Beds and bathrooms are the business card of every hotel studies show that they are decisive for the guest when judging if the hotel meets their expectations or not. Get it right and the hotel can look forward to repeat business, as well as to gaining new custom through the power of word of mouth. Get it wrong and the hotel’s reputation can really take a nosedive.
The specification of sanitaryware and furniture for the bathroom is unquestionably a crucial element of the overall design of the space, but it is one that Laufen believes should be left in the hands of the designers themselves, rather than manufacturers trying to dictate to them what solutions and products will work best.
“Many manufacturers fall into the trap of attempting to pull together the do’s and don’ts of bathroom design, only to find that designers would, quite naturally, rather do things their own way,” explains Laufen’s Manager for Global Projects, Ilker Hussein.
“At Laufen we don’t do this, simply because we don’t need to. Instead, we offer a complete range of solutions for all types of bathroom, giving the designer free rein to choose what appeals to them and what they believe will work best.
“We work on the philosophy that we know what we’re talking about and so does the designer and our products are all about empowering the designer to challenge boundaries and explore their creativity.
“All of our ranges from the top down are the work of designers and architects so they are created with a great deal of empathy and understanding. We want hotel designers to take our products and realise their potential.”
All things considered
This aside, of course there are still considerations to be made when it comes to designing a hotel bathroom that will live up to guests’ expectations. “The easiest way to do this successfully is to draw on personal experience and ask yourself what it is that you expect from a hotel bathroom,” continues Ilker. “The answer is likely to be something along the lines of experiencing a beautiful, comfortable environment, to have things that work in a space that works for you. All of these are certainly achievable and are perhaps the very least we can do; in order to really push the boundaries designers should also be looking to make the hotel guest feel enlightened. People want to be challenged and the very best reaction designers can hope for is that guests end their visit thinking ‘I would love to create this look at home’, “What a great idea”. That’s when you know you’ve got it spot on.”
Indeed, much successful creative design in the hotel sector has cascaded down to the domestic bathroom with just a few strong examples of this being wall-hung sanitaryware, wall-hung furniture and wetrooms. The reason for this is simple because these designs work on many different levels and inspire people to re-create the look in their own homes. “If it’s a good design that works well then people will want to emulate it,” comments Ilker.
It is for this reason that Swiss manufacturer Laufen, which has been a market-leader in providing design, quality and function for the domestic bathroom for over 100 years, is now rapidly growing its presence in the hotel sector, with the introduction of products specifically designed to create luxurious, spa-like retreats that offer hotel guests the last word in comfort and relaxation. From iconic pieces that will be the focal point of the room through to space-saving solutions for the more compact environment there is something in the Laufen collection to suit any hotel bathroom.
Hotel bathroom solutions are becoming increasingly sophisticated, due in no small part to new manufacturing techniques, the introduction of innovative materials and features that aren’t necessarily obvious at first glance. For Laufen, the onus is on transforming these new technologies into good design and integrating them into the bathroom. Good examples of this include Laufen’s award-winning surface finish LCC (Laufen Clean Coat). This innovative finish seals even the tiniest pores of the ceramic glaze, making it hygienic and extremely easy to clean. Also, the Lb3 LumiTouch, an electronic tap that combines an innovative control system for low-contact operation with synchronised lighting elements that add to the aesthetics of the bathroom.
Another example of ease of cleaning one of the main considerations in hotel bathrooms is the ceramic shelf available to co-ordinate with many of Laufen’s sanitaryware ranges, including its news Palace and Living Square washbasins. The ceramic shelf sits below the basin, providing handy open storage for towels and toiletries while being easy to wipe clean. Laufen also has many future product innovations in the pipeline, thanks to the development of its ceramic manufacturing process, which is opening new design opportunities for this material.
Recent design trends are also showing a more innovative use of colour in the bathroom, something demonstrated with Laufen’s Alessi One sanitaryware which is now available in a warm velvety grey finish as well as the standard white, and our Pro furniture which is available in some 38 different colour options, enabling designers to really get creative.
The other major consideration for hotel designers is the issue of sustainability and Laufen is used to meeting this requirement for sustainable design. Take, for example, the Alessi One collection first introduced in 2002, with recent additions ensuring it as fresh and contemporary as any award-winning line. Yes, sustainability means opting for low-flush cisterns and water-saving brassware, but just as crucially it is also about how a design looks and ensuring it won’t need replacing in five years’ time because it looks dated.
Break from the norm
“For Laufen it’s about giving designers the tools to create the perfect environment and not so much about telling them how to do it,” explains Ilker, who also suggests good design is about breaking from the norm and presenting hotel guests with something that surpasses their expectations.
“Hotel bathrooms can be fairly typical in their design, whereas our products engender creativity,” he says. “Take, for example, the basin area. Typically you will find a countertop or inset basin with a granite worktop. Laufen’s long basins enable the designer to create a far less commercial feel and something much more akin to what guests would choose for the bathroom in their own home. These basins give an airy feel to the space, with a bowl area and adjoining draining space eradicating the need for the granite top. A matching ceramic shelf below the basin completes the look.”
Such long basins can be found in most of Laufen’s product ranges, and for example, in the new Palace range, just one of Laufen’s collections which have been specifically designed with the hotel sector in mind. As well as looking the part, washbasins in hotel bathrooms need to be easy to keep clean, timeless in design and able to withstand continuous wear and tear. The Palace washbasin, along with the new Living Square basin, more than meets these needs. Featuring smooth generous surfaces and clearly defined contours, these elegant washbasins exude a distinctive presence as well as being highly practical. Both Living Square and Palace washbasins can be combined with a ceramic shelf cut to the same dimensions, or with a vanity unit, especially suited for hotel requirements.
With the number of large washbasins on offer, Laufen is able to provide another creative element; customization, that extra tool for creativity that will enhance the overall design by achieving a bespoke solution not only in terms of the length of basin, but also by introducing an angled cut to incorporate a mirror or wall division.
“The beauty of choosing Laufen products is that there are no limitations; we give designers the tools they need to be creative at every level, from a two-star hotel environment right through to a five-star, and beyond,” comments Ilker. “We’re empowering designers to do what they do best design and inspire.
“Our Global Project Team works to support hotel solutions for customers all over the world and as part of the Roca Group, designers have the opportunity to browse the Laufen portfolio for themselves and realise the full potential of the products at the Roca London Gallery.”