Two distinct styles - ‘artisanal’ and ‘alchemy’ - are coming to the fore in the world of bathrooms. That’s the news from Liza Watermeyer, Retail Display Manager at Tile Africa who picked up on the styles at the latest Cersaie International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings in Bologna, Italy.
The ‘artisanal’ theme refers to the use of materials such as wood and stone presented in a traditional manner by way of hand-crafted, hand-painted furniture, fixtures and finishes. Up-cycled, re-cycled and vintage methods and ‘finds’ also form part of this theme.
Says Watermeyer: “It could be argued that this style has come about in response to the industrial style bathrooms which have become so popular in recent times.”
Artisanal elements are brought to life in Tile Africa’s ‘Naturally Beautiful’ theme. Watermeyer explains that realistic inkjet wood-look tiles, natural stone pebbles set on sheets as mosaics for walls and floors work well in this setting. Small, brick shaped tiles in stone or natural shades also work.
Says Watermeyer: “Direct exposure to nature and natural light are also hallmarks of this theme. Many bathrooms styled along these lines are either immersed in garden settings and feature elements such as outdoor showers or crystallite, free-standing baths. Sliding glass doors or windows allow for natural light to be incorporated and air-purifying plants in natural containers help clear the air.”
In keeping with the theme, water resistant wooden vanities and wooden deck bathroom ‘mats’ are usually incorporated. Natural bamboo or cotton towels and bathrobes also feature.
In terms of the colour scheme, Watermeyer says that white-on-white and neutral colour schemes punctuated by greens, blues and wood tones largely characterise these bathrooms. She adds that these bathrooms work particularly well when fresh, grass colours are used to accentuate certain aspects.
Notes Watermeyer: “Artisanal natural bathrooms are also recognisable for their clean, uncluttered, minimalist characteristics which make these bathrooms easy to maintain and clean. The look can be rounded off with a feature wall in natural stone or a simple water feature which make for a serene and tranquil environment with spa like qualities.”
‘Alchemy’ refers to metallic finishes and metals used in combination with other materials. Embossed textures, reliefs or patterns in gold, copper and bronze create the look of “glamour and lux” which Tile Africa has incorporated into their ‘Lux Living’ concept.
Notes Watermeyer: “Bathrooms designed along these lines typically emulate luxurious, cocoon-like spaces and are usually sought after by those seeking statement bathrooms. This trend is all about lavish, sophisticated luxury and creating a space that contains everything you need to feel spoiled and relaxed.”
Watermeyer explains that the trend is also about how the bathroom space is appointed in relation to other areas in a home. She says those considering this style should ensure that it leads off the main bedroom in a way that complements the surrounding space as well as your lifestyle.
Statement claw and ball or slipper baths usually take centre stage and can be complemented by soft ottomans and/or a butler’s tray. Key features of this look include marble (either real or marble-like porcelain) and gold which can be translated through the use of large format tiles combined with gold or gilt finishes, mirrors and accessories. Beautiful objet d’arts can also be incorporated provided they’re water and steam proof notes Watermeyer.
Adds Watermeyer: “It’s worth pointing out that these types of bathrooms work particularly well when set against black and white checked floors which can be further emphasised by using interesting patterns such as a herringbone design. Lastly, those considering this style should include ambient lighting in the form of crystal or glass chandeliers or pendant style lights which can really round off the look.”