Simply better

Bette presents the world’s first shower tile made of glazed titanium steel that can be glued directly onto the screed enabling floor level installation. Designer Dominik Tesseraux explains the concept in interview.

Anna Moldenhauer: Mr. Tesseraux, a design task always starts with the question about why something happened. So what was the idea behind the “BetteAir” shower zones?

Dominik Tesseraux: For one thing it was time to further develop level-access showers. In 2006, Bette presented the first shower zone made of glazed titanium steel. Called "BetteFloor" it was a revolution. It has more of a sculptural character and now we wanted to develop a shower zone that could be integrated into the floor so that it is barely noticeable. "BetteAir" fits perfectly into the tile grid. The design had to be as flat as possible.

"Bette Air" can be glued directly to the screed like a conventional tile. What advantages does this offer?

Dominik Tesseraux: There is less space required beneath the shower tray – for "BetteAir" we further developed the combination of minimum support and installation box so that the shower area can be simply tiled really easily. The height of the BetteAir tile is similar to that of a standard floor tile, in other words between eight and ten millimeters. This places it at the right level to the rest of the floor so there is no need for any complicated calculations on the heights between the elements. As it is supplied preassembled and ready for installation the plug-and-play solution makes life much easier for the fitters, saves time, and is flexible.

The equally flat drain cover measures 200 millimeters in diameter. What was the idea here?

Dominik Tesseraux: The larger the cover the narrower you can make the drain gap. With “BetteAir”, it is a mere three millimeters so that when you stand on the shower area you can no longer feel the round mound of the drain under your feet. That contributes enormously to the sense of wellbeing while showering. Moreover, the drain set “BetteSolid” below is formed such that less hair or dirt can get trapped. A sieve is no longer necessary, the waste can be said to clean itself as the water runs through. Moreover, the water flow rate of 0.6 liters per second is very good and can also withstand the large amounts of water generated by a rain shower. The most attractive product is of no use to me if it is annoying to use which is why we placed great importance on user-friendliness when developing the “BetteAir”.

“Bette Air” is made of glazed titanium steel. What advantages does the material offer?

Dominik Tesseraux: This type of enameled steel is ideally suited for bathrooms – the material is very robust and hard wearing, it is hygienic, easy to maintain and very easy to clean.

The shower area can also be supplied with an anti-slip surface such as “BetteAnti-Slip Pro” or “BetteAnti-Slip Sense” for gloss colors. Is there a great difference in the appearance?

Dominik Tesseraux: No, the surface is absolutely level, in “BetteAnti-Slip Pro” the finish is somewhat more matt than in “BetteAnti-Slip Sense”. The anti-slip surface only becomes visible when it is wet, in other words, when it is needed.

“Bette Air” is available in eight formats and 31 colors. What criteria were behind the selection?

Dominik Tesseraux: That’s right, eight formats from 900 x 900 to 1400 x 1000 millimeters. This allows shower areas to be realized in many different dimensions. The 31 colors include the classic bathroom colors like white or ebony but also matt shades such or special effect colors like Blue Satin. So, this large range allows ample scope for individual wishes

“BetteAir” also offers basic sound insulation to lower the noise of showering. How does Bette achieve this effect?

Dominik Tesseraux: The sound insulation consists of foamed latex that is attached to the underside of BetteAir. This reduces the sound of the water hitting the surface and meets the increased requirements of sound insulation level 3 of VDI 4100 making it ideal say for rented apartments.

Dominik Tesseraux

Is there an aspect in the development of “BetteAir” as regards the design that was important to you?

Dominik Tesseraux: The aim was to achieve a streamlined look and a modern interpretation of the formal features of shower tiles without abandoning Bette’s DNA. It is incredibly difficult to design iconic products more simply than they already are – without destroying their unique design. To find an approach that does justice to this task we took the necessary time for the development, five years in all.

What fascinates you about designing bathroom products?

Dominik Tesseraux: I think the bathroom is an important aspect of our lives. Moreover, I’m fascinated by the challenge of advancing and improving a product although at first sight the parameters hardly allow for improvements. When you have the feeling, you can’t take things any further that is when it gets exciting for me.

Why did you choose Bette as the partner you wished to collaborate with?

Dominik Tesseraux: Bette is a highly innovative firm. The team has a daring, visionary approach and is willing to experiment in order to get a perfect product. What’s more, there is a family-like atmosphere at Bette and a mutual appreciation. And that is apparent in the products. In addition, Bette is also committed to a sustainable, transparent production, invests in the very latest technology and in plants for cleaning water, producing energy or avoiding waste. Bette products are not designed to a standard but are “Bette like”. They seek to find their own way rather than slavishly imitating others and I like that.

The first shower tile: BetteAir.