Offices have evolved rapidly in recent years to meet the changing needs of office workers and providing exceptional quality facilities, including washrooms, is fast becoming the norm. Here, Trevor Bowers, director at Washroom Washroom, looks at the key trends which have helped shape today’s office washroom…
In the office sector in particular, washrooms are increasingly used as a benchmark to judge the rest of a building and can say a great deal about a company too.
Providing high quality facilities and ensuring washrooms are finished to an exceptional standard is just one way in which companies can attract and retain the very best staff.
So it comes as little surprise that one of the key trends of recent years is the movement towards high specification materials and finishes to create washrooms to cater for office workers who expect gym quality washrooms at work.
Specifying unusual materials and finishes such as glass, anodised aluminium, stainless and textured steel, cast acrylic, Corian, granite, marble and unusual wood veneers can help to create a high specification space more reminiscent of a luxury hotel or gym than an office washroom.
While opting for design-led accessories such as crafted oak door handles and architectural ironmongery is another way to add the finishing touches to complement any washroom design.
Finishes such as Page Lacquer, which allows future wear and tear to be easily repaired and re-polished in situ, and Fenix NTM, are another sure fire way to lift a washroom design to become something extraordinary.
New from Arpa Industriale, Fenix NTM has a tough acrylic resin surface and boasts anti-bacterial properties as well as being resistant to scratches, abrasion and mould, which, combined with its super opaque matt finish, makes it suitable for a high specification office washroom.
Another emerging trend within the commercial and particularly office sector, is the installation of so called superloos. These self-contained, unisex cubicles with WC, vanity and hand drying facilities, offer a way to maximise available space and can be installed as an alternative to traditional washroom layouts.
They are also suited to reception areas allowing designers to incorporate the same design features throughout a building, even where space is limited.
The superloos installed as part of the refurbished offices at 125 Wood Street, London earlier this year, which feature brightly coloured glass WC duct panels and bespoke Corian vanity units along with full-height glass cubicle doors, are designed to feel more like a luxury hotel than an office washroom.
Clients are also demanding washrooms which have been designed to be as efficient and hygienic as possible without compromising on aesthetics – they have to look good and be practical in equal measure. Integrated modular consumable systems provide a balance between being practical and aesthetically pleasing and, as a result, are being specified more frequently in office washrooms.
The whole system, which fits neatly behind a mirror, has been designed to save water and soap, as well as being easy to maintain and refill, saving energy, time and money, while the use of infrared taps ensures washrooms are kept hygienic.
As the office has evolved, elements like showers and changing areas, which were once deemed luxury, are now seen as a necessity as the number of people regularly cycling or walking to work has increased meaning offices which fail to provide such facilities can be viewed as old-fashioned or out-dated.
By installing spacious lockers, designed to comfortably accommodate a suit, in addition to using high specification materials and finishes, architects can create a facility which would not be out of place in a private gym or leisure club.
The trend for high specification washrooms within the office sector has been especially noticeable in and around London, which has recently been named one of the top cities in the world to work.
With new offices opening all the time, investing in office washroom facilities to bring them up to the high standard expected by visitors is vital to ensure offices remain let and, therefore, profitable.
The Loughton Seedbed Centre
Loughton Langston Road Essex
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