Monday, 18 March 2013

ISH review: For better or wurst?


The Kitchens & Bathrooms News team endured the snow in Frankfurt to savour the forthcoming trends for bathrooms, not to mention local delicacies of a sausage (or two)
On the cusp of British summertime, of course the UK was always destined to have bad weather. But snow? And this time the Brits shared their misfortune with Germany – and in particular Frankfurt - during one of the most important dates for the bathroom calendar - ISH. The snow caused havoc on day one of the ISH trade show with cancelled flights and eventually a closed airport meaning visibly fewer visitors - not only from the UK - but right across Europe. And for exhibitors and visitors who were able to rearrange their travel plans saw the pace of their schedule shift up a gear, as they attempted to cram the same amount of work into 24 fewer hours.
But for those who did manage to breach the Bavarian border, ISH laid bare the bathroom trends, which this year very clearly focused on improving the consumer ‘experience' through products and marketing messages.


 The products drew on all the senses, with obvious features such as sound, lighting and even a bath with an aromatherapy mist. But even the products which didn't appear to be designed to these rules were clearly created to evoke emotions, to enhance and ultimately engage consumers.
It meant the design pendulum, which at the previous event swung towards safe but sellable products had made a moderate move towards slightly more edgier and luxury styles, with assymetry proving to be a key look. But, arguably, it was the wide choice on offer from bathroom manufacturers, allowing designers to create bespoke spaces, using vast but standard ranges, which looks set to be a big influence on the high street. This ability to personalise individual bathroom spaces, not only ensures designers can maximise consumers’ enjoyment of their bathroom space, but perhaps cynically, ensure that they get the sale.
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