A bit of history about the shower area
Efficiency, functionality and esthetics are key features of a good shower and are closely linked.
Over time, the shower has acquired a value that goes beyond the simple action
of washing. Sometimes it is perceived as a relaxing activity, more often it
is a quick way of preparing ourselves for the day ahead.
Regardless of how it is perceived and used, the shower is actually a real "system".
In order for it to work well over a long time and be effective while reducing
maintenance, several elements are required that go hand in hand together. The
setting in which they will be installed must also be considered. This text deals
with the various aspects of the shower area, indicating and commenting on the
items that are usually used for its configuration.
The first shower systems were found in Ancient Greece and Egypt, however this
practice wasn't associated with hygiene and cleanliness at the time, but with
spirituality and the purification of the soul. Water coming down from the head,
and bathing the whole body including the feet, had a symbolic value. This was
because people believed that it would remove sins, and as a result the soul
would regain its purity.
The modern concept of the shower was established in the nineteenth century.
The first example consisted of a bizarre device invented by William Feetham
around 1810. A pump "lifted" the water from a tank at the bottom,
into another container positioned at the top, on a frame that held them both
together. A lever controlled the water outlet that flowed back into the reservoir
at the bottom. In this way, the same water could be reused several times.
The "douche" invented in 1872 by Dr Merry Delabost, a doctor at Rouen
Prison, is much more similar to the present day shower. He wanted to improved
hygiene conditions for prisoners, who in a communal space, could manage the
flow of water individually. In 1879, the Prussian army made showering compulsory
for soldiers and installed communal showers. When showers at home became common
at a later date, less water was wasted, infectious diseases decreased and people's
Today the shower area has a different value. A simple and fast practice for
body hygiene is usually not the only requirement. Comfort and relaxation are
important nowadays. The personal washing system has gradually replaced the bathtub
over the last few decades, even though the two practices are not really alternative
but rather complementary. One of the reasons that has probably determined the
popularity of the shower, is water consumption. A quick shower consumes a smaller
amount of water compared to that used for a bath, provided it lasts no longer
than ten minutes, and if you turn the tap off while soaping or shampooing. Another
reason in favor of the shower might be the amount of space required for installation,
compared to that of a bathtub. This hypothesis is contradicted by a recent practice
of replacing an old bathtub with a shower that covers the whole area left free,
which is therefore extremely wide.
As we consider the current trends in shower areas, we can not forget the walk-in
showers, a design that is completely free of doors. In practice, regardless
of whether the shower is in a corner or along a wall, only one panel, usually
made of glass, acts as a shield, while one or two sides are left completely
open. The walls and flooring therefore need to be designed to contain water.
Perhaps a wise design would include a partition, that is wide enough and includes
a niche or shelves for towels.
Regardless of fashion or trends, the shower area provides an advantage of being
extremely adaptable, the shape and design can be chosen based on the available
space. Even before the advent of channel drains, if there wasn't enough space
you could create a shower between a sink and a toilet by placing the drain in
the middle of the room and providing a curtain to avoid getting the whole room
wet. A shower can be freely set up in a corner, in a niche or along a wall and
you can decide whether to enclose the area with a curtain, a glass panel or
a cabin. This flexibility is also a result of technical evolution, and thanks
to new materials today, shower trays are no longer just limited to porcelain,
and are also available in an almost infinite variety of shapes and sizes.
The most recent evolution was introduced with the use of a drain channel, a
drainage system that replaced the classic drain and therefore installing a tray
was no longer necessary, thus allowing for other possibilities and esthetically
alternative solutions. The option of an almost invisible drain minimizes the
visual impact of the shower itself, offering better integration with the rest
of the bathroom and satisfies any style requested. Installing a drain channel
offers several advantages: no limits to the position of the shower, it can be
floor - flush , in the centre of the room, or the area can be divided between
the dry area and the area that will get wet during use. No limits on shapes
and dimensions, it is a cheaper option compared to buying a shower tray. On
the other hand, when there isn't a shower tray, and you stand on the floor,
the shower needs to be designed from square one, and the surrounding area needs
to be isolated. These may be some of the biggest restrictions.