Over the last few decades, there has been a radical transformation in the common perception of the bathroom: from a mere functional area to a room in its own right.
The rooms we use for essential daily functions have gradually become focal points for personal care and relaxation. Everything inside this multi-purpose container has undergone transformation: from the coverings to the sanitary fittings, from the accessories to the lights, adapting effectively to changes in interior design trends.
Responding to the growth in demand, nowadays the industry offers the final customer products of vastly varying quality, to suit all pockets. A special exhibition plotting the changes over the last 30 years is to be held in Bologna in September, to coincide with the Cersaie trade exhibition.
Nowadays, innovations and research in the industry provide us with much more high-tech covering materials. There has been a transition from the ceramic tile of the Eighties, in all its various colours and patterns, to new ideas: from ceramics in extremely versatile sizes to stoneware floor tiles, through to magnificent wood-look materials such as the Treverkatelier bathroom tile line by Marazzi, which actually offers tiles in size 15×120 cm, very similar to parquet boards. Marazzi also offers the Brooklyn line, very similar to the bare, minimalist “concrete effect”; resin is another option, minimalist and also extremely versatile. When it comes to the wall finishes, there is plenty of scope for originality, both with tiles in a vast range of colours and with emulsion paints, which can be combined very attractively with ceramic tiles laid a varying heights.
Sanitary fittings have also been revolutionised; design considerations have driven the transition from cold porcelain to warm, ductile materials, leading to the production of vanity washbasins, or washbasins made from special stones or traditional resins. Conventional bathtubs have given way first to hydromassage tubs for all budgets and then to roomy shower cabins with spray heads of all kinds, that bring the spa experience to our bathrooms. The sanitary fitting market also offers real design options, although I myself am a traditionalist and put function first, because a bathroom must be attractive but its practical purpose remains paramount, and nowadays all manufacturers are tending to strengthen the link between style and practicality.
Accessories, such as radiators that serve the dual purpose of heating both the room and towels, are now discreetly concealed and fit perfectly into finishings of all kinds.