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 HISTORY
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 hygiene improved.

 

CHARACTERISTICS
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.