Bathrooms, a balance of aesthetics and functionality


Vismara, Suite System, design Castiglia Associati, ph. courtesy

A positive year, according to Vismaravetro, Ceramica Cielo, Dornbracht and Geberit, with the accent on a sector keen to stay at the forefront, open to trends that sometimes take different directions. Finishes are the only order of the day.

“2021 was a good year for the bathroom sector as a whole: we closed 25% up on 2020, and 9% up on 2019, which was particularly encouraging,” said Elia Vismara, CEO of Vismaravetro. “This was driven by the Superbonus scheme [subsidies for energy saving improvements] – and although our product was not directly involved, alas, many people included bathrooms in their upgrading plans.” The figures initially suggested quiet optimism about 2022. “However, from a shortage of materials, we have now moved to the current situation between Russia and Ukraine. It will be hard to double 2021’s results, but we remain optimistic.”

Trend-wise, Vismara hasn’t identified any particular ones, rather a change of perception: “These last few years have put the accent on all the factors connected with product quality. There’s great demand for good-looking things, at all market levels. Bathrooms have taken on a new importance, people are looking for a little extra something, not just low prices. We work with the showrooms, but my feeling is that in mass distribution too, the looks bar has been raised.” The keywords are durability, functionality and water-saving: “In this respect, we have moved towards particular technologies for the finishes of the materials, seeking to make as little environmental impact as possible, and improving the sustainability performances of our production process.”   


Dornbracht, Lissé, ph. Courtesy

Demand for finishes in particular is decidedly polarised: from a total absence of frames in shower cubicles to products featuring extremely pronounced ones: “Our response to demand for solutions with more characterful profiles include Suite, a  glass and aluminium wall system, designed to demarcate  the shower area and the bathroom area in one single solution. First conceived for the hospitality contract field, we have now produced it for the domestic environment.” In both cases, glass is clearly key: “Our background is in glassworking, glass is the material we do a great deal of research into. We have introduced some layered glasses, along with the potential insertion of metals, and we will be presenting a number of developments in this direction at the Salone, as well as  SuperSintesi, a traditional shower cubicle with a powerful aesthetic impact and innovative technical solutions.”  

3_CeramicaCielo_salone milano

CeramicaCielo, Marcel, design Andrea Parisio and Giuseppe Pezzano, ph. courtesy

Andrea Pisano, Sales Manager of Ceramica Cielo, has also identified a common denominator: “We are driven by a desire to create contemporary products that are timeless and extremely crosscutting. Cielo will be presenting several new things at the Salone del Mobile, designed to respond to different tastes and markets. One of the most distinctive has to be Marcel, which is characterised by its powerful theatrical presence.” The last financial year was also a good one for a brand whose name pays tribute to one of the most authentic Made in Italy traditions. “2021 proved a record year for the company, with turnover of around 35 million euros, up 20.1% compared with 2019 and up 27.4% on 2020,” added Pisano. He reminded us that, as to the future, the pandemic has radically changed our perceptions of home, making it the focus of people’s needs again, underscoring the demands for wellbeing and of everyday life: “In this regard, bathrooms have become central in the perception of users, especially in the medium-to-high target group. Trends for the next few years will reflect an increasing quest for a balance of aesthetics and functionality, factors for which our company is known to be a trailblazer.”

4_Dornbracht_CYO_salone milano

Dornbracht, CYO series, design Sieger Design, ph. courtesy

This is certainly in line with his colleagues’ observations. Alessio Luciani, Marketing Coordinator of Dornbracht Italia, had this to say: “Generally-speaking, 2021 was a good year. Excellent as far as the retail market went, although certainly not yet brilliant as regards the hospitality sector, which is still feeling the repercussions of the halt to projects induced by the pandemic. Luckily, as far as we are concerned, the positive performance of the retail segment made up for the disappointments in the contract sector.” The evolution of trends within the sector, he said, is driven by a specific theme: “Bathroom design increasingly brings functionality, design and aesthetics together. In this sense, one of the most striking trends these days concerns finishes.” The step-change has been a major one: “While until three years ago demand hinged 70% on chrome finishes, in 2021 it was split 50% between chrome and 50% between other finishes. The figures for the latter continue to climb. We are working specifically on broadening our range of finishes and especially on growing our range of standard finishes on all our lines.” This is where the future lies: “The idea is to be able to provide increasing ranges in which all the finishes come as standard, not just as custom choices. Another trend is for products boasting a dual finish, or combined with other materials such as stone, glass, leather, wood, like the handles of the CYO line that we presented in 2021, for example.”


Geberit, iCon collection, ph. Courtesy

The latest trends in bathrooms tend towards solutions in which aesthetics are as important as comfort, hygiene, reliability and environmental awareness, Giorgio Castiglioni, Managing Director, Geberit Marketing and Distribution confirmed: “2021 was a bumper year for Geberit, with excellent performances, including in Italy, undoubtedly underpinned by the government upgrading incentives. Italy is the Group’s third main market, accounting for a substantial part of its total revenue. It is also a key country in the productive network, thanks to two strategic sites that are an essential part of Geberit’s business: the plant at Gaeta specialising in the production of bathroom ceramics and the Villadose plant, which produces highly innovative outlet systems.”

Its water and sanitary know-how means the brand can offer an entire spectrum of products, while being mindful of key requirements: “Since 2007, all our new products have been designed to conform to Eco-Design principles: considering its entire lifecycle, from the supply of raw materials to disposal, every new Geberit product has to be better than the last, from an ecological perspective, without compromising on quality, functionality or durability.” Geberit will be presenting several new products at the Salone: “The new iCon ceramic and bathroom furnishing collection is a revisitation, in terms of looks, range and technology, of the most representative and most successful Geberit series of bathroom ceramics, but without compromising its identity. Furthermore, a major new Geberit introduction for 2022 in Italy will be the launch of FlowFit, a new cutting-edge water adduction system, specifically designed to optimise every stage of the installation process. Simple and intuitive to use, the system will make for a completely new sanitary facility design and realisation experience, focusing on three fundamental requirements for sanitary facility installers and designers: reliability, hygiene and simplified installation.”

Check out the previews

21 April 2022