Taking a Bath-Here or There…Context in Design

October 24, 2015

I was  leafing through a past issue of Architectural Digest when I came upon this photograph of what I’d call quite an exhibition bathroom! Although I’m confident that just beyond the field of vision of this photographer’s camera lens there’s a motorized shade that is drawn and retracted at the push of a button to either unveil or conceal this magical tub scene from view, I was still enchanted by the exposure!20151017_195312_resized_1

Not that the scene by itself wasn’t enough to catch my eye, but the tub is what first drew me in! It is identical to one that we are currently using in a small hall bathroom remodel. The contrast between the context of the elements, in the two quite different settings, is amusing. It’s a statement tub in either case as it is an extraordinary clean-lined, thin vessel—egg-shaped and stunning in its simplicity.

This is such a perfect example of context and design. How you can take a design element and place it in two entirely different scenes and have such  completely different effects. And yet this tub stands on its own. It is a sculpture, it’s an art piece, it’s a focal point. It’s really the element around which the room says what it says.

Now, in the one room, seemingly limitless dimension seen beyond the glass wall is expansive and all about the suggestion of privacy resulting from of the vast natural surroundings. The glass wall expands the boundaries of this space as though there were none—as if the tub is sitting outside in nature. This tub is the focal point of this scene in front of this glass wall—looking out over a verdant landscape so connected to nature. By fascinating contextual contrast, in our scene this identical tub will also be a focal point, a very sculptural focal point, but in a tiny space not much bigger than its own footprint surrounded by nostalgic finishes in a vintage bungalow that was built in the 1920s.

What is it about bathtubs? Remembering Mr. Bubbles and the kids’ “man in the bathtub” animated cartoon commercial…LOVE it—silly, yet so memorable. And then there is the “Calgon take me away…” memory. Let’s not forget Mel Gibson in “What Women Want” where the bathtub becomes the conduit for his fantastic transformation into the id of a woman. Bathtubs evoke a place of escape and fantasy and good design only enhances the possibilities.

Needless to say I already have a mental image of this finished scene in my mind. Here now I’m presenting the photograph that caught my eye and the tub as it sits, in an adjacent room, waiting to be installed.20150828_153403 Once finished I will be pleased to present the same tub in our context—that which I have painted a picture of here, in its otherwise traditional, intimate, encapsulated environment.

Take me away…


2 Responses to “Taking a Bath-Here or There…Context in Design”

  1. Federico Leon-de-la-Vega Says:

    What a beautiful bathroom and a well written article. Un beso, Federico

    leondelavega. com estudio-cafe.org

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