Bathroom: Duravit

Since entering the u.s. market nearly two decades ago, German bathroom-product manufacturer Duravit has managed to stay ahead of its competitors by following one simple rule: Design comes first. However, Timothy Schroeder, president of Duravit USA, admits that following this rule is not always easy. “The first task is to design a beautiful product,” he says. “But then we have to figure out how to make it work, and that can take years.”

No doubt, designing a sauna in which temperature, humidity, mood lighting, and music are controlled by a palm-sized remote presented more than a few technical challenges. But with the $20,000 Inipi sauna, Duravit achieved all that and more. This sleek unit is designed for two and outfitted with a shower and a dry sauna with benches made of light aspen wood. Undermount lighting can be adjusted for different moods, and the waterproof speakers can be attached to an external MP3 player to play songs other than the included music selections that correspond with the preset sauna scenarios, such as jungle, desert, and Mediterranean.

Duravit, 212.686.0033, www.duravit.us