‘Atelier’ literally means a workshop or studio used by an artist or designer. Giving it a relevant and clever spin is the Atelier Collections showcased at the Ideal Standard Design & Specification Centre in Dubai. This collection boasts sanitary and bath products that have significant contributions from proficient architects and designers of the past and the present. However, the one name that shines across the ranges is that of Roberto Palomba, designer of the Centre, Founder and Principal Architect at Palomba Serafini Associati, and Chief Design Officer at Ideal Standard.
“Roberto Palomba, a prominent designer and architect based in Milan, with whom we have partnered for more than four years, initially focused only on products, but the company has now involved him in strategy as well. This is so that design is not only part of products, but of everything we do. When Roberto came over and saw the space for the Centre for the first time, he fell in love and his mind clicked. He said, this room will not be yours. It will not be mine. It’s not even the one from the brand, but through all the windows, it will belong to the street, to the onlookers”, enlightens Frederick Trzcinski, Vice President Marketing & Innovation Middle East & Africa at Ideal Standard MENA.
As light floods the centre, bringing to attention the sleek and stylish products, the brick-orange color that is used across all Ideal Standard locations in the Middle East stands as a strong reminder of recognition. The Design & Specification Centre is a space where designers and clients can come to physically see the products and play around with them at the ‘Inspiration Table.’
In a premise positioned for storytelling, even the product review had to begin as a narrative. “I noticed something as we were walking in – they started with introducing the Tipo-Z washbasin that’s like a vintage model that we revisited. So they started like it’s as if they’re telling the story. So we’re starting from back in the sixties and then moving on from there”, says Joanne Metni, Senior Designer at JT+Partners.
The Review Crew
From left to right: Joanne Metni, Senior Designer at JT+Partners; Sara Kakani, Project Architect at Dewan Architects
Revivalism in Design: The Charm of Vintage
A reinvigoration of the Ideal Standard’s mid-century Zita Basin, Tipo-Z is a singular, free-standing wash basin that is the epitome of ceramic’s elegance. Even Conca, a full bathroom solution, with clean lines and soft curves, imbues geometric aesthetic, reminiscent of Ideal Standard collections of the 1970s.
“Roberto’s philosophy was to see what Ideal Standard has been producing for a long time, and with new technology, to just reinvent them, update them and make them more suitable for our time”, informs Sarah Nsouli, Specification Specialist, Ideal Standard. Linda X, washbasins that are a revival of the iconic Linda range by Achille Castiglioni, look as if they are floating thanks to Diamatec®, a patented material that allows for their delicate silhouette.
“The technology allowed us to produce this very thin yet strong basin. It gives us the scope of being more modern rather than having a bulky, thick washbasin”, she says further.
Joanne Metni: “You can look at Tipo-Z and you can tell that it’s an architect or a designer that designed it. The offset is so interesting. It is taking sanitary into another dimension, having the designers coming and giving their point of view and adding their touch.”
Sara Kakani: “The standing bathtubs from Conca are shown at different heights. Sometimes concepts require you to be lower to feel more interactive with the ground, but sometimes you need more elevation, and so the product lends itself to different experiences. Sanitary fixtures are not an afterthought, they’re not just purely functional anymore – they are showpieces within hotel rooms and spas. The range is letting them be monumental, letting them speak for themselves.”
Variety, Versatility and Vivaciousness
In addition to having a choice of sanitary and bath fittings that are classy and sophisticated, the Atelier Collections also provide provision for flamboyance. “If you want to have fun, if you want some creativity – Ipalyss is a collection full of 12 different colors. What is nice as well about this collection, is that we have them produced in three different shapes – so we have the perfect round, the oval and the rectangular one. You can either go with the long neck vessel mixer or some of them with a smaller edge where you can use a smaller mixer,” explains Sarah.
EXTRA, a range of rectangular basins that come in varied sizes and finishes can be employed in projects of multiple scales. Sarah adds, “EXTRA has up to 20 different sizes. No matter how big or small – even 25 centimeters or 100 centimeters with the counter, single or double, all sizes are possible with this range.”
Not cowering down in providing options, Connect Air provides a complete solution for the bathroom – the cabinets, the furniture, different finishes of the booth, be it – white or black, it is a holistic solution for bathrooms.
Sara Kakani: “In terms of ceramics, in terms of mixers, in terms of basins, there’s quite a range in the materiality and the color range. There are so many different approaches to the design aesthetic that you’re not limited to one school of thought – not limited to a color, not limited to a size.”
Sustainability, Innovation and Technology
Innovation forms the basis of Ideal Standard’s foundation. Proving this is Blend, a range whose bidets, both wall-hung and floor-standing, incorporate AquaBlade® drain technology. “This is a technology where we have considered enhancing the hygiene of WCs. Just by taking out a small component and improving functionality of other parts, we were able to achieve lower water consumption, ease of cleaning and less harboring of bacteria”, informs Sarah.
To mention technology and not talk about Intellimix® from Ideal Standard would not be fair. As a response not only to the pandemic, but also to decluttering bathrooms, this mixer is a game-changer in the sanitary space.
On how it works, Frederick explains, “When you apply your hand underneath, it gives you a splash of water to make your hands wet and then gives a splash of soap, then again water so you can wash your hands later on. The screen on the tap can also have the logo of the operator. An application can be downloaded on the mobile phone, and all the settings – meaning, the time and the duration of water and dispensing – can be adjusted.”
In addition to this revolutionary feature, smart sensors and being connected to the BMS system to study the water consumption, make the product an undisputed trailblazer.
Joanne Metni: What they touched on in terms of the rimless toilets is so important. Especially, coming out of the pandemic, everyone’s become hyper aware of the importance of cleanliness and hygiene. It’s not only important in healthcare projects, but is easily transferable and accessible in all genres.
Sara Kakani: The smart building is where we’re going. Being able to automate everything and being able to connect those taps to a water monitoring system and track the water intake, track savings, track of maintenance – this is really the way of the future.