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New Study Presents Four Possible Scenarios for the Bathroom of the Future

NEW YORK—Sanitary fittings manufacturer Grohe and ceramics maker Villeroy & Boch, along with the cooperation of Zukunftsinstitut, the Frankfurt-based think tank led by Matthias Horx, conducted a study to determine what the bathroom might evolve into by 2034.

The result was four futuristic bathroom scenarios that were derived from an online survey of a representative group of 1,075 respondents, as well as an analysis of current international megatrends and social developments. Below are the results that the survey found.

The Multi-ID Bathroom: According to the survey, most people (60%) want a bathroom that meets the needs and expectations of everybody living in the household and, by 2034, smart home technology will make this easy to achieve. As soon as a user enters a bathroom, all elements will adjust automatically to his or her favorite settings—from the room temperature to music and colored lighting, from the height of the sink and toilet bowl to their preferred surfaces such as wood, stone or tiles—all of which will be able to be projected onto screens with a high degree of realism. The Multi-ID Bathroom will also allow for the variability of individual fittings and furniture: the bathtub doubling as a seating area, the sink becoming a makeup studio and the mirror turning into a news screen. Depending on which user is present in the room at the time, certain elements can disappear behind the wall or rise up from the floor. In addition, many fittings will be multifunctional, with the hand shower dispensing not only water but also shampoo, or the shower doubling as a full-body drier, eliminating the need for a towel. The Multi-ID Bathroom will also be available in semi-public environments like hotels or offices. Everybody will be able to activate their personal bathroom settings anywhere; this will be made possible by cloud-based technologies and the ability of many products to store select features and settings. 

The Healthful Bathroom: Almost half of the people surveyed would like to have a bathroom with health-oriented features. By 2034, the bathroom will become a central point of personalized health management, where users actively check in on their physical wellbeing. Various elements installed throughout the bathroom will enable this. They will measure bodily functions and collect vital data that is then fed back to the user. The toilet will analyze urine, the toothbrush will collect information from saliva and even blood readings will be able to be taken in full comfort using non-invasive methods. The bathroom can also assume the function of a fitness center. An on-screen avatar will motivate us to do certain exercises by demonstrating the routines and awarding us digital badges when we accomplish specific goals. Motivational tunes and even cheers will put a virtual personal trainer in our bathroom. In addition, the bathroom’s function as a health center will be complemented by web-based technologies that provide online access to the nearest pharmacy, live chats with doctors and recommendations of the best restaurants for healthy and balanced meals.

The Zero Emissions Bathroom: Whether it is because of cost considerations or out of concern for the environment, 75% of survey respondents consider energy efficiency to be an important aspect when it comes to bathroom remodeling. With environmental awareness continuing to drive improvements in resource efficiency, bathrooms will have a positive environmental impact by 2034. This means that they will work autonomously and in an energy-neutral way. Engineered as self-contained modules for housing construction, they will no longer depend on connection to the public water and energy networks. Designed as a small power station in its own right, the Zero Emissions Bathroom will function as a heat recuperator and water treatment facility, for example, by converting wastewater into methane, which is then used to generate heat. Actual sewage will be minimized by vacuum toilet technology. This sustainable mind-set will also be reflected in bathroom design and decor. Natural materials such as wood and clay that are not only hygienic, but also non-toxic and compostable, will make a big comeback.

The Personal Time Bathroom: The Personal Time Bathroom fulfills the wish of a large majority, 71% of respondents, for a room devoted to relaxation and “me time.” Designed and equipped as a hyper-modern private spa, the bathroom of 2034 helps its users replenish their energy levels and achieve a balance between mind, body and soul. This experience is akin to seeing a feature film in a modern 3D theater. Using audio equipment, mood lighting, aromatherapy and scenic backdrops projected onto the walls, the bathroom takes users on a journey to a different world. Whether it is in the steam bath or in the hydro-massage tub, your body is being pampered and your mind is free to roam. The Personal Time Bathroom places an emphasis on inner growth through meditative experiences and seeks to leverage the therapeutic effects of virtual realities. A variety of digital themes can be selected to convert the room into a yoga studio or a spa lounge and a whole variety of different functions can be programmed to align with users’ biorhythms. An en-suite floor plan allows the Personal Time Bathroom to extend its healing atmosphere into the bedroom.