Virtually there - August 2010
I love my new bathroom. Underfloor heating. On-demand hot water. Fancy monsoon shower head. Purple polka dots on the wall. And yet, as I stood under the deluge this morning, contemplating the universe, I realised there was something missing – technology. It’s time to amp it up in there.
Ideal Standard lead the way in high-tech showers with Tris, a self-contained steam bath/sauna/shower, and Tonax, a shower with chromatherapy and mp3 connectivity. Sounds flash, but chromatherapy turns out to mean “enhancing well-being” via application of coloured lights to the body. Okay, that’s dodgy, but the purple light will go so well with my polka dots. Tanning lizards will enjoy the Idrolux tanning shower, though I imagine there are some places you wash that you may not want to tan…
If chromatherapy does turn out to be your thing, Maax Collection make a spa bath with not only colour therapy but ozonator water-cleaning technology too. I think that means dissolving ozone in your bath water – why, I don’t know, but golly it sounds clever. Coloured lights and extra air have to make for a better bathing experience surely, though, to be honest, it does all sound a tad 80s.
So, moving right along, new-millennium chic baths, with matching taps, sinks and shower hardware, can be found in the über-hip KAWA range designed for Cisal by Karim Rashid (he’s my favourite designer, remember?). Even niftier is the very sexy minimalist TV-Tub he has created for Saturn Bath (yes, it does have an integrated television screen).
But there is always a trade-off between form and function and, though the Smarthydro intelligent bath from iHouse doesn’t look as funky as the TV-Tub (and I find the glass sides slightly disturbing), it does have some serious tech going on. iHouse claim it’s intelligent – a big ask for a bath (it’s certainly no conversationalist). But it can be activated from the internet, cellphone or remote control elsewhere in the house to fill to the correct water temperature; it will then ring you when it has filled. It has a keep-warm function (now that is a great idea) and when the soaking is over it lets you turn on the shower for a bracing rinse before you get out. Even cooler, the iHouse “intelligent faucet” uses facial recognition to recognise users automatically and adjust the water temperature and flow to your tastes; the touch screen (yes, the tap has a touch screen) enables access to email, weather forecasts and your daily schedule while bathing. Wow. That will come in handy.
But wait, there’s more. The Clevo waterproof netpad will let you surf while you soak. The Mix-Style Bath Planetarium projects the evening sky on the ceiling (for that bathing outdoors feeling without fear of cold, bugs or perverts). The Eclipse Television Mirror hides an LCD TV behind a two-way bathroom mirror. BainUltra’s Euphonia is a waterproof Bluetooth wireless headset that lets you listen to tunes while soaking.
When you get out, the Triton Body dryer blasts you dry with a jet of hot air. Or maybe the Dacor towel-warming drawer is more to your taste. If it must be a boring heated towel rail, Aquavision make one with an inset TV.
Once you’re dry, BodyTrace bathroom scales connect wirelessly to a weight-monitoring/coaching site. The Withings Wi-Fi scale not only records your weight but lets you upload it to Facebook and Twitter (I’ll bet that’s a really popular feature).
Dammit. Now I want a new bathroom.
Story: Kim Rutter
Photographs: Illustration: Chris Mousdale