Customization in the hotel bathroom.

An article by Thomas Edelmann.

AXOR talk at ISH

The AXOR talk. Customization megatrend.

During the second AXOR talk at ISH, Jeanette Huber from the Zukunftsinstitut, Frankfurt-based architect Bernd Hollin and Eva Herrmann, manager of Düsseldorf boutique hotel “The Fritz” discussed the challenges associated with customization. The talk focused on hotel bathrooms.

Journalist and design critic Thomas Edelmann was in the audience. His article sums up the different perspectives of the three panelists in attendance.

AXOR bathroom discussions at ISH.

Implications of customization.

Huber outlined the biographical significance of social change and concluded that: “Customization changes our life stories”. In terms of architecture and housing, she claimed: “We no longer need perfect monofunctionality, instead we need modular adaptability. Including in the bathroom.”

Opportunities presented by customization.

Architect Hollin pointed at the possibility of “evoking worlds via structural substance” and showed examples from his long-term collaboration with Lufthansa, for whom he designed his business lounges and first-class areas in the A380.

Architect Bernd Hollin at the AXOR talk.
Eva Herrmann, hotel manager at “The Fritz”.

A question of economic viability.

The moderator asked hotel manager Herrmann where she considers design as no longer being tailor-made, and where it is being elevated. She associates this with economic viability. “If it gets too expensive, the hotel sector is no longer interested. It’s not one bathroom that’s being built, but several of them. At our establishment there are only 31, but in large buildings with up to 400 bathrooms, the budget is the deciding factor.”

Interior design provides differentiation.

To stand out from the competitors, Herrmann “gave priority to the design” at her establishment. The interior design is by Dutch designer Vivian van Schagen, and is dominated by wood and marble. The rooms feature black, white and gold, with radiant gold AXOR faucets in the bathroom.

© Soenne Fotografie

Hotel bathroom and bedroom at “The Fritz”.
Futurologist Jeanette Huber.

Little details provide the feel-good factor.

As futurologist Huber further specified: comfort and high-tech are what people want. She insists that a loss of control vis-à-vis technology is unacceptable. “We need something akin to human-like technology that operates in the background.” It’s a bit like the Anglo-Saxon concept of the butler who, despite PR promises to the contrary, is still nowhere near finding a digital successor.

“Conflict between customization and identity.”

Architect Hollin is more interested in the “conflict between customization and identity” as he builds spaces for brands which – apart from brand differentiation through their surface finishes – also rely on the recognition of the brand platform.

Architect Hollin at the AXOR talk.
Restaurant at “The Fritz”.

The feel-good factor on all levels.

For hotel manager Eva Herrmann, reliable usability is essential when it comes to luxury amenities. “Our aim was to build something that is of high quality, but in no way boringly traditional, something that is elegant and has humor.” For her, the new sustainability is the old durability.

© Soenne Fotografie