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Green bathrooms.

The GCC interior contracting and fit-out sector, including kitchen and bathroom fittings, has witnessed steady growth.

Projects completed in the first five months of 2011, from January to May, accrued $1.49bn worth of revenue, according to Ventures Middle East's GCC Construction Overview, published in June 2011.

Bathrooms are an important facet of commercial spaces, with the US-based Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and the Dubai-based INDEX Kitchen and Bathroom generating a large audience. "Bathrooms before used to be dirty rooms in the corner.

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Today it is almost a part of the living area," said Jacob Sardini business development manager Tomas Hoog. "This trend is slowly entering the UAE. People are starting to understand bathrooms are very important."

The INDEX Kitchen & Bathroom show is taking place from 22 to 25 October at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). The exhibition will address the demand for top-end kitchen and bathroom products. It is designed specifically to cater for the specific needs of the kitchen and sanitaryware sector.

"The K&B industry is driven by the latest developments. There are three core areas that generally need to be considered when designing a kitchen or a bathroom for any small- or largescale project, namely innovation and trends, sustainability and water conservation," said INDEX Kitchen & Bathroom Muhammed Kazi.

Sustainability is of vital importance to the region, as Abu Dhabi recorded the highest per capita water consumption rate in the world in 2010 at 525 to 600 gallons a day. The emirate's total consumption of water resources exceeds its natural recharge capacity by 24 times, it has been reported.

This increasing water consumption across the Middle East leads to the extensive use of desalination, and the high costs and energy requirements associated with the process. MENA energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are set to double by 2030, mainly from water desalination and power generation.

Hansgrohe AG, a leading manufacturer of bathroom fittings and showerheads, has launched an on-line savings calculator that demonstrates the environmental benefits and cost-savings offered by its pioneering EcoSmart technology.

Mixers and showerheads fitted with EcoSmart consume up to 60% less water than conventional products, without any loss of comfort. Lower hot water consumption also means a reduced energy requirement, resulting in reduced emissions and costs.

Simple to use, the new tool displays water, energy and carbon dioxide savings, and helps customers integrate care for the environment into everyday life. For sanitation, heating and air-con professionals, it can be used to demonstrate the cost-saving potential offered by EcoSmart technology.

As part of its Green Mosque campaign, and in coordination with the Ministry of Waqf in the Syrian capital of Damascus, GROHE has replaced 50 mixers in the Great Umayyad Mosque with Contropress and Contromix self-closing taps so to minimise water wastage during ablution. The new mixers were replaced in the ablution rooms and in the central courtyard area to ensure the economic, ecological and safe use of water.

The Green Mosque initiative, launched in the Middle East in 2009, is part of GROHE's global WaterCare campaign, which seeks to increase public awareness about water conservation techniques, and to secure the future of this precious natural resource.

The Great Umayyad Mosque was selected as the beneficiary of this initiative in Syria because it is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world, and is considered the fourth holiest place in Islam.

It is also the destination for thousands of worshippers and tourists every day, and hence this water-conservation initiative will have a great impact in preserving water and saving public funds.

"GROHE is dedicated to using its advanced technological resources, first-class materials and design innovation to ensure water efficiency," said Ziad Ss, the country manager of GROHE in Syria.

"It is this combination of factors that directly equates to reduced water consumption and products that deliver the best possible experience and which last a lifetime."

The new mixers were ordered from GROHE headquarters in Germany, where the company designed 29 Contromix mixers especially for the Umayyad Mosque's male and female ablution rooms, in addition to another 21 Contrapress wall-mountable mixers in the central courtyard area.

The position and location of each mixer was set to ensure maximum comfort during all stages of the ablution. After the installation process, representatives from GROHE trained the Mosque's technical team on how to set up and use the new mixers.

GROHE installed five water meters inside the ablution rooms and central courtyard to monitor water usage for a month, before and after the mixers were installed.

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RAK CERAMICS

The public-listed RAK Ceramics is the world's largest manufacturer of ceramic and porcelain tiles, with global production output of 115m square metres a year, and $1bn worth of global sales annually, according to marketing and communications head Abdulla Mahmood.

Specialising in high-quality ceramic wall and floor tiles and bathware products, RAK Ceramics has more than 8,000 production models at present.

Its global production exceeds 360,000m2 of tiles and 12,000 pieces of sanitaryware a day from its plants in the UAE, China, Sudan, Bangladesh, India and Iran. It exports to over 150 countries, and is ISO 9001:2008 and is ISO 14001:2004 certified.

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Commenting on the company's latest developments, Mahmood refers to RAK Slim, an eco-friendly 4.5mm-thick tile that sets a new industry benchmark in thickness, strength, cost and ease of use.

The company has also launched new tile collections, by adopting the latest digital printing technology, which includes the Nanopix, Stone Art and Orion series. The new tile sizes, with dimensions of 25x70 and 20 X50, besides the eco-friendly 45x45 wood finish ceramic tile series, have also been launched recently.

"RAK Ceramics has its R&D team understand the culture, taste, climatic conditions and trends to produce tile designs suiting the specific market. It is evolving continuously, by being an innovator and setting new trends, through launching new tile designs or sizes or technology," comments Mahmood.

Looking at the latest sanitaryware trends, Mahmood refers to sustainability. "There has been an emphasis on water conservation. RAK Ceramics has converted all its water closets from their previous nine-litre flushing capacity to a six-litre full flush and a three-litre half flush, saving as much as 33% in water."

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DURAVIT

As an international manufacturer of bathroom furnishings, Duravit AG has made its mark in the sanitaryware sector with innovative developments and forms created by international designers like Philippe Starck and Sieger Design, explains Duravit CEO Franz Kook.

"Duravit's latest developments encompass 14 products, including three design lines and one business area called SensoWash," says Kook.

"Duravit's history began more than 190 years ago in the Black Forest in Germany. Today the Duravit brand is exported to over 100 countries." In collaboration with famous designers, the manufacturer has embarked on more than 40 new products over the last 20 years.

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Looking at the latest sanitaryware trends, Kook comments that the bathroom area itself has not been immune to technological development.

"As in all areas of life, technology is taking charge of everyday practicalities. Today's modern bathroom environment would be inconceivable without technology such as motors, controls and remote controls. For example, in the field of toilets, shower toilets are becoming a trend.

"Duravit and Philippe Starck have taken up this idea and collaborated on the SensoWash Starck shower-toilet seat, for example" reveals Kook. Duravit's reference projects include the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall Hotel, the Index tower, the Tulip Tower and Ferrari World.

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KOHLER

Kohler has launched its most advanced toilet to date, the Numi 'smart' toilet. The WaterSense and CALGreen-certified Numi features a sleek, interactive LCD touch screen interface, intuitive auto open and close lid, music system, heated seat, foot warmer, deoderiser, bidet and innovative dual-flush technology.

A distinctive, pared-down vision blends with personal technology, while the interface provides an easy-to-use experience for just about any member of the family.

"Kohler envisioned a toilet that creates a category all of its own," says Kohler regional marketing manager Mohamed Nada. "Numi packs technology into a compact toilet, and is controlled by an advanced and intuitive interface. It is an example of modern industrial design where form and function go hand in hand."

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Numi is a celebration of the most technologically inspired experience in personal convenience.

Adopting architect Mies van der Rohe's "less is more" mantra, the Kohler design team took a minimalist approach to Numi's creation, arranging complex technological functions internally within a limited space, all while presenting extreme simplicity externally. The result is both aesthetically pleasing and technologically advanced.

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SANIPEX

The Sanipex Group is a market-leading supplier of quality bathroom fixtures and fittings and plumbing materials across the GCC, MENA region and Central and South Asia, representing over 40 of the world's leading manufacturers, says group sales and marketing director Calum Stewart.

"In response to the trend for value engineering, we have significantly enhanced our own branded Bagno design range to comprehensively cover all product categories. The new Bagno Living range of sanitaryware and mixers enables us to compete strongly in the commercial and institutional sectors," comments Stewart.

"Our business dealings are not a transaction, but rather a long-term partnership, working with our customers through the whole life of a project and beyond," Stewart says of the Sanipex difference.

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"In addition, our 80,000 square feet logistics centre in the Jebel Ali Free Zone provides an unrivalled capability to deliver what the customer wants, when they want it."

Stewart says that water-saving and digital products are the main innovations at present. "However, we are seeing increasing demand for what we classify as 'timeless elegance'.

The escalating drive in construction for value engineering is seeing a more conservative approach to what is being purchased."

Sanipex's reference projects throughout the UAE include the Kempinski Hotel and Raffles Hotel in Dubai and the Yas Marina Hotel and Qasr Al Sarab Resort in Abu Dhabi. "We are currently working on the St Regis Hotel & Resort on Sdiyat Island and Eastern Mangroves, as well as Silhouette Towers in Qatar," says Stewart.

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GEBERIT

Geberit is a strong brand in sanitary technology, representing long traditions, know-how, reliability and innovation, asserts Gulf region MD Stefan Schmied.

"As a market leader, we pioneered the concealed cistern. Geberit gives a perfect support network, being well-positioned locally and globally, applying competence and expertise at every stage from development to delivery."

In terms of latest developments, Schmied points to the Monolith WC module, which can be connected to existing drains and water-supply connections, mostly without the need for structural modification. The flexible Geberit shower element, on the other hand, combines the advantages of prewall technology with the trend of floor-even showers.

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"We are set apart by our ability to work closely with designers, architects and installers, demonstrating the superior quality of our products, ease of installation and maintenance. A product guarantee and stocking spare parts for a minimum of 25 years after a product is discontinued provides piece of mind," adds Schmied.

"For contractors involved in upgrading and renovating bathrooms, using Geberit acoustic pipes and quiet-fill valves in toilet cisterns allows acoustic levels in living spaces to be reduced dramatically.

Sanitaryware is disappearing behind the wall with prewall technology; installation is faster and creates aesthetic living spaces," concludes Schmied.

Geberit's latest projects include Sdiyat Beach villas and apartments, JW Marriott Al Jadaf and the Dubai Ritz Carlton extension.

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DELTA FAUCET

Founded by the Masco Corporation in 1954 with the introduction of the single-handle faucet, Delta Faucet Company is a global leader in faucets and related accessories, explains regional manager Ross Jackson.

It offers an extensive line of commercial products, incorporating style and innovation into faucets and flush valves, both manual and electronic, to suit both residential and commercial buildings.

Looking at its latest products, Jackson points to Touch 2Oxt technology, which lets you turn the water on and off anywhere on the spout or handle of the tap itself. This is an example of Delta Faucet's innovation and technological development, stresses Jackson.

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"We are at the cutting-edge of product innovation and development. Manufactured to meet federal, regional and local specifications, our products offer abundant replacement parts, a comprehensive warranty and confidence earned through a punishing regimen of durability testing.

Handles are turned on and off 500,000 times to ensure leak-proof performance. Every faucet undergoes over 100 hand inspections, including air and water testing," says Jackson.

Current trends include the 'green' bathroom, says Jackson. "The green bathroom has become important in terms of sustainability and environmental awareness." He adds that aesthetic appeal and technological advancement go hand-in-hand with modern sanitaryware.

Delta Faucets' reference list includes "prestigious hospitality and housing projects, as well as medical and other commercial projects in 53 countries," says Jackson.

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Publication:Construction Week
Article Type:Company overview
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Oct 20, 2011
Words:2134
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