the accessible bathroom safely, comfortably and not feel stigmatised. This means that this addition to our portfolio will go across all sectors from Homeowners to Hospitals and workplace/public buildings to Hotels.
BR: What do you feel were the design challenges you needed to over-come to create a product that would be well-received & functional?
SM: In all the studies & consultations we had with industry experts, one of the most repeated demands we received was that the shower seat for example, must be the right size, but it must look amazing. This meant we focused on the sheer strength of the seat and bracket material to ensure they were up for the job. And after the thousands of drop weight tests conducted we are able to confidently produce a beautifully designed & compliant shower seat.
BR: What are the key USP’s for this product?
SM: The HEWI S900 range continues with the HEWI legacy of quality and aspirational design across the entire portfolio which comply with UK’s Doc M, & British Standards and USA’s ADA
BR: What do you feel this product offers over and above those offered by the competition?
SM: Contemporary compliance. Within a huge range of solutions from the market leading designed accessibility experts
To find out more about the S900 Range - click the link.
To see Hewi's latest hotel video click the link
The HEWI S900 range.