2020 really has been quite a year and I don’t think any industry has gone untouched. The consequences of this pandemic will be unfolding into a long and uncertain future. Since the fallout of Coronavirus became more apparent we have witnessed an undeniable shift in consumer attitudes, behaviours and purchasing habits. People are now thinking differently, living differently and ultimately buying differently.
For the most part, I think that the pandemic is rapidly accelerating many of the trends that we were already seeing. Some of these will now go beyond trends and become longterm lifestyle choices that will reflect our new values.
Health and hygiene are now major consumer concerns, for obvious reasons, and people are looking for products that support a safer and healthier lifestyle. We are also embracing technology at a much faster rate as this allows us to navigate the new normal whilst mitigating some of the risks that we now face from everyday hands-on activities such as shopping, eating out and even going to the bathroom.
Bathrooms are one area that are getting a lot of focus at the moment when it comes to designing for hygiene. As high-touch areas, the risks are obviously increased, but when visiting homes, businesses and public spaces it is essential that people can still access toilet facilities. So design really needs to step up to this challenge and help us create spaces that are not only more hygienic, but also safer.
Luckily there are brands like Duravit who had already taken on the challenge of hygiene in the bathroom long before the pandemic hit and are now perfectly positioned to help us embrace touchless technology in the bathroom. The SensoWash® shower-toilets by Duravit are not new, having been around for 10 years now. They are an innovative concept that combines a toilet with a bidet allowing users to clean themselves with water in a way that is considerably softer and gentler than using toilet paper, not to mention more hygienic.
The latest SensoWash® offering from Duravit is SensoWash® Stark f designed by Philippe Starck. This particular model has a more minimalist, pared-down aesthetic than previous SensoWash® models as all the technology is now housed within the ceramic body.
It still has all the features that make SensoWash® so innovative including rear, front and oscillating wash, individual adjustment of water temperature, nozzle position and jet strength. It also boasts a warm air dryer and a heated seat for maximum comfort. The night light makes it easy to use in the dark and the intelligent energy-saving mode ensures maximum energy efficiency.
When it comes to hygiene in the bathroom, SensoWash® Stark f is perfectly adapted to life in the post-pandemic era where hygiene and cleanliness are paramount. The shower-toilet is operated via remote control and is freely configurable via an app meaning it has touchless operation. Even the toilet seat has a motion sensor for automatic cover opening through the user ID in the seat.
The bowl also features the new rimless technology making cleaning much more efficient. The wand is self-cleaning and there is a function for automatic drainage in periods of prolonged disuse and a descaling function. So in effect, with SensoWash®, you can clean yourself and your toilet whilst improving hygiene in the bathroom by minimising the amount of exposure to potentially infected surfaces.
In a world where hygiene and cleanliness are now firmly in the spotlight, the onus is now on sanitary ware manufacturers to come up with solutions and designs that are hygienically optimised. Duravit is at the forefront of this movement thanks to its innovative HygieneGlaze, an antibacterial ceramic glaze that provides lasting protection against germs and bacteria.
Unlike conventional surface glazes, HygieneGlaze is a tin-zinc mix which is integrated into the glass matrix during firing. It is actually baked into the ceramics and extends from the interior to the rim of the toilet making it effective in the areas particularly susceptible to the accumulation of bacteria and germs. HygieneGlaze has been scientifically proven to destroy 99.9 per cent of germs within 24 hours.
The fallout of this pandemic will require designers and manufacturers to completely re-evaluate their approach as consumer behaviours change and public health risks need to be addressed. We will undoubtedly, see a huge uptick in demand for touchless technologies and products that require minimal to no human contact. Bathrooms, being high-touch locations, will need to be rethought and redesigned. But companies like Duravit are already well placed to take on this challenge.
What do you think? Have you been thinking of how to make your home safer and more hygienic as a consequence of the pandemic? Do these touchless technologies and products appeal to you?