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Homelessness is always hard – not least at Christmas and certainly not least in the midst of a pandemic. In response to this crisis, Knightsbridge – one of the UK’s leading manufacturer of wiring devices, accessories and lighting – has donated a percentage of sales revenue from its weatherproof range to Signposts, a Dunstable and Luton charity dedicated to supporting the homeless in the company’s local area.

Signposts doesn’t simply provide accommodation to its clients: it offers a wider range of support that seeks to holistically address the causes and consequences of homelessness such as social isolation, mental ill health and substance/ alcohol abuse through a strengths-based approach which includes learning, sharing, developing and using skills.

The £12,000 donation stems from Knightsbridge’s social responsibility initiative Committed to a Brighter Future, which encompasses charity work, increased sustainability – such as a move to sustainable packaging that is both 100% recyclable and made from 100% recycled materials – and research into and investment in energy-efficient products.

The donation will be used as a starting point to set up ‘Knightsbridge bursaries’, a service that relieves the stress of electricity, gas, and food costs for people who have come into accommodation directly off the streets. Tim Archbold, Chief Executive of Signposts, said, “We are so grateful to Knightsbridge for their support. These bursaries will make a real difference to people’s lives and enable them to get back on their feet and back into society.”

Other Knightsbridge milestones realised under Committed to a Brighter Future so far include a 95% reduction in single use plastics, 98% of packaging being biodegradable; and contributions in both goods and volunteers that have helped feed over 1300 people at the company’s local food bank.

For donations to Signposts, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/signpostsbursaryfund

Utopia Bathrooms has announced the appointment of Matthew Wells as Business Development Executive for the South East region.

Matthew has spent over eight years working in the home improvement sector with six years of experience gained with Bathstore. Initially, Matthew worked on the installation side of the business before moving into store management. In this role he managed stores in Basingstoke, Camberley, Farnborough and Guildford.

Alex Patterson, Utopia’s Head of Retail, says “We’re delighted to welcome Matthew on board at such an exciting if challenging time. His relevant experience will be invaluable in strengthening our customer relationships and presence in this key region.”

www.utopiagroup.com

More news from Utopia

The Tempesta 250 system is now available in round and square designs offering architects and designers installation flexibility.

Rain showers remain a desirable feature of the modern bathroom with more than half of British people (54%) keen to have a large shower head that offers full-body coverage when showering.

Grohe Tempesta 250 shower set
GROHE Tempesta 250 headshower paired with GROHE SmartControl trimset and SmartActive handshower;

With its full-face Rain spray and a generous diameter of 250mm, the new GROHE Tempesta 50 head shower, which is manufactured in the brand’s own shower competence centre in Lahr, Germany, is designed to impress in every aspect.

Thanks to its slim, minimalist form and elegant chrome finish, it is an ideal solution for any modern bathroom design. From both round and square designs, the Tempesta 250 is also available as a single head shower, in a set with a shower arm or as a complete shower system.

Equipped with the water-saving GROHE EcoJoy technology, which uses a flow restrictor to reduce the water consumption to a more sustainable 9.5 litres per minute, Tempesta 250 promises showering comfort with a good conscience, and a perfect shower match for the 54% of Brits who would like a shower that could assist them in being more sustainable in their day-to-day life2 . At the same time, the perfect geometry of the nozzles on the shower head ensures that the water flow remains powerful – for a voluminous shower experience that doesn’t
compromise on performance.

● Features a full-face Rain spray designed to cover the whole body
● 250mm diameter shower head in round or square designs
● Integrated water flow limiter, GROHE EcoJoy, offers sustainable water use with
compromising on shower experience
● A range of product variants allows greater flexibility to cater to individual customer
specification and demand

For more information visit the website.

More news from GROHE

Roca Group has signed the acquisition of a 75% stake in Royo Group, the European leader in the field of bathroom furniture. Roca has purchased 62% of the company from the American fund HIG and the Royo family will continue to hold 25% of the firm’s capital.

Royo Group owns three production plants in Spain and Poland and two innovation centres. The company manufactures around one million pieces of bathroom furniture annually, with a turnover of 95 million euros in 2019 and a workforce of 793 people.

With this operation, Roca Group and Royo create a world leader in bathroom furniture, with a global turnover of over 173 million euros in this segment and a production of close to two million units per year in nine production centres located in Spain, Portugal, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, China and Brazil. Additionally, Roca Group is consolidating its leadership in the creation of bathroom spaces, increasing its market share in an activity that complements sanitary tile. Roca Group has been advised by Alantra and Broseta in this transaction, which is pending approval by the German and Polish competition courts.

As part of Roca Group’s strategy to set up specialized centres of expertise for different product categories within the bathroom space, Royo Group will become the hub for the development of the furniture segment for Roca Group, while continuing with the commercial development of its brands.

According to Albert Malgrans, CEO at Roca Group, “with this alliance, we reinforce the bathroom furniture category, key in our sector, with the European leader with whom we share the business vision and with whom we have collaborated closely over the last 10 years. This merger will allow us to further increase our competitiveness in the bathroom space and achieve the world’s leadership in this segment.”

Raúl Royo, CEO at Royo Group, highlights that this is “a great strategic alliance through a joint venture between the two companies, that reinforces the maximum possible commitment between both parties”. “The agreement with Roca, one of the largest Spanish industrial groups and a leader in the bathroom business worldwide, will help us to jointly build an even more leading and innovative company, accumulating almost 150 years of history in the bathroom sector between the two families”, he adds.

Roca Group operates in 170 countries with 81 production centres and a workforce of 24.000 professionals worldwide. In 2019 it recorded a turnover of 1.861 billion euros.

VitrA Bathrooms has published its fourth Design Update Magazine.  Focusing on Wellness, VitrA invited a number of high-profile designers and architects to contribute to this increasingly influential design-led publication.

The design professionals include Professor Sadie Morgan OBE, who focuses on her motivation behind the Quality of Life Foundation and Arik Levy, the internationally renowned designer of VitrA’s Voyage bathroom range, who examines bathroom spaces for wellbeing.   Charles Holland, a respected architect, and commentator reflects on the ‘smallest room’, and Public Health and Design is discussed with hygiene expert Dr Lisa Ackerley.  Child-centred design is explored with Cristiana Caira of White Arkitekter and Seyhan Cicek of VitrA’s Innovation Centre.   Readers are also treated to a pre-launch glimpse of the new Global Flagship Showroom VitrA is opening in Clerkenwell, London.

Margaret Talbot, European Marketing Manager, for VitrA “Wellness is at the front of many people’s minds at present, whether that be physical health and safety or making better use of time at home or work – relaxing, unwinding, and practising self-care.  There are vital areas where psychological Wellness and physical hygiene come together. This Design Update is aimed at finding those touchpoints and creating thought-provoking content from some of the leading voices.”

Read VitrA’s Design Update 4 – The Wellness Issue here

VitrA is part of the Eczacıbaşı Group, one of Turkey’s most prominent industrial groups. Founded in 1958, VitrA is a leading bathroom manufacturer, which in recent years has expanded into international markets with over 70 per cent of VitrA’s total output now being sold outside of Turkey. From 13 production facilities in Turkey, Germany, France, and Russia, VitrA produces a full range of bathroom products including over 5.6 million pieces of sanitaryware a year along with complementary bathroom furniture, brassware, and accessories ranges, which are distributed to over 75 countries on five continents.

VitrA UK, based in Oxfordshire, has been supplying the UK bathroom market for over 25 years and is an active member of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) and the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI).  In January 2021, VitrA will open a flagship showroom in Clerkenwell, London – a creative hub for architects, designers, and thinkers with dedicated areas for product specification, events, and workshops.

www.VitrA.co.uk                                                                                                            

Margaret Talbot, Marketing Manager for VitrA bathrooms in the UK, has been promoted to Regional Marketing Manager – Europe.

Margaret joined the Oxfordshire based bathroom company, which is part of Turkey’s largest industrial groups, the Eczacıbaşı Group, in 2016.  Following a successful career in telecoms and IT, Margaret and her team have played a vital part in VitrA Bathrooms UK’s growth in recent years. Margaret’s new role sees her responsibilities broaden to include the development of the marketing communication strategy and management for, France, Germany and Italy whilst overseeing the UK plans.  These include the opening of the global flagship showroom in Clerkenwell, London due to launch shortly.

Margaret says “I am thrilled to be offered this new opportunity.  The marketing team, here in Oxford, have been a key part of our success, and I look forward to building on these relationships with our customers and teams across Europe.  The new showroom will be a creative hub that will be used by VitrA and its customers globally.  I look forward to playing my part.”

 About VitrA

VitrA is part of the Eczacıbaşı Group, one of Turkey’s most prominent industrial groups. Founded in 1958, VitrA is a leading bathroom manufacturer, which in recent years has expanded into international markets with over 70 per cent of VitrA’s total output now being sold outside of Turkey. From 13 production facilities in Turkey, Germany, France, and Russia, VitrA produces a full range of bathroom products including over 5.6 million pieces of sanitaryware a year along with complementary bathroom furniture, brassware, and accessories ranges, which are distributed to over 75 countries on five continents. VitrA UK, based in Oxfordshire, has been supplying the UK bathroom market for over 25 years and is an active member of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) and the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI). In January 2021 VitrA will open a flagship showroom in Clerkenwell, London – a creative hub for architects, designers, and thinkers with dedicated areas for product specification, events, and workshops.         

www.VitrA.co.uk                                   

More news from VitrA                                                         

The Casa/Studio Passive House by Margherita Potente und Stefano Piraccini is situated in the Italian city of Cesena and claims to be the first of its kind anywhere in the world. An international jury has awarded PIRACCINI+POTENTE SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE for this project with a The Plan Award 2020 in the category “Home Efficiency & Technology”.

“Passive House” is the name given to buildings that significantly reduce ventilation-induced heat losses and do not require a conventional heating system.

Energy-efficient buildings of this type are certified by the Passivhaus Institute Darmstadt – an internationally renowned institute for the research and development of building concepts, building components and planning tools. Certification is awarded when specific requirements regarding architecture, technology and ecology are satisfied.

The project demonstrates that the energy performance of a Passive House can be achieved not only in new, insulated buildings but also in conversions and renovation projects. Using the Passive House guidelines, buildings in need of renovation are upgraded and made more energy-efficient and earthquake-proof.

The building features a mix of building elements – wood (laminated and XLAM), steel, reinforced concrete masonry, and armed concrete. Attention was paid to the natural properties of each material to ensure optimum interaction between them. This enabled the building’s construction costs to be kept at a market-compatible level without neglecting qualitative aspects.

Most of the heating needs are drawn from passive sources such as solar radiation and the heat given off by people and technical devices. The Casa/Studio Passive House is not connected to the gas network and simply has a mechanically controlled ventilation system, which enables clean and filtered air fed in from outside to be enriched with heat from the extracted used air. By foregoing any combustible energy sources, the building does not contribute any emissions to the atmosphere.

This extraordinary building includes, amongst other things, the Duravit lines ME by Starck, Starck 1, LCube, Happy D.2, Luv, and Sensowash® Slim. A highlight is the DuraSquare washbasin with metal console in Black Matt, which stands out with its clear, pared-down design. For Stefano Piraccini it is not just an architects’ studio, but also his home. The architect had the washbasin installed on the bedroom terrace so he can enjoy the view of the Savio river during his morning routine.

Since the middle of 2020 hand sanitiser have become a must for washrooms, hospitality and retail venues. KEUCO’S dispenser has an elegant yet straightforward, linear design, along with superior technical features that have been invisibly integrated into the design.

Keuco disinfectant sanitiser branded

KEUCO’s sanitiser dispensers #are available in bold and bright or subtle chic, suitable for an extensive variety of areas, locations and situations: homes, hotels, supermarkets, shopping malls, offices and airports. These new dispensers meet the highest hygiene requirements, whilst combining functionality with a distinguished design.

Keuco stripy sanitiser

There are size options too: the free-standing sanitiser dispenser variant is slim and stable the round head provides an elegant finishing touch whilst ensuring ease of use. The top is simple to remove, just pull upwards and the supply bottle is revealed ready to be refilled. The large base plate ensures stability and catches stray drops of sanitiser during use. A smaller variant is available for table, desk and countertops or for use in cars, boats or bicycles. A third option that can be attached to wall is also available.

Simple to operate: just press the big buzzer to dispense the sanitiser. The storage container is discreetly hidden inside the column and can be easily refilled with a liquid or gel sanitiser of your choice. KEUCO offer an extensive variety of colours and colour-combinations including plain coloured, multi-coloured, black and white or elegant metallic; for multi-site requirements there are bespoke options with specific branding.

www.keuco.co.uk

The Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) is calling for household water efficiency measures to be included in the upcoming Government spending plans.

In a pre-budget submission, the association has identified a number of ways public spending can be used to help drive down domestic water use and protect this natural resource.

Water scarcity is a crucial issue for the UK, as climate change and population growth are predicted to create a structural deficit in water resources by 2050. Government has launched a National Framework for Water Resources – a strategy which outlines a goal to reduce our average water use from 143 to 110 litres per day. But this will require action in every home in the country, as well as behavioural change.

BMA is calling on public policy makers to incentivise water saving on a national scale and reverse the upward trend in water usage.

Baths and showers are accountable for the highest water consumption in the home, at around 34%, with a further 30% of total water used to flush toilets. About 20% of a typical gas heated home’s use is warming water for showers, baths and taps. These figures mean any drive to improve the nation’s green credentials must include turning our attention to our bathrooms.

We are lobbying Government to consider prioritising water efficiency retrofit measures as part of a wider package of domestic retrofitting over the next two decades.

Recent research carried out by the BMA showed consumers are aware of the need to save water, and around half of those surveyed want to improve their household water efficiency. But worryingly, four in ten adults are not sure how to decrease their water usage. 

A Government commitment to systematically roll out change would signal the importance of protecting our water infrastructure and address the legacy issues in the UK’s existing housing stock.

Retrofit is an activity with multiple benefits for Government, society and the environment, creating jobs and boosting the economy in the wake of the pandemic.

To achieve the Government’s zero carbon target by 2050, a national programme is needed, with a central Retrofit Delivery Agency. We must ensure these programmes include water-saving measures to address the ever-increasing pressure on supply.

GROHE has launched its third RIBA approved CPD module, Hygiene Optimisation for Sanitary Facilities, in response to the increasing demand for hygiene-optimised solutions since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its aim is to facilitate greater awareness and provide inspiration to multiple stakeholders and industries working within the built environment, from architects and designers to housebuilders, retailers and plumbers.

The latest seminar-based training module is the first on RIBA’s CPD database to look at hygiene in both the kitchen and bathroom, allowing participants an in-depth look at residential design under a hygiene lens, alongside its increasing importance in commercial settings.

GROHE first identified a seismic shift in the demand for hygiene-optimised products at the beginning
of 2020, which reached new heights once the first wave of the pandemic hit the UK.

“Whilst in the UK commercial market the transition to more hygiene-focussed public spaces and
business environments has been in motion for some time, there has been increasing demand in the
consumer markets, in such a way that has never been seen before“, says Karl Lennon, Leader Projects
Channel – A&D, LIXIL EMENA. “Ongoing conversations with our partners and clients over the last year
has signified to us that there is a real demand for more knowledge around hygiene and what solutions
are available. The pandemic is likely to impact both the short- and long-term implications of the way
our buildings are designed and how we live and work in them. The design community are eager to
expand their horizons in order to be able to adapt“.

To mark the release of its new CPD module, GROHE has partnered with leading hospitality design platform, Hotel Designs, to host a virtual launch event for architects and designers on Tuesday 9th February 2021. Hosted by Hotel Designs‘ editor, Hamish Kilburn, and presented by Karl Lennon, Leader Projects Channel – A&D, LIXIL EMENA, the launch event will give attendees a first look at the new CPD session. GROHE will also be hosting a prize draw for all those who register, with twenty of its brand-new Rainshower SmartActive 130 hand showers to give away.