Reading time: 6 minutes
Dolphin Solutions helped our client in creating a tailor-made washroom solution for the King’s Boulevard washroom project, which presented a distinctive challenge.
A renowned architectural firm is designing the building, expected to be an innovative and visually striking addition located in the heart of London, N1C 4BU. It will be a significant landmark in London and a symbol of our client’s commitment to innovation and creativity.
As with any commercial washroom design, there are bound to be challenges, and we would like to share our story of how niggling obstacles turned into opportunities for innovation and problem solving.
- Building Design Partnership
Washroom project challenge
The client had chosen superloos for their washroom layout, and although the size of the superloos offered excellent space saving, it meant reducing the size of the vanity to ensure the activity space and column of clearance were maintained. The cubicles essentially restricted the washstation design, leaving limited space for the washbasin, tap, and soap dispenser projection.
Prior to bringing Dolphin onboard, the client’s design team had planned to reduce the projection of the basin to 240mm to save space in the superloos, however, they needed to ensure the tap was sized and placed correctly to prevent water from splashing on the user. The concept behind the first design was to create a solid surface deep basin with a simple ‘box’ design. The wall mounted sensor tap and manual soap dispenser was placed next to each other, 100 mm apart, in order to fit within the small size of the basin.
When a mock-up of the original design was constructed and tested, it felt very much like washing your hands in a ‘bucket.’ If you have ever tried washing your hands in a bucket, you can relate to the scenario where your hands and wrists become bent in awkward and uncomfortable positions, making it difficult to effectively clean your hands.
Now, imagine a downturned tap placed in the middle of the bucket – it doesn’t leave much space to wash your hands either.
When the Dolphin team was brought on board to supply the washroom products, our team looked at the original design and due to some functional and ergonomic concerns about the design, we offered to build a mock-up to test the functionality and user experience first before supplying.
The first washstation mock-up
Although it was one of the smallest Corian basins we had ever worked on, we managed to build the mock-up according to the client’s design and presented it in our showroom to the client, along with their project managers and architects.
During our testing, we found that the handwashing functionality was poor and exactly as the delivery architect had described it – similar to putting your hands deep down into a bucket. The actual functionality and ergonomics were inadequate due to its small, deep size, and the sharp corners within the basin would have made it challenging to keep clean. Additionally, we discovered that the flat base of the basin did not allow water to flow down the drain effectively, causing a shallow water puddle to linger on the base after use.
The second washstation mock-up
At this point, the client decided to change the soap dispenser from manual to touch free.
We went back to our manufacturing warehouse with the original design in hand and our team of design engineers got to work to provide a solution that kept within the washroom project brief and specified dimensions.
We put forward a solution similar to Dolphin’s Unico Vanity Trough, Eclipse, featuring a seamless top and a moulded inclined watershed zone to prevent splashing. We also installed the DS101 Dolphin Inform Smart Tap and the BCL632 touch free soap dispenser, both with a bespoke length of 107mm.
When our team presented the improved washstation to the client, they liked the new design and the fact that the DS101 sensor tap was SMART enabled, giving them the option to integrate SMART washroom technology when they are ready to do so.
During the testing of the mock-up, we identified a new ergonomic issue. It was observed that the soap dispenser was inadvertently activated after washing hands, resulting in soap dripping onto the back of the user’s hands as they moved away from the tap. This issue arose because the tap and soap dispenser were placed too close together, despite their short and similar projection. As a result, we went back to the drawing board.
The Dolphin Solution
The third and final washstation mock-up
To maintain both washroom fittings as wall mounted and functional, we kept the tap at the centre of the basin and moved the touch free soap dispenser as close to the edge of the washbasin as possible, while ensuring it remained within the basin. This arrangement allows any excess soap to drop directly into the basin.
This solution addressed the problem of soap dripping onto a user’s hands and accidentally being activated and provided more space to wash and dry hands effectively.
The new washstation design was an outstanding success! It proved to be highly efficient, exceptionally functional, and remarkably easy to clean. Not only did it meet the brief given to us, but the design solution proposed by the Dolphin team was also unanimously approved by the client. They were delighted with the outcome and relieved to see such an innovative creation that perfectly aligned with their washroom vision.
A hygienic and sustainable washroom
Although the washstation was small, it still met the WELL Standard and is a compliant system that minimises the risk of Legionella due to the touch free fittings. The client now has the option to integrate SMART washroom technology when the building is complete, enabling them to monitor their water and energy usage, take steps to reduce consumption, and contribute to a more sustainable future.
Washroom project result
We are truly grateful for the opportunity that the client gave us to build mock-ups of the washstation and find solutions to the potential issues they would face with the functionality, cleaning, splashing, and ergonomics of the original design.
Through our direct collaboration with the client, the delivery architect, and the provision of functioning mock-ups, we were able to successfully meet their needs and desires. The optimal configuration of the sensor tap and touch free soap dispenser was achieved through tireless adjustments and experimentation, resulting in valuable lessons learned for future designs of shallow vanities within superloo layouts.
The only significant change made to the final design was to reduce the height of the vanity, thereby creating more legroom for users to stand and wash their hands comfortably and creating a greater sense of space within the small superloo cubicle.
To enhance the washrooms’ functionality and appearance, the following Dolphin products were also supplied:
The team is thrilled to have received a heartfelt and appreciative referral for the washroom project from the delivery architect. In the words of the architect,
“We did work with you, and we definitely had a few attempts, and it was a very pleasant experience as well to work with you and solve this. You were very helpful in the showroom, all of you in any form or shape, whatever we wanted we kind of got and you tried everything possible to accommodate all of us including the client’s team.”
The Dolphin Pod would like to extend our gratitude to Charlotte from Building Design Partnership for entrusting us with the King’s Boulevard washroom project and allowing us to assist in finding a solution to a challenging problem. We eagerly look forward to collaborating again in the future and seeing the final outcome of the building.