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The countless advantages of ceramic make this material shine in new splendor for designers and manufacturers creating bathroom innovations. Changes in social awareness of hygienic issues give this a further boost.
The use of ceramic in bathrooms is nothing new – in fact, it’s probably the most commonly used material. Ceramic is a quality material that has always enjoyed many hygienic advantages: It is easy to clean, non-absorbent, resistant to sanitary products, naturally sourced and environmental-friendly. In the current situation, the advantages of ceramics even get a boost. The awareness of hygienic issues in both public and private bathrooms has been increasing since the Corona pandemic begun – as exemplified by handwashing signs, instructions for appropriate techniques and disinfectant dispensers.
At the same time, hygiene improvements have become a priority for various manufacturers and designers delivering products for bathroom designs. This trend is reflected in the iF DESIGN AWARD statistics. This year there were 226 winning entries in the category Bathroom out of almost 10,000 submissions in total. For comparison purposes, in 2019 there were still 88 winning entries of almost 9,000 submissions.
Ceramic in bathrooms can be seen as an antidote for disease and decay, especially when it appears in white color symbolizing health and vitality. This different approach to the material has made ceramic a contemporary look – which can be found even outside the bathroom. For instance, in order to guarantee surfaces as germ-free as possible, many modern ceramic designs use special surface coatings for toilets, sinks and bathtubs. "The bathroom requires resistant surfaces that, as in the case of floors, offer slip resistance, so ceramic coverings are the best proposal", says designer and iF juror Lutzía Ortiz Miralles.
iF: What makes ceramics such a special material?
L. O. M.: Ceramic has countless advantages: it is beautiful, resistant, easy to maintain, economical and very versatile. In addition to traditional finishes, today we can find ceramic tiles that simulate any type of material in an astonishingly accurate way. Ceramic wall and floor tiles are easy to clean and have a high resistance to wear and tear. It’s a very durable and economical cladding that requires less maintenance.
What is the best way to integrate ceramics into the bathroom to enhance the design?
The bathroom is the space dedicated to the toilet and requires resistant surfaces that do not stain, are low maintenance, hygienic and, as in the case of floors, offer slip resistance, so ceramic coverings are the best proposal. There is no best design proposal, it depends on various factors such as the spatial characteristics of the environment, its size or the technical performance of the material. The important thing is to think about what design fits best, what natural light you have and what atmosphere you’re looking for.
With a new focus on geometric shapes and sleek lines, ceramic countertops offer a clean design. When combined with wood, ceramic exudes a certain warmth, as in the "CROSS" bathroom furniture collection. Together with metal, it creates a contemporary atmosphere, as in the "SOLID" bathroom elements. "In addition to traditional finishes, today we can find ceramic tiles that simulate any type of material in an astonishingly accurate way," sums up Lutzia.
Thanks to state-of-the-art innovations such as the intelligent voice technology in the aptly named ceramic washbasin "L.Magic" or the smart toilet "W23 Light" with its energy-saving features – this is how ceramic shines in new splendor.