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SPECIAL REPORT

The findings of ‘the spy in the bathroom’

Dubai, April 22, 2013

Parents who seek refuge from their families with long baths and showers and bathrooms that double up as laundries and dressing rooms were among the findings of a first-of-its-kind ‘spy-in-the-bathroom’ study.

Ideal Standard, a leading bathroom specialist in Europe, has unveiled an interesting bathroom research which provides some fascinating glimpses into family life.

The research – “Bathroom Behaviours; how to optimise bathroom space for modern households” – has come up with findings, supplemented with quantitative data gathered from 4,000 people. The findings were recently revealed at ISH 2013 in Frankfurt, one of the biggest Fairs in Europe.

As part of the research, nineteen people across Germany, France, Italy and the UK agreed to let Ideal Standard track their every brush, splash and flush in the name of research for two weeks in February 2013.

In a first for bathroom research, prototype motion mapping technology was installed in bathrooms across Europe to monitor bathroom behaviours. By adapting depth sensors to provide accurate 3D tracking of the human body and using two sensors in each bathroom, Ideal Standard has been able to build a detailed picture of how people actually use their bathroom space.

It’s a tale of neglected baths and bidets, conflicting bathroom etiquette and maddening, illogically arranged bathroom suites. Behind the data lie some fascinating glimpses: the parents who seek refuge from their families with long baths and showers; the bathrooms that double up as laundries and dressing rooms; the flatmates forced to do their ablutions in unison.

According to the findings, 40 per cent of us crave a new bathroom, but interestingly, for the most part, it’s not a bigger space that we lust after; just a space that better meets our needs.

For most people, the bathroom is a sanctuary from which even partners and family members are excluded, the study said.

“We started with a hypothesis that in many homes the bathroom is not used as well as it could be,” said Kerris Bright, chief marketing officer of Ideal Standard International. “The findings seem to confirm what we suspected. Renovating a bathroom often starts with excitement and ends in disappointment. It’s hard to know where to start and harder to see past the limitations of the room.”

The publication of the study coincides with the launch of Ideal Standard’s new marketing campaign – A Beautiful Use of Space. The campaign features a series of abstract bathroom spaces – a far cry from the usual imagery of scented candles and infinity baths looking out onto lush forests – to capture the different needs a bathroom meets in a  day; invigoration, transformation, relaxation and play.

The results of the quantitative and qualitative studies will be analysed over the coming months but already some fascinating insights are emerging which will help Ideal Standard and its design teams innovate for the future.

“We conducted the study because, uniquely, our product range spans every aspect of bathroom design,” said Bright. “We’ve always tried to understand how a bathroom works in totality and to think about the ergonomics of the bathroom to help our customers get the most out of their bathroom experience.”

“The bathroom is a unique space in the home,” said Dr John Curran, social anthropologist and author of the paper.

“It stands out from other rooms in the home because it has to meet an array of needs. It’s a room that transforms us from one state of mind to another and can therefore mark different personas we have throughout the day. These transformational characteristics mean that the bathroom is embedded in everyday rituals – rituals that help define who we are.”

For each of the bathrooms in the motion mapping study Ideal Standard has set about creating a ‘profile bathroom’ based on insights gathered. Each profile bathroom can be considered a useful starting point when designing bathrooms for different needs. The profile bathrooms have been developed by Robin Levien, an award-winning designer.

Levien used Ideal Standard’s full product offering – the core Connect range, the elegance of Softmood, the minimalism of Strada and an extended range of water and energy efficient showers and fittings – to create spaces which meet the needs of the different types of household in the study.

“It was important to have a multifunctional approach to the products we recommended in each of the bathrooms,” said Levien.

“Based on the household make up, coupled with their individual preferences, we selected a range of Ideal Standard products to offer a complete solution. To borrow from Le Corbusier’s famous quote ‘a bathroom is a machine for living in’ so we made them more liveable.” – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bathroom | study | Household | Ideal Standard | Spy in the bathroom |

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