Product design awards have a tendency to yield amazing, ambitious but unrealistic concepts, however every now and then works that showcase great innovation reach the production stage.
There have been a few success stories coming out of the Reece Bathroom Innovation Award (BIA) over the past seven years that underpin this trend.
Here are five successful products from the awards that are on the market or being developed for production.
The ‘Halo Shower’(2005)
In 2005, the competition’s inaugural year, Reece awarded its professional BIA to Duncan Ward for his ‘Halo Shower’ design.
The Halo innovation came from its effective redirecting of the droplet array coming from the shower head. This was achieved by inverting the standard rain head shower design which increased the diameter of the droplets and gave the user a sensation of water immersion akin to being in a bath.
The Halo was quickly picked up by manufacturer Phoenix Tapware and has since been sold in Reece stores nationwide.
The ‘Eaux Eaux basin’ (2011)
2011 professional category finalist, Joel Roberts designed the Eaux Eaux basin which has since been picked up by Romanian manufacturers. The all-encompassing design consists of a rolling crest trough which acts as its catchment area, spout and splash back.
In use, the spout expels water which completes the basin cycle through an entire crest with a clear blade of water. Eaux Eaux’s lean body is hollowed to embody and eject the water without a hint of fixturing, evoking a playful yet mysterious nature.
The base is secured into a recessed counter top and the stainless steel cast body is coated with a soft touch paint to maximise its tactility.
The Fl’eau Bath 2012
Joel Roberts was also featured in the 2012 BIAs with his Fl’eau bath design a finalist in the professional category.
Fl’eau is a freestanding bath created from a single surface corian body and since 2012 has been picked up by a Chinese manufacturer and will be on show at USA design and trade shows this year.
The Koeda Intuitive tap mixer (2012)
Designed by 2012 Student category winner ShanShan Wang, the Koeda intuitive mixer tap subverts the traditional mixer tap controls. The dial control mixer tap has been picked up for production since its award and will be manufactured in two versions; a non-electrical and electrical version.
The Koeda utilises a modified progressive cartridge that provides an innate dial control. By rotating the dial in a clockwise motion, water temperature gradually changes from cold to hot. Water pressure flow will progressively increase as the dial is rotated further - ensuring users are less likely to accidentally turn up water flow and waste excess water.
Koeda is handcrafted in porcelain and features an aerator that manages the directional flow of the water and softens the water’s texture. A slight bump angled at a 15 degrees incline in the faucet also minimises excess splashing.
A series of six LED lights, efficiently powered by two lithium cells, change from a light sky blue to a warm orange and finally to a dark searing red, indicating the mix of cold and hot water.
The Wind Rain Fire (2013)
Wind Rain Fire was designed by Chris Connell and was awarded the 2013 Professional category award.
The design features a flush-mounted shower head combined with an extractor fan in one single unit and Connell has hinted that the design has attracted manufacturers’ attention since its win. Connell says he is currently in discussions with manufacturers and believes the Wind Rain Fire will be available on the market in the near future.
By incorporating the shower head and extractor fan in one unit, the Wind Rain Fire eliminates the issue of another appliance on the ceiling and also minimises trade and fit time. The unit places the extractor at the closest point of steam which Reece suggests will minimise foggy mirror and condensation build up on wall surfaces. The shower/extractor is operated automatically by the touch sensor on the shower mixer unit.
Apart of the design also includes an 800mm wide by 80mm strip rail towel-warm. The long flat surface is heated by an internal element incorporating an inbuilt fan, gently blowing heat down the surface of the towel drying the towel much quicker than a conventional towel rail.
The 2014 edition of the Reece BIA will also guarantee another manufactured project with the winner of the professional category promised a prototype model by Omvivo, one of Australia’s leading vanity unit manufacturers.
See our coverage of the awards for information about entrant criteria and the judging panel.
Images courtesy of Reece.