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Innovations in towel rails

Steve Birch, sales director, Vogue UK discusses the latest innovations in towel rails looking at how the heating industry has evolved, along with some of the latest technology in use and cutting-edge designs available.

Steve Birch, sales director, Vogue UK

Heating design and specification is becoming an integral part of the ‘whole house package’ as homeowners look to get winter-ready ahead of the autumn/winter 2021-22, and we are noting a growing desire for custom home solutions that are high quality and design-led rather than purely functional. 

In fact, the evolutions of today’s heated towel warmer stretches way back into the 1800s. In 1834, Denison Olmstead of New Haven, Connecticut created a heat exchanger for his stove which he described as a ‘peculiar kind of apparatus, which I call a radiator’. However, it wasn’t until 1855, Franz San Galli of St Petersburg invented the heating radiator.

So, the journey began, the radiator became more popular and spread to every room in the home. Once heating reached the bathroom it became unrealistic for towels to dry and pile-up on the radiator and so, the inevitable arrival of the towel warmer came to pass.

The 1920s saw the first of the cast iron water-heated towel warmers, commonly referred to as a ‘bath radiator’. Here in the UK, drying racks, heated towel warmers and heated towel bars were seen as luxury items and would only ever be found in homes and hotels of high upstanding social status.

As time passed, new materials became available and our abilities to manipulate and manufacture these materials grew and materials like copper, brass, mild steel and stainless steel helped to propel the industry forward. Plus, with a rise in property ownership in the 20th century and huge public appetite for renovation, home comforts became increasingly important and today the heating industry has been transformed beyond recognition. 

Heating now requires the same level of attention as the rest of the décor, as homeowners have become even more discerning. Products which offer a lower carbon footprint and energy efficiency are set to rise in importance as contractors and end users look to make choices based on climate change as well as available budgets, so offering an extensive range of up-to-the-minute heating options has never been more important, especially as we enter into the prime period for installations. 

Alongside traditional central heating and dual fuel solutions to ensure year around comfort, electric Dryline technology is defined by the absence of fluids, so that the towel warmer is to be heated by a silicone heater cable, which is then later attached to a fuse spur. The luxury interior market is evolving in 2021 with fresh impetus for user-friendly design and subtle refinement in terms of fixtures and fittings. 

When it comes to heating, the latest innovations in the bathroom are placing huge emphasis on sculptural designs and striking finishes. In my opinion, the luxury interior market is evolving with fresh impetus for user-friendly design and subtle refinement in terms of fixtures and fittings. Pure and simple lines will outweigh more intricate models and playing with shape and colour contrast will be used to give a modern edge to tranquil bathroom environments. 

A black finish in the home has become a timeless choice more recently, which up to now, was reserved for either white or chrome or brass additions – especially in the bathroom. As popularity grows for more contemporary-classic designs with high impact finish options, we are finding that sanitaryware, taps and furniture designs are also following suit with new coloured options coming to the fore, as standard. We recognise that white bathrooms will continue to remain a firm favourite with many, but the latest trends are seeing a combination of white sanitaryware with industrial-style black fixtures and fittings like taps, mirrors and heating solutions to instantly provide contrast and a dash of colour to bathroom décor. 

Creating and celebrating unique style in the contemporary home will be the main story as we head towards 2023, and heating will remain a crucial part of the design process. We have seen the importance of global fusion like Scandinavian design and more recently Japandi décors, where east meets west. This idea of ‘the world being your sourcebook’ will intensify in the home, as a bold mix of styles, finishes and designs continue to hit big in the modern bathroom. There’s a wealth of added-extra design elements like fold-out shelves and dual-access bars, to put the ‘fun’ into functional with eye-catching and eco-friendly practical aluminium heating solutions, which will enrich any type of bathroom space.

26 August 2021

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