After a four-year break – first because of the pandemic and then the war – 2023 marked the return of Frankfurt’s ISH, a trade event dedicated to bathroom furnishings, air conditioning, and energy-saving technologies. From over 150 countries, 153,734 visitors (44% from abroad) attended the fair. They were treated to the latest, most innovative products to spearhead – or, at the least, facilitate – the energy transition of the construction industry and improve water management. Decarbonization, energy efficiency, and renewable energy sources were therefore key issues of the exhibition. And the importance of these issues, and the urgency of putting them into practice, were confirmed by the high visitor numbers, but also, and in particular, by the involvement of institutional representatives and the high number of participating companies, with 2025 exhibitors from 54 countries.
While ISH 2023 will be remembered for its return to Messe Frankfurt, one of the most exciting developments this year was its digital version, which will remain available online through April 30. The next ISH will take place in two years’ time: March 17–21, 2025.
Qatego by F.A. Porsche
Essential shapes and tones, and, sometimes, enveloping lines inspired by geometry are just some of the recurring themes to be seen in the latest bathroom products and furnishings.
Among the various new lines showcased in Frankfurt by Duravit is Bento Starck Box, a statement of intent and design that begins with its name, with designer Philippe Starck drawing his inspiration for the collection from Japanese bento boxes – that is, lunch boxes divided inside into multiple compartments. “The Bento Starck Box collection is the start of elegant serenity,” says Starck when describing the washbasins and bathtub in the series. With an intelligent division into wet and dry areas, the washbasins and tubs are clear and well-structured, offering endless possibilities for personalized bathroom designs.
Qatego, from Studio F.A. Porsche, on the other hand, is a customizable bathroom collection that draws on nature, featuring clear, minimalist elements that radiate naturalness. The designers see the handbasin and cabinet as both creative and functional. “With Qatego, we focused on the needs of people in the familiar and intimate environment of the bathroom,” said Henning Rieseler, design director of Studio F.A. Porsche. “That’s why it was important for us to give the objects a strong emotional quality that goes beyond simple functionality.”
RAK-Remal by Sahar Madanat is a new collection from RAK Ceramics inspired by the dynamism of constantly shifting desert dunes, with the action of the wind translated into a sculptural style. “The RAK-Remal collection was born from a moment of tranquility, imagining the feeling of standing amidst beautiful sand dunes,” explains the designer. “The calmness of the space and the soft shapes of the golden sand that surround us. The open sky and the wind that touches our face. Every aspect of the collection has been designed to bring people closer to that feeling, to that natural, organic, and stimulating movement that sand gives. The shape of the basins derives from this inspiring image, and even the new ‘sand look’ finish makes what would otherwise be a standard matte white enamel special.”
RAK-Remal by Sahar Madanat
The Equilibrium basin, designed by Massimiliano Braconi for Alice Ceramica, was created from studying the shape of a cone and developing its functionality. The result is a product collection with harmonic, minimalist curves available in three designs, all linked by recurring cone shapes. Different heights and finishes are available.
Balance and harmony are two key features of the new collection from Ceramica Globo designed by angelettiruzza design. The collection is aptly named Lalita, a Sanskrit word that refers to the values of calm and simplicity. With soft lines and generous proportions, this large and varied collection comprises wall- and floor-mounted toilets with the innovative CLEANSTORM® flushing system that precisely directs a silent flow of water. Eliminating the need for a rim, the system has made it possible to create a linear design that still ensures thorough cleaning.
The asymmetrical and enveloping curves that define the Antao from Villeroy&Boch were inspired by nature. Available in an unusual matte tone, the bathtub has been designed with ergonomics in mind to create shapes that encourage a total sense of relaxation.
Intended to create a welcoming, personalized bathroom environment, antoniolupi presented its Borderline collection, designed by Carlo Colombo. The special feature of the collection is its high level of customizability, with different dimensions, drawers, colors, and finishes available, as well as wall- and floor-mounted models.
Borderline collection, by Carlo Colombo
Soft, rounded shapes are a feature of the Balance countertop washbasin from Bette, whose strong suit is the strength of its vitrified titanium, available in numerous color variations.
At ISH 2023, Catalan company Roca launched a number of new products and cutting-edge technologies in its 100% green booth, inspired by Mediterranean culture and designed by Barcelona studio Mesura. Three new collections were on show: Tura, produced through collaboration with designer Andreu Carulla; Ona, which represents the pure essence of the Mediterranean; and Nu, the work of designer Inma Bermúdez. This year’s most innovative offerings also included In-Wash® Insignia, the latest intelligent toilet, and Roca Connect, Roca’s IoT service, which makes it possible to manage the bathroom remotely.
Megius was at the event with some new products from its Zen project. Already known for its shower cubicles with extremely minimalist lines, the collection has been enriched with a hammam and the Zen Idro shower with internal seat. Zen Combi is another variation that enhances the combination of heat and water. Its adaptability, for both domestic and hotel settings, is maximized, combining a shower with a Turkish bath with a wooden bench and shelves, and a sauna with a corner entrance. The product is a mini spa, in other words, where you can relax and turn down the pace.
Strohm Teka was in Frankfurt with three new products, including the Lavi collection. Inspired by the colors and tranquility of nature, Lavi is all about balance, harmony, and the wellbeing of mind and body. The firm also presented 180º shower and Dessin.
VitrA featured its Metropole collection at the exhibition, which it has now overhauled and enhanced with two new furniture lines, Metropole Edge and Metropole Pure, along with a full range of washbasins. Together, they create effective combinations that adapt to different styles in terms of shape, color, and size, while breathing life into relaxing and welcoming bathroom environments. Distinguished by geometric designs and rounded edges, Metropole washbasins offer design freedom and create bathrooms with a unique style, able to satisfy all kinds of needs and expectations.
TOTO showcased NEOREST, an innovative prototype toilet that incorporates various latest-generation technologies, such as warm water cleansing and water consumption management.
Contrasting with the many minimalist, essential products on show, the Vision Concept countertop washbasin from Glass Design, designed by Tonino Lamborghini, is as innovative as it is eye-catching with its irregular shapes. Made of Vetrofreddo®, an innovative material composed of vitreous pigments and resins, it’s a celebration of creativity that’s versatile enough to adapt to any shape and is available in numerous glossy and matte colors.
Finally, Woodio won the ISH Design Plus Award with its Woodio Block toilet seat, made of 100% waterproof solid composite wood. This Finnish brand of interiors known for its Nordic designs specializes in the innovative use of materials from sustainable supply chains. In fact, over recent years, Finland has become a point of reference for material innovation, with Finish companies combining the latest technologies and high-quality design to create new varieties of sustainable products.
As part of the ISH Water section, focused on modern bathroom design and sustainable technology for water management, CEADESIGN presented ABACO, a modular system that incorporates all the bathroom functions. Made entirely of stainless steel, it combines with decorative materials and finishes, including wood, marble, and solid surface coatings. The idea of integrating all the different functions of the bathroom into a single element has been a prime focus of Natalino Malasorti, founder and art director of the firm, throughout his career.
Multifunctionality is also the key feature of the Damast shower range, which includes VOGUE, a new multitasking shower column set with soft, rounded lines. It combines with the AURORA anti-limescale hand shower, the KELLY thermostatic mixer, and the RELAX shower head with its intense spray of water. Together, they’re ideal for creating a moment of total wellbeing, perhaps at the end of a busy day at work.
The “4-in-1” cabinet, conceived and created by DELABIE Group, incorporates four functions in a single designer object: cabinet, mirror, soap dispenser, and hand dryer. Other products launched at the event by the French group include the BINOPTIC and TEMPOMATIC series, as well as the SPORTING 2 SECURITHERM electronic shower panel, which won a special mention at the 2023 German Design Award.
The “4-in-1” cabinet
For the Frankfurt fair, Swiss firm KWC Group presented a range of new products and officially announced its partnership with chef Andreas Caminada, with whom it shares such basic values as a passion for excellence and a drive towards innovation. The chef was at the event to demonstrate some of the company’s products, including the KWC GASTRO lever mixer for commercial kitchens, which has attracted the attention of catering professionals around the world.
Rubinetterie Treemme was at ISH 2023 with a selection of its most successful collections, as well as the new W-70s series of thermostatic mixers and shower controls. Designed by Studio Kinowa, these are products with a contemporary style made entirely of brass. They’re available with numerous finishes, all of which recall the appearance of old stereos.
FIMA Carlo Frattini exhibited several new products: SWITCH ON completes and expands the SWITCH shower system, designed by Davide Vercelli and distinguished by minimalist, essential looks. The FLO’ mixer was designed with rounded shapes to achieve a perfect balance between elegance and solidity, between ease of use and innovation. SO has a newly developed single hole mixer with two rotating controls, one to regulate the temperature and the other to adjust the flow. INGIRO, the outdoor standalone series with a concrete base, won the ISH Design Plus award.
SWITCH ON by Davide Vercelli
Guglielmi Rubinetterie celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Armando Guglielmi, with the CENTO collection, designed by Alessandro Zambelli. The line blends the dynamism of early 20th century avant-garde art with the taste for pure shapes that inspired the experiments of the rationalists.
Expanding its Smart Luxury line, German brand Kludi exhibited Louva, a collection with rounded lines available in chrome, matte black, and matte white finishes. Equipped with a technology that limits the flow of water to 1.3 gallons (5 L) a minute to avoid waste, the products in this premium series offer maximum comfort and allow everyone to customize their bathroom according to their tastes and needs.
Cordivari came to Frankfurt with a series of new products that combine energy efficiency and comfort. Among them were the Stratos 4S Heat Storage compact solar system, a patented product that doesn’t need to discharge energy if an over-temperature condition occurs, and the VNT Run and VNT Seven Lines high-performance fan coil units, which are both ultra-thin and silent.
Panasonic’s flagship product is the nanoe™ X Mark 3, a generator that inhibits airborne pollutants. The latest model generates 48 trillion hydroxyl radicals per second – 100 times more than the original – to produce better air quality throughout the day.
Nanoe™ X Mark 3
Daikin took part in ISH with the slogan Feel Good Technology, which expresses the company’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability and decarbonization. It took advantage of the event to unveil the new Daikin Altherma 4, an air-to-water heat pump range with customized components, aimed at improving product performance and installation flexibility.
Samsung designed its EHS Mono HT Quiet heat pump for residential renovations in particular. Distinguished by its elegant design, it combines the ability to reach water temperatures of up to 158°F (70°C) with low operating noise. Easy to install and maintain, it integrates perfectly with the exterior of any building, providing excellent performance, even at temperatures as low as -13°F (-25°C).
Cover: Bento Stark Box by Philippe Stark for Duravit
Please refer to the individual images in the gallery to look through the photo credits