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International jury of experts announces the prizewinners of the first ZVSHK “Bathroom Design for All” Product Award.

Award ceremony at the international ISH 2013 trade fair for bathroom design // The ZVSHK Product Award recognises innovative bathroom products that showcase the principles of “Design for All” // The ZVSHK German Sanitation, Heating and Air Conditioning Association sees the positive response to the reward as a most encouraging signal.

St. Augustin On 14 March 2013, the German Sanitation, Heating and Air Conditioning Association (ZVHSK) awarded the ZVSHK “Bathroom Design for All” Product Award to five prizewinners in a ceremony held at the international ISH 2013 trade fair in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Günther Hoffmann, Department Director at the BMVBS Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, representing the minister and patron of the award Dr Peter Ramsauer, attended the award ceremony.

Manfred Stather, President of the ZVSHK, is delighted with the results of the competition: “The response has far exceeded our expectations. 55 product submissions from Germany, Austria, Denmark, Italy, Brazil and Japan show that manufacturers all over the world have recognized the market potential of developing attractive bathroom products according to the principles of Design for All”. The competition has proven itself as an effective instrument for promoting innovative products that address the challenges of demographic change. Prof. Dr. Ursula Lehr, former Federal German Minister and current President of BAGSO, the German Association of Organisations for Seniors, emphasised that “growing older is a process that spans one’s entire lifetime”, underlining the multi-generational principle behind the product award. In this context, “a barrier-free bathroom is essential for living independently at home in old age,” added Günther Hoffmann from the Ministry.

The jury awarded a total of five ZVSHK “Bathroom Design for All” Product Awards to the respective prize-winning companies: FSB received an award for A Flex, a flexible wall-mounting system for drop-down support rails and foldaway shower seats that offers new possibilities for catering for changing individual requirements in sanitary facilities in the hospitality industry. Hansgrohe received an award for ShowerSelect, its highly intuitive-to-use shower thermostat. A further recipient was HEWI’s Comfort and Care washbasin, which features integral cutouts that can serve as hand grips and supports for added safety, or as towel rails. HSK’s Walk In Easy Comfort shower enclosure does full justice to its name and likewise unites design aspects with comfort and safety concerns. Finally, Keramag’s 4Bambini child-friendly washbasin system, shows that the concept of Design for All encompasses all generations.

“Design for All offers concrete approaches to eliminating stigma and discrimination. In times of economic consolidation, the time has come to invest in demographic change,” argues Pete Kercher, ambassador for EIDD – Design for All Europe. Dr Peter Neumann, Chairman of EDAD European Institute for Design for All in Germany and head of the jury of eight international and interdisciplinary experts, stressed that “all of the prize-winning products unite ease of use with high quality design.” According to Francesc Aragall, President of the Design for All Foundation, “Design for All offers strategies and tools for developing a more comfortable and liveable environment for everyone.” For Andreas Bethke, Chairman of the National Competence Centre for Accessibility and a member of the jury, the award represents “a step in the right direction towards anchoring political demands, such as those outlined in national equal opportunities legislation and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in product design and development.”

The demand for attractive bathroom design solutions that can be used by all generations is rising as the number of older people in society increases. Of the 480,000 bathroom renovations undertaken by the plumbing trade in Germany in 2012, 195,000 were modernised to cater for the needs of older people. “With the award, we aim to highlight this growing demand and to encourage manufacturers to develop innovative products,” explains Elmar Esser, Managing Director of the ZVSHK, describing the motivation behind the Product Award. Esser sees the role of the ZVSHK as being active at both a socio-political level as well as representing the interests of over 30,000 tradesmen and contractors in the sanitation, heating and air conditioning trades. These are the people that consumers turn to at the ‘point of sale’ for advice on innovative bathroom solutions, for planning services, building works and repairs and maintenance. Neighbouring disciplines, such as architects and specialist planners or the housing and care industries, also benefit from the activities of the ZVSHK. For example, the award was met with great interest by the tourism industry at the ITB 2013 travel trade show in Berlin.

The five award winners were selected from 25 nominated products spanning almost the entire range of bathroom products: from well-designed, high-quality bathroom furniture and fitting elements to tap fittings and mounting systems developed in conjunction with end users to optimize their suitability and ease of use. After the ISH, the award winning products can be seen in bathroom showrooms around the country. The ZVSHK will also continue to inform the press with case studies and reports on novel uses of the award-winning products in practice.

Building on the success of this year’s initiative, the ZVSHK intends to award the next Product Award at the ISH in 2015, and to promote it as a key aspect of the ZVSHK’s ongoing activities in the field of Bathroom Design for All. In future, the aim is to link the competition with an associated scientific project, and to broaden its international reputation by establishing further collaborations with institutions abroad.

Press photos and background material can be downloaded from:

The ZVSHK Product Award offers manufacturers a platform for presenting market-ready products that address the demands of demographic change. The award is supported by Design for All - Germany (EDAD) as expert partner. The Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) act as a patron for the competition, underlining the socio-political relevance of the topic.

The ZVSHK, the German Sanitation, Heating and Air Conditioning Association, is the primary German representative organisation for over 53,400 contractors with over 342,000 employees. In 2012, the economic volume of the sanitation, heating and air conditioning sector amounted to 36.8 billion Euros. The ZVSHK is also a founder and patron of the leading international trade fair ISH.

For all enquiries, please contact: Frank Ebisch, ZVSHK press officer,
Fon: +49(0)2241 9299-114, Mobil: +49(0)151 24156979, E-Mail: f.ebisch@zvshk.de


represented by
President Manfred Stather
General manager
Elmar Esser

Rathausallee 6
D-53757 Sankt Augustin
Tel.: +49 (0 22 41) 92 99-0
Fax: +49 (0 22 41) 2 13 51
E-Mail: presse@zvshk.de