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SPECIALREPORT WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com Putting the ‘wow factor’ into radiators Steve Birch, sales director at Vogue (UK), talks up the benefits of products that have been designed and manufactured in Britain and looks at some of the factors that have influenced and improved the performance of radiators and towel warmers today... Towel warmer and radiator design has definitely evolved in recent years, especially in Britain, having to meet consumer demand for products that are both stylish and functional. A far cry from the ‘basic white’ radiator, UK manufacturers are constantly pushing the boundaries to develop radiators and towel warmers that make use of the latest technology and all important ‘wow factor’ in order to keep up with the latest trends and advancements. With products that have been designed and manufactured in Britain, customers can enjoy greater control, as well as better communication with the brand at both the design and supply stages. HIGHLY SKILLED, SPECIALIST CRAFTSMEN Rather than purchasing a mass-produced product that can be found in any residential property, British design and manufacture celebrates products that have been created by highly skilled, specialist craftsmen and furthermore, tailored according to customer requirement and individual tastes. With such tailored consultation, there has been a notable shift towards custom design which has enabled the market to constantly explore new techniques and experiment with different materials and finishes. Designing and manufacturing in Great Britain enables product design to push the boundaries and experiment with different raw materials and techniques. This has ultimately safeguarded Britain’s future as a leader in innovative design and of course, developing home-land manufacture. Consumers place trust in companies that manufacture in Britain. Not only are they confident that the products being purchased meet the highest standards of quality, but delivery times are often reduced too. Furthermore, should there be any issues with an order, it is easier to trace how far along the manufacturing line the product is and when it is being distributed. So, it is safe to say that the “Designed/made in Britain” label still carries a great deal of prestige in the UK and many overseas territories, where the British panache for the highest quality design is renowned. This is particularly the case in countries like the United States where British goods have always been appreciated. I believe the quality raw materials Britain has to offer the heating market has been fundamental to the resurgence for British design, furnishing the consumer with different quality options that have ultimately influenced, and improved, the performance of radiators as they are today. Stainless steel and brass are incredibly versatile and durable materials when used for the manufacture of quality heating solutions, both suitable for connection to open and closed heating systems. However, high quality mild steel is a must for all other towel rails and designer radiators where a superb finish and longevity is required. This type of base material has opened up a new world of innovative heating design, allowing the use of highly original finishes and tactile surface effects that move away from the more mainstream 34 APRIL 2016 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY chrome plating or painted finish. Bold colours, high texture materials, or the addition of a full length mirror are rivalling the standard designs and it is the continued developments in technology and manufacturing techniques that have made it possible to bring traditional designs into the 21st century. Metallic finishes such as brushed or polished chrome or stainless steel, nickel and gold are also hugely popular, as well as antique bronze, copper and brass finishes. Many models can even be provided with a textured, or even a sculptured finish. Homeowners are undoubtedly investing more in terms of product design and performance. No longer is the market aspiring to the common white painted radiator or towel warmer, instead it errs towards more stylish heating solutions that incorporate different tactile design and advanced performance. PERFECT BALANCE BETWEEN STYLE AND FUNCTIONAILITY Retailers should ensure that the products they offer have a perfect balance between style and practicality, as in today’s market consumers are looking for the best of both worlds. This is clearly evident from the growing demand for dual fuel towel warmers, which can be connected to a central heating system, and additionally, can be powered via an electric element. As towel warmers are now considered an essential component of bathroom design, homeowners are looking to use them all year round to keep towels warm and dry, without the expense of using the central heating during the warmer months. To meet this increase in demand, many manufacturers are now able to offer a significant proportion of their towel warmers as dual fuel options, allowing retailers to tick all of the boxes by offering customers an incredibly stylish, practical and cost-effective product. With far more accessibility nowadays, we have to recognise that consumers are researching both product and brand heritage prior to purchase. This has played a pivotal role in the continued development of luxury heating solutions, with ‘British-made’ design and manufacture unquestionably helping to promote a product’s pedigree from the very beginning. Radiators have come a long way from the ‘basic white’, with customers now wanting more control over the look and design of the product enquiry number 126


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