BC Designs Q&A | Changing room

With BC Designs having celebrated 20 years of trading, we ask its design director Barry Cutchie how bathrooms have changed over the past two decades and what to expect next.

16 Jan, 20

With manufacturer BC Designs having celebrated 20 years of trading, we ask its design director Barry Cutchie how bathrooms have changed over the past two decades and what to expect next.

Q&A | BC Designs: Changing room



Q: How have you seen the bathroom change over past two decades?

A: While the layout hasn’t changed, we have seen an explosion in highly stylised bathroom design.

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The role and function of bathrooms has changed significantly and more so in the last three years than the previous 17 years.

In part, this has been driven by the rise of social media and the desire to achieve the perfect ‘Instagram-ready’ bathroom.

People now desire a bathroom that complements and fits with the rest of the house, and isn’t just a purely functional room.

Showers allowed bathrooms to fulfil a very quick and easy function and while consumers still want this, they also want bathrooms to be a sanctuary and place to relax, which is why baths are having their moment again.

Q&A | BC Designs: Changing room 1


Q: What impact has this had on the design of the bathroom?

A: One of the biggest changes has been the choice of materials.

While cast-iron baths still have their place, acrylics and resin solid surface baths and basins have changed the design capabilities forever.

Traditional and contemporary baths can be moulded into stunning shapes and these materials are also much lighter than cast iron, providing a wider scope of opportunities.

BC Designs and Bayswater join IPG 1

Q:  What has been the biggest game-changer in the past 20 years?

A: Probably two things that I would say have changed bathroom design the most have been the walk-in shower and the all-in-one-toilet, though the latter is pretty new and the full impact will only be known in the next couple of years.

We’ve already seen an explosion of companies offering smart toilets to retailers – we’re talking six to over a 150 in the last two years alone.

Why? Well it enhances the most basic wellness routine by introducing the use of water; leaving the consumer with a clean and fresh feeling.


Q: What has been the biggest flop in bathroom design during this time?

A: The one thing that sticks in my mind is the shower/fan heater combination.

It was a corner shower that washed you but also had a built-in fan heater which you could then stand next to and it would attempt to dry you. Safe to say, it wasn’t on sale for very long.


Q: Who or what has been the biggest influence on you when designing products?

A: Original sanitaryware from the Victorian era has had the most profound influence in my work and it can still be heavily seen today.

The Victorians made the biggest impact on bathroom design for centuries and their ornate offerings have a place in both modern and contemporary design, obviously with the odd tweak and latest innovation in materials.

The likes of Philippe Starck has also had influence over my work with his concept of democratic design of well-designed products being available to a wider audience to enjoy and love.


BC Designs unveils ColourKast


Q: How big will colour be over the next few years? Will there be a particular favoured palette?

A: People tend to associate the word colour with bright shades or what I like to call, obvious colour when in fact colour can be achieved through subtle ways.

Colour will be huge over the next few ways but not necessarily with bold, bright colours.

Expect concrete and cement colourways to have prominence but personalisation will be achieved through consumers’ choice of materials; tiles, ceramics, finishes, brassware will all feature different shades of grey and texture.

That being said, colour pops will make their mark over the next couple of years.

Already we are seeing a strong demand for pink shades, as well as bright, bolder colours such as yellows and oranges though these will tend to be isolated against a more neutral backdrop.


Q:  Do you foresee connected technology playing a greater role in bathroom design? How?

A: I do! We’ve already seen a move towards smart showers and toilets and I believe this is just the beginning.

In a world where demands on our time is forever increasing, anything that saves time and makes life easier will change the way bathrooms are designed.

It will become the norm to control water temperature in your shower, the lighting around your sink and everything in between by using a tablet or phone.