This week, we caught up with Hewi's UK Sales Director to find out why compliance is so important to the manufacturer and its customers.
BR: Describe the philosophy of Hewi?
SM: HEWI believe in creating aspirational accessible bathrooms for everyone. By combining innovative engineering with beautiful contemporary design HEWI help our customers turn dated and non-compliant spaces into desirable and compliant modern bathrooms.
BR: What is the Hewi definition of good design?
SM:At HEWI we are constantly striving to improve both the look and the functionality of our ranges. By incorporating the accessible requirements into the actual product, we achieve what we refer to as hidden accessibility. Washbasins become load-bearing supports, shower risers double as grab rails and drop-down hinged support rails can be totally removable. Good design for us means ensuring everyone gets the same high-quality experience no matter how they move about a bathroom.
BR: Why is compliancy important to Hewi?
SM: We believe in an inclusive world for everyone whether you are young or old, have a disability or not. As different countries have created their own compliancy standards HEWI have produced ranges of products to facilitate each region’s individual requirements. For decades we have been leaders in championing compliant solutions, and we feel rightfully proud of our history.
BR: What are the benefits of compliant products to the specifier?
SM: When creating a new accessible space, the specifier is legally required to create a compliant solution. HEWI has long-standing relationships with a wide range of clients from Architects to Interior Designers. We offer our partners the peace of mind that when they specify a HEWI solution, they know that it will be fully compliant with the law.
BR: What are the benefits of compliant products to the end consumer?
SM: It is not so much a benefit to the consumer but rather it is a right and we need to think about these spaces in those terms. If someone has need of an accessible area, they should be able to interact with the relevant equipment in a safe and comfortable fashion. HEWI have been at the forefront of creating contemporary and inclusive products since the 1980’s. We believe that not only should a space be compliant it should be pleasant and comfortable to be in.
BR: Is the UK behind the times in terms of its compliancy status?
SM: By no means! The UK have some of the best standards in the world. In fact, many parts of the world with fewer legal requirements means the specifiers and consumers will regularly look to UK standards to create their accessible spaces. At HEWI we work across many different regions and so are perfectly placed to advise a potential client on what would work best for their project in their specific country.
BR: Does Hewi have plans to develop more products in this arena?
SM: At HEWI we are constantly looking to improve what we already have while creating new and increasingly innovative solutions to add to our extensive portfolio. Our award-winning ranges and dedicated expertise in this vital sector will continue to grow for many years to come.
Mark Crabtree from On The Level tells us what motivates him and why 3D printing excites him...
BR: How long have you worked in the bathroom industry?
Personally I’ve been involved with On The Level for the last 15 years, but the company has been going since 1999 meaning we are fast approaching our 20 year anniversary.
BR: What are the key USP’s offered by your company?
On The Level prides itself on being able to fix problems, and we often succeed where other companies have failed. We are also proud to be an advice-giving company, so we are always happy to answer questions from past, current and future customers.
BR: What new manufacturing technologies excite you?
With so many advances in technology, there’s always something new on the market. Right now though, we are however, excited by the thought of 3D printing.
BR: What challenges do you foresee for the industry over the next 12-24 months?
How the housing market goes can have a direct impact on a variety of industries, the housing market is very buoyant and interest rates have just gone up for the first time in a while. When we are lucky enough to build a good relationship with a housing developer, we are generally well looked after.
BR: Which industrial designer do you admire the most and why? (Living or departed)
Sir Terence Conran
BR: Where do you think the industry most needs to improve?
In adhering to mandatory legislations. While CE marking has been a legal requirement since July 2013, it’s horrifying to see the lack of knowledge and apathy to what is a legal requirement – not an optional choice.
BR: Online has certainly changed the market, what key benefits have you seen?
The internet provides the ability to launch and promote a product instantly with as much or as little details as the end user wants.
BR: What advice would you give a new starter in the industry today?
Whilst experience is useful - product knowledge is essential.
BR: What motivates you most in your work?
Leading a successful, happy and fun team and constantly developing new products, new markets and the Brand.
BR: If you could choose a super-power what would it be & why?
I have got super powers, but I cannot disclose them!
Spring is just around the corner, so it's prime time to focus on home improvements and with the bathroom being on the hit list for many VitrA has identified seven emerging trends for the roaring '20s.
Margaret Talbot, marketing manager for VitrA, explains, "Making a trip to the bathroom must be an experience, whether that's simply washing hands or having a long soak in the bath. Sustainability is moving up the hit list for consumers with wellness, luxury, designer trends remaining key for those looking to add tangible life enhancements and value to their homes."
Wellness is a concept thoroughly embraced by consumers who enjoy taking on the role of the interior designer. The bathroom is a perfect space to promote wellbeing and health. Inspired by organic shapes and warm colour palettes, the wellness trend encourages reflectiveness, peace and socialisation. VitrA's Plural collection, designed by Terri Pecora, makes the bathroom the heart of the home; based on creating warmth and domesticity, ideal for promoting wellness. Choosing a double basin over a single basin unit encourages the bathroom to become a social space where loved ones can spend more time together. Pictured above: VitrA Plural Large countertop, 160cm, in American Walnut £3895 and Plural rotating mirror in American walnut £1177.
Homeowners are increasingly aware of their carbon footprint and becoming more environmentally conscious. Investing in sustainable bathroom ware is a great way to start making the home greener and conserve water. Sustainability is an integral part of VitrA's design process, with all products made in line with their Blue Life Pledge. VitrA's innovative water-saving features, such as adjustable cartridges, limit the heat and flow from the tap and are available in a range of brassware styles and colours, for a sustainable, stylish bathroom. Pictured below: VitrA Suit L Basin mixer in Copper £148.
With studies proving that nature reduces stress levels and boosts mood, indoor plants are returning to popularity, and a bathroom can be the perfect place to nurture all kinds of ferns, succulents, tropical and citrus plants.By introducing biophilic influences into the bathroom, such as wooden surfaces, natural shapes and moisture, heat and steam friendly plants, it's easy to transform a bathroom into a tranquil space. With no restrictions on colour palette, biophilic design is easy to personalise and creates an ultra-modern aesthetic when paired with black or grey bathroom ware. Pictured below: Origin tall basin mixer in Chrome £253 with Plural high square countertop bowl in Matt Taupe £431.
Everyone loves a hotel or spa bathroom. Creating that look at home remains a key influence for today's bathroom consumers. Designing a beautiful spa-like bathroom is a way to keep self-care as a top priority. Luxury fittings like rainfall showerheads, mood lighting and soft colour palettes can quickly transform a bathroom into a serene space that instantly relaxes.
Pictured below: VitrA Origin shower head in Chrome £160 and Origin hand shower unit in Chrome £174 with Equal Washbasin Unit with Asymmetric Washbasin and Shelf in Patterned Black Oak £946.
As the digital home continues to evolve with more and more smart home systems, introducing technology into the bathroom can increase hygiene and efficiency. The VitrA Smart Panel's sleek, glossy black design combines style with intelligence that does more than just flush. With the ability to sync to the user's mobile (through the V-Care app), households can flush their WCs remotely and receive usage data which helps identify excessive water use. With settings such as a periodic flush that regularly washes out the bowl, its futuristic design is a must for all modern bathroom design. The flush plate is compatible with VitrA concealed cisterns. Pictured: VitrA Smart Panel flush plate £585.