Consumer concern about germs and cross-contamination is creating more opportunities for touchless fixtures, such as toilets and faucets, that are more often seen in commercial settings.
“We are focused on the commercial market, but now we are taking some of our technology from the commercial market and adapting it to the home,” said Vincent J. McNeill, executive vice president/global business at Technical Concepts.
The company supplies the technology for touchless fixtures to fixture manufacturers. For example, it provides the modules that control when the faucet will turn on and how long the water will flow.
“About $200 million is being spent in homes for fixtures,” McNeill said. 'Less than 1% of that is automatic (touchless).”
He said that touchless fixtures have a big future and he expects to see a swing to more automatic.
American Standard introduced a pull-out faucet with a big button on the top and a “whisper glide” hose that “doesn't clunk,” according to Gray Uhl, director of design, Americas Bath & Kitchen.
The company also unveiled two sink colors to coordinate with granite countertops in the kitchen. “People were saying they wanted some color in the kitchen,” Uhl said. “There's a move away from just stainless steel.”
American Standard's Porcher line showed bathroom furniture. In one example, the pedestal on an existing lavatory was replaced with a cherry cabinet. A base was created for a bathtub. These pieces have the look of furniture but they are engineered to accommodate plumbing, he said.
American Standard also addressed the growing interest in creating more bath space with modular pieces, glass shelves, a floor-standing mirror that can be mounted on the wall, and a cushion-topped bath stool that can double as a tray with a cushion on the bottom.
Jason McClain, creative development group manager for Hansgrohe, noted the popularity of brushed nickel finish and how it complements stainless steel. He showed an Axor kitchen faucet that offers multiple applications, including doubling as a bar faucet, and can be swung away to clear the area.
Hansgrohe's Pharo lift shower tower can be adjusted for height, has adjustable body sprays and is preplumbed so it does not require installation behind the wall.
Below are more of the products that were shown and discussed at the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas last May: