ISH is the largest international trade fair for the bathroom industry. Held biennially in Frankfurt, it is a major focus for bathroom designers and manufacturers. C.P. Hart always sends a large team to seek out innovation and inspiration, and identify the products and trends which will define the next two years. This report does not attempt to summarise C.P. Hart’s views on this vast new product offering, but tries to identify the most significant trends that emerged from the biggest week on the bathroom calendar.

Hot Metal
In recent years brassware has been dominated by chic, minimalist designs, with chrome mirrored finishes that almost invite you to look elsewhere in the bathroom.

The emergence of exciting new finishes, complementing bolder designs, has reignited this category. Different plating techniques can produce pale blondes and warm ambers, or at the other end of the spectrum, dense matt black. The choice on offer has exploded – Hansgröhe now offer many of its ranges in 15 distinct finishes. Its new Citterio E tap in brushed rose gold is warm and tactile, while in black chrome feels intensely luxurious

Skandi Tones
Scandinavian design continues to have a strong influence on interiors. At ISH, typically Skandi tones of greys, muted greens and blues, could be seen across furniture, ceramics and surfaces. WCs and bidets in grey caught the eye. Furniture units in pale shades looked fresh and cool.

Industrial Evolution
Bathroom designers are responding to the demand for a more urban aesthetic, inspired by the reclamation of industrial buildings for residential use and the exposure of construction materials – polished concrete, steel frames, functional pipework – in modern city living.

Some of these designs have a vintage feel, such as Lefroy Brook’s 1920 brassware range, shown in matt black at ISH. Others are dramatically contemporary, such as the BetteLux Shape, an inset bath suspended in a metal frame, unafraid to show the bath’s underside and fittings.

Touches of Class
We noted in recent Trend Reports that designers have begun to reject the more functional requirements of austerity and once again embrace flair and opulence. At ISH, this took the form of luxurious detailing – elegant, crafted touches rather than raw bling.

Axor’s Starck V, still a new product and one of the most dramatic designs of recent years, was beautifully enhanced by diamond-cut engraving. Lefroy Brook’s 1940 brassware in black was inlaid with burnished chrome. We loved Dornbracht’s new CL1 brassware, a range far more exciting than its name suggests. Especially glamorous in ‘Structure 1’ form, with handles in matt nickel with machine-faceted layers.