Kitchen & Bath Design News

APR 2013

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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Product Trend Report By Elizabeth Richards When it comes to jetted tubs, spas, saunas and steam baths, hydrotherapy products are increasingly incorporating light, scent and sound to create a tranquil, multi-sensory experience. T he desire for spa-like surroundings in master bathrooms hasn't disappeared in recent years, and the host of therapeutic alternatives – from water- and air-jetted tubs to steam and sauna – ensures that designers have the opportunity to create the perfect meditative space. Top trends in this market include a growing variety of options to suit any lifestyle and design, a move toward sleek digital controls and a host of features designed to enhance and enrich the therapeutic benefts of spas, steam and saunas. That's according to manufacturers recently surveyed by Kitchen & Bath Design News. While there has been some slowing in the spa market during economically difcult times, manufacturers are getting creative, introducing new products and features to entice consumers back to heat and hydrotherapy. "During the economic downturn, consumers, remodelers and home builders scaled back to low-cost products with very few features," says Jonathan Fore, director of marketing at Jacuzzi Luxury Bath in Chino Hills, CA. "But, hydrotherapy is defnitely making a comeback. Our population's athletes, seniors [and] hard-working parents know that hydrotherapy is not a myth. There is a real, physiological, regenerative beneft to hot water circulating over skin and muscles in the form of high volume and low pressure." ABUNDANT OPTIONS While the benefts of hydrotherapy are clear, it isn't a "one product fts all" marketplace. Lifestyles, economics, time and space considerations – as well as consumer perceptions – all play a part in which products are selected. Michael Kornowa, director of marketing at Mansfeld Plumbing Products has added eight air baths to its Builder Series Pro-Fit line, which includes whirlpools and soakers. Each Pro-Fit Air Bath features 46 to 58 air channels for massage, singlespeed blower with air heating element, air switch operation and an automatic feature that blows any remaining residue out of the Quick Drain air channel after use. Circle No. 155 on Product Card MTI Baths in Sugar Hill, GA, says there's a bit of a dichotomy. On one hand, people are pulling out their tubs and putting in showers only, often due to what he calls "time-deprived lives." At the same time, many projects include a large shower installed in the original alcove, and a freestanding tub added as a centerpiece elsewhere in the room. Many of these choices have to do with both price point and perceived value. "It still fts within a trend that we saw taking shape when the housing bubble went pop," Kornowa says. "Those people who still had the money to do things did not want to be perceived as being frivolous [or] wasteful, so they weren't ordering all the bells and whistles. They ordered only what they wanted and needed." Phil Reyes, product manager, hydrotherapy, for Anaheim, CA-based Aquatic, agrees. Over the last few years, he says, the trend seems to be moving away from whirlpool bathtubs. He cites a perceived lack of value and the fact that people weren't using whirlpool tubs they had purchased as factors in this trend. "It's really forced us and other manufacturers to take a look at our line and say 'what can we do to our line to give value to those people who are going to soaking tubs?'" This question inspired Aquatic to develop the DriftBath, a new product released last month that creates a soaking experience that Reyes says eliminates many of the concerns around whirlpool bathtubs and gives users the therapeutic value they are looking for. The system creates a river-like current within the bath, using water-only ports in the backrest and foot areas of the bathing well. "It's not the targeted massage that you'll get from a whirlpool bathtub, [and] it's not the fully enveloping air pumping therapy you get from an air system. It's a soaking experience that promotes relaxation," says Reyes. "In moving The Cal Spas Escape Select Spa comes equipped with the exclusive Pure Heat system, a technology that prevents the heater from coming into contact with the water. Other benefts to the spa include the Pure Cure sanitizing system and Shell-Loc foam insulation. Circle No. 157 on Product Card Clean lined with a contemporary design, the Soliste 66"x36" air bath from Oceania Baths provides ample room for relaxation, notes the company. Formed with a single sheet of acrylic, the tub is available as a freestanding unit as well as a two- or three-sided skirt (shown). Circle No. 156 on Product Card 66 | Kitchen & Bath Design News April 2013 Jacuzzi's Salerno tub features a transitional design, with wide arching curves, chamfer edges and sculpted details. The tub is available with whirlpool, Pure Air or Salon Spa, which combines the two therapies. Chromatherapy and Illumatherapy are also available. Circle No. 158 on Product Card Kohler has introduced VibrAcoustic technology on all nine models of its Underscore bath line. VibrAcoustic is a technology-based sound therapy defned as hearing and feeling sound vibrations through the body. The bather can stream music and podcasts through the bath from a mobile device, or select one of four experiences that integrate music, vibration and light. Circle No. 159 on Product Card

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