Challenging convention

Paul Priestman of Priestmangoode design consultancy discusses the impact of sustainability and smart technology on efficiency of resources within the home.

Although fundamentally a functional room, the bathroom is increasingly being viewed as a location of rejuvenation and relaxation. A hugely important factor in creating this personal paradise is well thought out heating that not only provides optimum comfort in, sometimes, cold material surroundings, but also aesthetics. Paul Priestman of Priestmangoode design consultancy discusses the impact of sustainability and smart technology on efficiency of resources within the home and how these have impacted on his new towel rail design for Iconic Radiators.

I am always learning about new technologies and production processes. I am also fascinated in the constantly changing requirements for products and services. These changes are on one hand driven by market requirements but are also often having to change to conform to improved safety, accessibility and environmental requirements. Anything new and interesting I tuck away in my mind and feed into new projects.

Increasing sustainability requirements in the design, manufacture, maintenance and disposal of products has led to some of the most innovative design solutions over recent years. Smart technology has already greatly improved the efficiency of resources within the home, but I think more can be done to improve product ease of use. It’s imperative that we all become more aware of how we use precious resources like water, gas and electricity.

For instance, a few years ago I designed a water saving device called the Waterpebble, which acts as a gentle reminder to use less water in the shower. I had the idea when I saw a sign in a hotel bathroom saying ‘please use water sparingly’, however there was no way of quantifying that. The Waterpebble measures the amount of water going down the plug hole and – using your first shower as a benchmark – uses a series of warning lights to reduce your shower time incrementally until you reach three minutes – the recommended length of time for a shower. It’s a simple concept and there’s no alarm, it works merely as a gentle reminder. It guides the user to reduce shower time incrementally by a few seconds each day, thus instilling an intuitive reduction in water usage over time.

I like challenging convention. The Hot Spring and Hot Hoop radiators stand out as possibly my most regarded professional achievement. They transformed the perception of radiators in the home, making them desirable objects that were part of an interior design scheme, rather than something to be hidden away. I think we will begin to see more intuitive products that are influenced by both sustainability and smart technology, as well as fundamental aesthetics emerging on the market in the coming years.


When approaching trend research and development I tend to design the product first and – once the initial ideas are sketched out – then look at the market and current trends to see what else is out there and how best to develop my designs into something unique. It’s so easy to take in influences from everywhere to create a standout product, but I believe an isolated design process initially is hugely valuable.  

I first started to think about the Triarc towel radiator to solve a number of problems with existing radiators and to fill a gap in the market. I became aware of a developing new tube bending technology and the increasingly stringent environmental requirement to run radiators at a lower temperature, so thought the combination of the two could result in an interesting new product.
Triarc is a new radiator designed to strike the perfect balance between sleek style and superior function. The towel radiator warms the room whilst warming and drying towels, has no vertical pipes at the sides and produces the required heat at a lower surface temperature.

The majority of work at Priestmangoode is in transport and aviation. We are currently working with the Paragon Space Development Corporation, for whom we’ve designed a capsule that will take passengers on a balloon ride to the edge of space. It’s an immensely exciting project, with the first flights scheduled for the not too distant future. Design has an ability to impact every aspect of our lives. At Priestmangoode, we work on everything from product design to high-speed trains, public transport, hotels and aviation and our products are used by hundreds of thousands of people every day. I find it hugely rewarding to know that what we do can help make life a little easier for so many people and I view the responsibility of a designer is to continue to design things that make life better. It’s great to be able to work on a such a wide range of projects, from designing radiators to defining the future of space travel.



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