‘Affordable’ and ‘Luxury’ are the two words usually positioned opposite to each other. While Affordable usually denotes pocket friendly, Luxury, on the other hand, is usually associated with splurging on something that is niche and desirable to the buyer. It is not true that Luxury cannot be affordable. However, the general notion of the market was inclined towards Luxury being lavish till the connected term, ‘Affordable Luxury’ has punctuated the notion in a big way. Bathrooms are no longer the ‘ignored spaces’ and have come up as one of the biggest spenders in the house purchase.
Ar. Hiren Patel is passionate about giving life to each design executed at Hiren Patel & Associates. They also design stunning bathrooms. He believes Bathrooms are one of the most important part of homes for wellness & for relieving stress. However, he rejects the idea of empowering a bath space with expensive materials just to call that luxurious. “Details in bathrooms and functionality is important. Good ambiance makes bathroom rich and not the expensive products,” he said.
Though the impact of Demonetisation is expected to be short to mid-term, it seems that ‘Affordable Luxury’ and ‘Essentialism’ are here to stay for long. As per the marketers, Luxury is dissected into two parts, Premium Luxury and Affordable Luxury with the latter being a relatively new entrant. In terms of real estate, as per market experts, an affordable luxury project is a premium housing project, one that is in the financial reach of a much larger buyer segment than just HNIs and ultra-HNIs. Similarly, Affordable Luxury in the Bath segment is a relatively new and unexplored segment which Surfaces Reporter feels that Brands must work out to segment & segregate for the greater benefit of Speciers, Architects and Retail.
There is no clear-cut definition of Affordable Luxury in Bath, however, in the Pyramid, it clearly sits between the entry-level and luxury segment. This clearly shows a benefit to the mid level products and brands. The market is entirely unexplored with the demand shifting from the higher end to a little lower end of the pyramid, clearly stating an upward trend in the mid level.
In order to capture this consumer segment, the bath products have to be compatible with the luxury ones particularly in terms of design as well technology as we must not forget that whatever demand shift we are witnessing from the higher strata are a user of products that particularly signifies beauty and luxury in design as well as clearly boasts of many high technologies.
In the testing times of Demonetization, when other brands were refraining from bringing in something new, fearing customers’ response, Abhishek Somany, MD, Somany Ceramics, launched the French Collection in a big way taping to the Luxury and Affordable Luxury market.
Architects and designers are working to show their creativity in a limited budget option. By choosing products and designs that are creative and smart and yet not heavy on the pocket is the need of the hour. Talking about it, Architect Behzad Kharas, The BNK Group said, “When we talk about luxury bathrooms, we normally associate high end brands like Villeroy and Boch, Fantini, Gessi etc. Also, concepts like bathroom spas with various showers and chromotherapy options including steam are expensive shower systems. Same way fully automated loaded WCs are luxury products people use. In addition to this people use expensive mosaics from Sicis and Bisazza and also use Italian Marble.
However, to achieve a similar feel within the bathroom the use of large size tiles like 3 meter x 1 meter for the walls which give same effect like marble at cost effective prices bring the costs down.”
He further sais, “Using retrofitted automated WCs where only the seat cover is automated, for eg, if you but TOTO Renesse WC, the seat can be electronic cover with washlet by adding a few thousands rather than splurging in lakhs.
Same ways, many people tend to mix and match shower systems by choosing showers from inexpensive brands with features like rain, mist and waterfall and go with branded thermostat control from companies like Grohe. Essentially by the same look and feel, people can achieve a sense of luxury in the bathroom.”
Conforming the same, Ar. Sandesh Prabhu, Interior & Architecture Spaces Concluded, “Luxury is something which can be described in various ways with different mindsets. Just using most expensive stone with high end sanitaryware doesn’t make the bathrooms luxurious! One can get Innovative / Creative and make that space look very special and luxurious in smaller budgets. It all depends on the architect and client’s desire about how to make that space look interesting!”
“Easy way to make affordable yet stylish, creative bathroom is use of very basic material like Indian Patent stone, very commonly used in Red colour in olden days and known as red oxide or Kota / Jaisalmer etc. Any basic sandstone costs around in range of 70 /100 sq/ft.
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