Often likened to buying a car, consumers could be forgiven for thinking all hot tubs and swim spas look alike; four wheels, a steering wheel and maybe a choice on engine and seating capacity. But several leading manufacturers are clearly determined to distinguish themselves from the rest of the car parking lot with new technical designs, styling, not to mention cabinet finishes.
“We try to think outside of the box with new ideas and by continually setting new standards,” explains Artur Deu, Managing Director of Iberspa, creators of the Aquavia range of spas as he takes me on a tour of their current flagship products on display at the recent Aquanale show.
“We like to play around with different materials and shapes and believe the finished look makes us stand out from the crowd,” Artur adds, clearly proud of the brand’s Catalonian, Spanish-influenced roots. That said, Aquavia’s flagship-designed Origami, with its special effect cabinet that mimics folded paper, echoes art forms from Japanese culture as much as Spanish influences. Simplicity of lines and choice of materials, together with its open flow interior design, oozes balance and calm with a smooth classy feel.
The Origami is supported by the Wave, with optional rattan cabinet finish; a deep seated design to cover more of the body in colder temperatures that is earning a strong following in central and northern Europe. Aquavia completed Iberspa’s Aquanale offering with its Duo swim spa, available in four sizes including the compact 5.7 x 2.3 model that side steps transport issues as it can be delivered with standard transport.
Fired on three x 3hp pumps, water flow is fully adjustable. The swim and aquatic exercise area is deep enough for a sunken aqua bike, offered as an optional extra, not to mention a special rowing seat.Following its initial launch and a period of market research and development, work on the first phase of the six-model Marquis Vector line is complete. With its new shape jets and futuristic design, the Vector range offered the wow factor when it was first shown to dealers earlier this year and is already a much-copied design influence for Chinese and other leading brands.
“The Vector 21 draws people in with its dramatic design,” says Steve Hasenmueller of Marquis. “A small number of people are turned off,” he concedes. “Because it is very attention grabbing, very masculine in design, it is not everyone’s choice, but the majority are attracted to it. They like the contrast.”
Steve is quick to point out that the Marquis design upgrades are not just about aesthetics.
“Our advances are not just cosmetic,” Steve explains. “All styling is backed up by uniquely designed water treatment and therapy systems that are not so easy for others to copy.”
Leading colour sales currently put white and pearl finishes ahead of the rest of the field but Steve believes displaying a variety of colour options in both spas and cabinets is the key to success. “I would always advise the retailer to go for a choice of colour options,” says Steve. “The customers want options to be able to contrast; it helps them to make a decisions, so showrooms should make a colour statement with their displays,” he adds.
The ‘bullet-proof’ Marquis cabinets have always offered a clean, robust finish with no screws; both sturdy and clean with easy access and complementary air vents. “Design wise, the Vector is going to become more of a force in the UK,” Steve believes. “We have already seen a surge of sales, up by 51 per cent in Canada. They love the Vector and the UK consumers will too.”
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