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Building Products March 2018

COMMERCIAL With commercial work spaces constantly evolving, Trevor Bowers, director at Washroom Washroom, looks at current trends in washroom design for offices. As attitudes to workplaces change, office design has evolved to keep pace. Welldesigned workplaces with excellent facilities are known to have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of office workers, something which can, in turn, affect productivity. This, combined with the fact that common areas like washrooms are often used as a benchmark by which to judge the rest of a building, means it is essential to invest in office washroom facilities. Funky, fun and futuristic Despite predictions, a generation ago, of the decline of the traditional office setting, they remain part of the workplace landscape. In fact the office sector is booming with new offices springing up all the time, especially in and around London. But the offices of today are a world away from the rows of identikit office cubicles or vast open-plan spaces which characterised office design for so many years. Creative and tech companies continue to push 58 BUILDING PRODUCTS | MARCH 2018 the boundaries of office design, with slides, games rooms, chill-out areas, living walls and funky colour schemes all found in their sleek new hightech workplaces. Such design touches, it’s fair to say, mark the exceptional end of the scale but offices across the board are changing the way they look and feel to meet the demands of a young workforce dominated by Millennials and Generation Z workers. High specification The understanding that washrooms are a vital part of an office has driven the current trend for high specification washrooms created to complement the style of the building’s other common areas, including lift lobbies and reception foyers. Utilising the same or similar materials such as real wood veneers with matching woodgrains and back-painted glass is an ideal way to create a firm sense of cohesion between the washrooms and other areas of the building. Self-contained ‘superloos’ which include a toilet, vanity unit and hand drying facilities, all enclosed behind a standard, full height door have become an increasingly popular way to maximise available space and mirror the style of other common areas. Being self-contained they can also be unisex, which offers a more flexible approach to traditional commercial washroom layouts and saves valuable floor space. Colour can be incorporated throughout the washroom area, as a key part of the design, on cubicle doors, duct panelling systems and splashbacks, as well as vanities in order to create a unique space that will create the right impression of the building as a whole. Bespoke finishing touches, such as an integrated handbag shelf as part of the vanity unit, as well as full height, floor-to-ceiling cubicle doors add to the high specification style of the washroom space. Next generation materials As the demand for high specification office washrooms has increased, so too has the specification of materials not traditionally associated with washrooms. By continually FIT FOR THE FUTURE


Building Products March 2018
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