Trends for public and commercial bathrooms. Interview with Luca Papini.



In the past couple of years, we saw a drastic change in how designers approach the specifics of public and commercial restrooms, from the importance of touchless technology to space planning to respect social distancing.

The public bathroom can no longer be just functional, but it must make users feel comfortable and safe, like at home.

But what are the trends for the future?

We talk about it with Luca Papini, the brilliant designer who developed Idral’s Otto electronic collection.

Public bathroom design has come a long way in recent years and restrooms represent a relevant factor in the perception of the building in which they are located, becoming a key expression of the hygiene and safety of offices, hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, and even government buildings. What trends are you observing in the design of these spaces?

The most clear trend is the use of colors and different materials, like wallpaper and natural materials, a mixture that defines the personality of the premises. Perhaps public and commercial projects have not yet reached the trends that we are seeing for private spaces, but they will go more and more towards this direction.

The past two years have seen a drastic change in the way architects and designers approach the specifics of public restrooms, from the importance of touch-free to space planning to respect social distancing. With the pandemic, how has the concept of public restrooms changed?

The need to adapt public and commercial bathrooms to the Covid emergency has also generated the opportunity to update obsolete environments, and it has given an input to include modern solutions. Electronic taps are certainly one of these changes because they have been adopted more and more often. We have witnessed the need for the use of sanitizer dispensers and electronic taps that, besides saving water, allow using the tap without having to touch it. We are therefore heading towards a new era where these new appliances will be increasingly important and the public space is also becoming increasingly demanding.

The bathroom is one of the most visited space in any public or commercial building. For this reason, the designers no longer see the public bathroom only as a functional room, but also as an opportunity to create a welcoming and at the same time original environment. In your opinion, what role does the aesthetic aspect play in public bathrooms?

The same importance that it has in private homes: the bathroom is a place where we all spend time and in residential projects the designers indulge in selecting particular tiles and bathroom fixtures, which reflect their vision of comfort. This inevitably comes across in the public bathroom where the user, who enters because he is at the mall, or because he is a guest of the hotel or restaurant, expects to find the same comfort he has found in the hall, in the room or in the supermarket. If the guest finds a modern, clean and functional bathroom, he will be happy to return and he will perceive that the facility is welcoming.

In 2021, you collaborated with Idral in the development of a new collection of electronic taps called “Otto”. How was this collection born and what makes it special?

The OTTO collection was born from the need to create a tap with soft and compact shapes. In addition to the technological aspect that Idral has in its know-how, I wanted to start a collaboration designing a solution that could appeal to new markets thanks to a tap that is elegant and also intended for more private environments such as homes or the hospitality industry.

The Otto collection combines style with the performance of Idral products. How can this collection contribute to create public restrooms that offer great performance from the functional and aesthetic point of view?

The subject that you raised, linking function with aesthetics, is a very important aspect when designing.

First of all, one is linked to the other, we must always seek a balance. The function in this case is represented by water, by the possibility of having less waste with an infrared control. Aesthetically, thanks to the different metal finishes and the several colors available, we can create different combinations and ensure that the tap can be combined with different interior design styles.

Otto electronic taps are available in several finishes such as chrome, white, matt black, gold, nickel and rose gold/ copper in brushed finish and it is possible to request a two colors customization. What is the importance of color in the concept of a modern bathroom?

The use of color for taps began in the 80s, it is a historical trend. Like it happens in fashion, often the inspiration comes from the past, interpreting the previous styles to make them work in our times. Color becomes the protagonist not only on the walls but also in the sanitary fixtures, furnishings, and finishes. There is a need to develop new metal-related finishes or simple PVC coatings to ensure a range of both glossy and matte colors so that the designer has a wide range of possibilities.

Download and resources.

Download the technical data sheet of the OTTO electronic taps, the brochure or contact Idral for more information, special colors, finishes, and customizations.