Change in living habits: after the kitchen bathrooms, saunas and spas are now increasingly becoming the focal point of private life. Partition walls are coming down and transitions are becoming blurred. Some people, for example the Berlin architect Arno Brandlhuber, are abandoning the traditional living room altogether and are instead installing a multi-functional living and wellness area.
This trend will be clearly seen during a tour of interbad in Stuttgart (27 to 30 September 2016); heated natural stone tiles, cosy seating areas, high-tech fittings, flexible living room saunas or an architectural opening leading outside will testify to a change in "bath consciousness". This development is due to many factors - most of them lie outside the bathroom.
Leisure and work
The phenomenon itself is by no means new, says Prof. Dr. Christine Hannemann, an architecture and housing sociologist at Stuttgart University. "A bath tub in the bedroom is an old living concept from the 1970s. One important keyword is now the elimination of fifty per cent of jobs due to Industry 4.0 – and thus the abolition of the traditional separation between work and leisure." According to Hannemann, the concept of leisure is disappearing increasingly from general language usage, a fact proved by time budget analyses. Due to increasing pressure at work, people are therefore depending more and more on planning their recovery phases themselves. The redefinition of the living area as a potential work sphere and continuous contactability in the "home office" make the bathroom a socially accepted refuge. People like to relax there - comfortable in other words.
Self-marketing in professional life
In the era of Xing and Linkedin, the importance of the bathroom for professional life is also increasing: a groomed appearance is considered more important than ever. "The new reality on the labour market is placing increasing demands on people who now have to constantly market and sell themselves," says Hannemann. "Just think, for example, about the cosmetics industry. A wide range of care products is now also available for men. The amount of time spent in the bathroom has therefore risen substantially."
Culturalisation of hygiene
Our hygiene habits are changing continuously. For example, the weekly bath was for many years a fixed cleaning ritual which has only been replaced in the last few decades by a daily shower. In addition to increasingly scarce time, this is due to a growing need for body hygiene. There are now wellness showers, steam showers, rain showers or low-flow showers. Christine Hannemann regards this as a "culturalisation process in bodycare" comparable with a change in table manners. "Sometime in the past people started to eat food using a knife and fork. Fish knives, serving cutlery, etc. were then introduced gradually.“
However, the development of new hygiene culture is also being promoted by increasing mechanisation and digitalisation of private life. According to Hannemann, "entirely new dynamics are being developed here." "In the Internet of Things, for example, houses are controlled by apps and a mobile phone. Technical affinity has a long tradition, especially here in Baden-Württemberg. In addition to the kitchen, the bathroom represents an apartment area which is extremely mechanised.“
The bathroom as a lifestyle location
Ultimately, a generally very important keyword is lifestyle which is expressed in home design, clothes or leisure behaviour. According to Hannemann, lifestyle defines a person's affiliation with "certain culturally oriented milieus“ – i.e. groups within which value orientations and central consumption patterns are similar. Once again this involves self-presentation. The effect of the change in the bathroom and the private spa area is felt both outside and inside the home where it influences self-perception and therefore also ultimately self-esteem. You treat yourself to something.
The "creating atmospheres!" Pavilion during interbad will also show how to produce a multi-functional living and wellness environment for all the senses. The talks during the accompanying forum on 30 September 2016 will be aimed at private builders. For example, the architects' office Schienbein + Pier will provide information on "Making of – Smart private SPA" and the company Klafs on "S1- the future of saunas and infrared".