With their scale, dramatic designs, and innovation, kitchen spigots get all the love, but manufacturers are stepping up the style of their lavatory faucets as well.
The bath faucet has come of age. Gone are the days when the market was awash in boring or mediocre products. These days, fresh ideas are abundant.
To be sure, brilliant designs have always existed, especially on the mid- to upper-end of the market. Brands such as Vola, Hansgrohe, Dornbracht, Grohe, and Kohler have always turned out cutting-edge offerings, but a large share of the market was uninspired products.
The Doux Collection is new family of modern bathroom fixtures and accessories. Each piece begins as a arcing cylinder that is then sliced down the center to reveal a soft "D" shaped spout. It has a flared bases and a luxurious matte black finish.
Today, you can find high-concept bath faucet styles even among entry-level brands, and many have collaborated with world-famous designers to produce creative collections in a varieyt of styles and configurations. Back in 2001, for example, luxury brand Brizo launched a partnership with fashion designer Jason Wu to create an eponymous powder room collection of faucets and accessories. The Jason Wu collection has since expanded and now includes a full complement of bath products, such as tub fillers and shower valves.
“The powder room collection launch was the first step in this exciting collaboration with Jason,” says Judd Lord, Brizo director of industrial design. “The full bath collection provides homeowners with the ability to further integrate fashion into the home with a suite of coordinating products for the master bathroom.”
Brizo explains that the Jason Wu for Brizo collection strikes a balance between sleek Scandinavian inspiration and Baroque detailing. The line now incorporates a variety of innovations, including a fully electronic lavatory and vessel lavatory with SmartTouchPlus and TempIQ technologies, as well as a single-handle lavatory available with optional SmartTouchPlus with TempID Technology, allowing touch or hands-free water activation.
Atrio is a blend of cylindrical forms and technology. The two handle styles—trio spoke handles or lever handles—are sold separately. It features a StarLight chrome finish and SilkMove ceramic cartridge.
Brizo made a conscious effort to be one of top design innovators in the bath faucet category. In recent years, the company has unveiled a variety of cutting-edge products, such as the Invari Collection, Atavis, and Vettis Concrete. Many other brands are pursuing the same path.
Most of the new bath faucets skew modern, as the style has grown extremely popular with homebuyers and owners. At the 2019 International Builders’ Show, Pfister unveiled two new bath collections, Rhen (traditional) and Tenet (modern). The products reflect the company’s motto of Design Made Right, marrying world-class design and functionality for practical luxury that suits any budget and style.
“For 2019, we wanted to announce to the world these breathtaking pieces that haven’t been seen elsewhere, from the precision-engineered, elegant designs in our new bathroom faucets and accessories to our three new showerheads giving users an unparalleled showering experience,” said Darin Heuer, Pfister's Group Marketing Manager.
The Litze Collection of faucets blends modern sensibilities and artisanal style. Inspired by the revival of the arts and crafts movement, it offers three spout options—arc, square, or angled—that can be paired with a knurled lever or industrial lever handle. A variety of finishes is available.
Offering a sleek minimalistic aesthetic, the Tenet Collection strips away unnecessary elements, showcasing form while maintaining functionality, the company says. The single-control faucet, for example, offers a horizontal lever mounted on the side, rather than the top. Swiveling the lever forward activates water flow and changes temperature progressively from cold to hot. Products are available in Brushed Gold, Polished Chrome, Matte Black, and Brushed Nickel.
Modern designs may dominate, but there’s a fair amount of traditional products, too. Back in 2014, Kohler launched the Artifacts bathroom faucet collection that “allows consumers to discover and reimagine the past in fresh ways.” Inspired by turn-of-the-century charm, each piece in the Artifacts faucet and accessory collection offers vintage designs and gives designers and consumers the freedom to create a customized look.
Perhaps one of the reasons manufacturers have made an effort to step up the style quotient of their faucets has to do with consumer buying habits. HOUZZ’s 2018 Trend Report indicated that 92 percent of people renovating their homes put their money toward new faucets, which was the leading category for change. Eighty nine percent of home owners changed their wall finishes, 88 percent changed their flooring, 85 percent changed lighting fixtures. Showers and countertops tied with 84 percent.
The Union is an industrial-inspired bath collection that includes shower valves, showerheads, bath fillers, and bath faucets. Products come with either a wheel or lever handle and in unlacquered brass, polished chrome, brushed black chrome, and brushed nickel finishes. A knurled detailing provides tactility and a contemporary edge, and Red Lever or Red Wheel options are available.
No matter the style, there are still things to remember when selecting faucets:
First, think about who will be using the faucets. Some styles are easier to use than others, especially among small children and the elderly. Choosing a faucet that adheres to universal design principles will solve those issues.
Consider finishes of other hardware and faucets in the bathroom. It sounds simple enough, but you should try to stick with the same finish throughout the space.
Consider motion- or touch-activated faucets. These units help homeowners conserve water and help reduce the transmission of bacteria on the faucet from one user to the next. Once found on kitchen faucets, the technology has now moved to bathroom faucets.
The Bowery single-hole faucet offers clean, geometric shapes but enough organic lines to feel transitional. It has a cylindrical spout with a sharp, 90-degree angle for a look that embraces the familiar alongside the modern.
The Avian Bath Collection features clean lines with linear handles. Offering a variety of configurations, it has a laminar water stream for a low-splash water stream and ceramic disc valves. The product comes in Chrome, Brushed Nickel, and Satin Black.
The Lollipop collection is a minimalist collection of faucets is what happens where square meets round in minimalistic design, the company says. Available in six finishes, the line is a available in various configurations.
Part of the company’s iconic WaterBridge Collection, the WherEver spouts and handles recall images of well pumps and the unpretentious forms of simpler times, the company says. WherEver faucets are a widespread version of the WaterBridge collection, with independent controls that allow for complete flexibility for deck- or wall-mount installation “wherever” designers wish. It’s available in Rustic Nickel, Satin Nickel, Rustic Copper, and Oil-Rubbed Bronze.
Featuring a sleek, minimalistic design aesthetic, the Tenet Collection strips away unnecessary elements. Products are available in a wide variety of configurations, including a single-control faucet with a horizontal lever mounted on the side, rather than the top. The all-brass collection also comes in a widespread unit. The collection comes in Brushed Gold, Polished Chrome, Matte Black, and Brushed Nickel.
Designed in collaboration with Stuttgart-based design studio Phoenix Design, the Axor Uno pares the faucet to the basics with a purist form—a pipe. Two precisely shaped cylinders join together at a right angle, complemented with gently rounded spouts and handles. The collection is available in chrome or brushed nickel and in 13 special order AXOR FinishPlus colors.
Artifacts is a collection of faucets featuring historic charm and traditional design. Available in a variety of configurations, the line takes it design cues from turn-of-the-century architecture, with classic period details that give the collection a historical quality that works well in traditional and transitional baths. It comes in polished chrome.