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Nevio Tellatin / Antonio Lupi
We do our best thinking in the bath, and after a recent dip in the 'Medea', we've been experiencing a surfeit of Eureka! moments. Billed as the world's thinnest tub, the 'Medea' has a smooth Corian shell measuring a mere 12mm thick. But the origami-like fragility is bolstered in every respect by clever engineering, invisible joinery and high-tensile gluing. Available in various shapes and sizes, this tub represents a new high-water mark.
Fantini / Rodolfo Dordoni
Price on request
Italian architect and designer Rodolfo Dordoni certainly has a handle on fine tap design. It's not until you spot something like this sleek creation for Piedmontese brand Fantini that you realise just how much the right tap can add to your overall bathroom aesthetic. Whether attached to the shower wall, or rising sinuously off the washbasin (washbasin version pictured), the 'Levante' tap almost seems to levitate, its gently angled lever exquisitely poised for lift-off. Once again, Dordoni demonstrates his penchant for unobtrusive touches, inserting a flash of white enamel between the level hinges.
Claudio Silvestrin / Cielo
From 635 each
Minimalist can be an embarrassingly overused word these days, but we have no reservations about applying it to this striking pair of toilet bowl and bidet. London-based architec Claudio Silvestrin imbues these wall-mounted white beauties with his trademark fluid symmetry of perfect circles and egg shapes. Produced by Italian manufacturer Cielo and finished in sturdy ceramic with thick, ergonomic edges (vital considerations when one is likely to be seated for any length of time), the 'Le Giare' set - which also comes with a matching washbasin - is everything you need to smarten up your daily ablution rituals
Romano Adolini / CEA
When we spotted the 'Asta' shower at this year's Salone del Mobile in Milan, we were seized by an inexplicable urge to break into song. And, indeed, we hear that its designer, Rome-based architect Romano Adolini, took his cue from the microphone. The brushed stainless steel shower head pivots on a ball hinge that, in turn, can be mounted either on the wall or on a horizontal surface. Water is piped through a silicone rubber hose that comes in a choice of white, green, grey or blue. The result is, design-wise, miles from your standard shower head and more a piece of kinetic pop art meets bathroom Pop Idol.
Shiro Studio / Agape
We are firmly unapologetic for being partial to products that look and function as they're supposed to. In the context of bathroom sinks, this means deep wells and ergonomic taps that don't need a lot of hand waving to activate. The Nivis sink fits our brief admirably well. UK-based architect Andrea Morgante, currently working on the Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena, translates his fondness for the white form into an amorphous basin that's inspired by the patterns made by falling snow ('nivis' means snow in Latin). Made of white cristalplant, the sink's graceful geometric curves are accentuated by a gentle indent, which turns out to be the overflow hole that Morgante has flipped from its customary vertical position onto the horizontal.
Enofrigo / Arclinea
Price on request
First launched as a facility for professional kitchens, Arclinea's dish-warming cylinder has this year been incorporated into the 'Convivium' kitchen by Antonio Citterio. The vertical tower is embedded in the counter and covered with a lid. It takes up to 60 plates and the temperature is adjustable between 30°C and 50°C.
Ludovica & Roberto Palomba / Tubes
Underfloor heating is all very well for warming cold toes, but being invisible, it doesn't radiate style in quite the same way as this design from Tubes does. But it's not all about looks: the 'Soho' radiator was created to answer environmental concerns and increasingly tough energy-efficiency regulations. Made entirely of recyclable aluminium, the 'Soho' uses 75 per cent less water than traditional tubular radiator equivalents and allows temperature levels to be changed speedily. As more and more architects warm to energy-saving buildings, this Italian company is tapping into the right market.
BVD / Askul
The match made in designer-retail heaven of Swedish company BVD and Japanese store Askul continues apace. The latest offering is this simple office clock, which instead of highlighting the usual 12, 3, 6 and 9, picks out the most important hours in a working day - 9 when people get to work, 12, when they take lunch and 5, when they leave.
Victor Carrasco / Boffi
Price awaiting confirmation
There’s little less appealing than washing your hands and drenching the front of your outfit in water because the basin is too shallow. Hence it was the extremely generous basin depth that first attracted us to Victor Carrasco’s Vol design for Boffi. Though we favour the graphic, sculptural quality of the column on the floor mounted design, purists can choose a floating, suspended version instead.
Nobukuni Tsuboi / 100 Percent
Price awaiting confirmation
It adds up that an object you touch frequently should be as tactile as possible and hence this beautiful number is made of rubber. Tsuboi claims he chose rubber as the material for purposes of grip, so you can do your sums using one hand, but we have a feeling it's to prevent your calculator from crashing if it falls foul of a desktop spillage.
€1500 excl. VAT
Green design was the theme at ISH this year and everyone agreed the greenest design was Roca’s W+W concept, which combines a washbasin and toilet in one design. Not just a space solution, the idea behind the design is that the water used in the washbasin gets stored in a cistern for the toilet and is then used as flush water. If the idea leaves you feeling a little short changed on the hygiene front, rest assured the design comes with an automatic cleaning system that purifies the water in between takes. And who can really argue when you’re saving 25% of water consumption?
There have been many playful interpretations of the tap this year but, call us old-fashioned – we’ve pitched for a bit of bling, washing our hands of any gimmicks, and gone with Kohler’s Vibrant Moderne Gold one instead. The American company has Hollywood Regency spot on, steering clear of kitsch or 1970s associations and creating a matte gold finish that is both classic and classy.
Delphine Rumo & Julien Renault /
‘Des Souches’ have a smokey, industrial charm to them and make for a far less waxy alternative to the candlelit bath experience. Inspired by tree trunks (the surface even has little rings), the yellow glimmer of the bulb through the dark glass gives an appealing Victorian gas lamp effect – perfect for reading Dickens to whilst having a soak. Designer Julien Renault is another ECAL star in ascendant and the ‘Des Souches’ range were the product of a workshop towards the end of last year with poster boy of the designer-maker generation Max Lamb.
£2640.40 excl. VAT
Arne Jacobsen, surely one of the greatest Danes, designed the first fittings for VOLA in the 1960s and it’s his design legacy that continues. On first glance the FS3 freestanding shower is really just a pipe bent at right angels, you might think. It’s so much more though. Belying its minimal, geometric shape, the FS mimics rainfall; standing underneath it is like being caught in a heavy downpour, only a bit warmer and you can of course turn it off when you’ve had enough.
Patricia Urquiola / Agape
There's nowhere like the bath for a good wallow in nostalgia. And there's no contemporary bath quite so nostalgic as Patricia Urquiola's 'Vieques' for Agape. Originally designed for a hotel, the bathtub was so successful that Agape has put it into commercial production.
Dick van Hoff / Royal Tichelaar Makkum
Netherlands-based ceramic company Makkum decided that the traditional tile stove was overdue for a rethink and, having seen the results by fun-loving functionalist Dick van Hoff, they were onto a hot idea. The wood burning stove was designed in collaboration with Welvetree, who knows about these things, and comes in a choice of black, green or white glaze.
Zaha Hadid / Triflow concepts
Many people have expressed a thirst for some of what Zaha’s on, and now she’s answered them, creating a tap for British brassware manufacturer Triflow. Her signature free flow design lends itself uncannily well to a faucet, playing on the movement of water and making for a particularly fluid, ergonomic function too. Showcasing the company’s patented technology, hot, cold and filtered drinking water are delivered through separate channels but arrive from the same spout; the former two are controlled by the joystick handle and the latter by a touch-sensitive button.
Air Design / Air Design Group
Given the levels of humidity you’d expect a Singaporean company to know a thing or two about good fans. Air Design clearly does, propelling a less is more aesthetic with this portable design. Enormous fans themselves of the German superstar, Air Design named this product after Dieter Rams and we’re confident he’d approve – the fan is as quiet on the eyes as it is on the ears.
DiTullio and Ragaini / ADhoc
This novel design may look like a garden hose but it is in fact a rather fetching and very practical bathroom heater. Its hose-like design means it can heat up any size of room by simply adjusting its length. It can either hung from a nail, wound around a steel bar and fixed to the wall in a spiral or spread across the floor according to where you want your heat.
Just because you've chosen shower over bath, doesn't mean your experience has to be any less decadent, hedonistic or for that matter, long. If you go for a shower by Cesana, a company who have been pre-occupied with the douche for the last 30 years, you don't have to sacrifice on any of these items. The new Plano enclosure with its glass walls takes away any feelings of the shower being claustrophobic or spatially challenged. While the slick shower set and seat mean it looks great too.
Ludovica and Roberto Palomba / Kos
€1550 excluding VAT
While this freestanding basin may not be the most showy or luxurious piece in the Palombo's portfolio, the sleek, solid shape and ingenuity of adding the towel rail into the faucet itself are all evidence that indicate the couple are at the top of their game.
Singihh Susilo Kartono /
Far from simply being beautiful to look at and touch, the Magno wooden radio is something of an environmental fairytale. Its creator, Singgih Susilo Kartono, hails from Central Java and came up with the design to kickstart a community-based eco regeneration in his home village. Based on traditional woodworking craft, he set about training his fellow villagers to create modular wooden casing for a series of radios, made from a mixture of sonekeling (dark wood) and pine (light wood). Every piece is handcarved from the two types of wood and for each tree that is felled another is planted in its place. The three-band radio can also be hooked up to your mp3 player, but the charm of the design itself is what really sings.
Taps aren't usually a crowd-puller at the fairs, but Kohler's new Karbon faucet drew floods of people to its stand at last year's ICFF. The American company took inspiration from lighting and construction equipment to create a tubular tap with three hinges. The result is a strangely beautiful, if robotic, creation that you can pull, push and direct your flow wherever you wish. Made from a superior strength lightweight carbon fibre, the tap also comes with a separate joystick valve operator, which makes the old-fashioned screw tap seem particularly archaic.
Wiel Arets / Alessi
This sleek machine is all power puree and performance, and exactly what you would expect from Dutch architect Wiel Arets' latest collaboration with Alessi. His semi-professional, 18/10 stainless steel appliance with anti-slip handle and thermoplastic resin wall support in white or black, is another reminder of how the world of architecture has much to offer contemporary interior design. That said, we think the real appeal of this super-sleek tool is its bayonet locking mechanism, graduated beaker in SAN and gratifyingly charged 600 watts, two-speed normal and turbo motor. Blending intellectual complexity with minimalist style has never been such fun.
Madelene Bjork /
Research concludes more of us are living alone, in studios or open plan flats, and eating ready meals like never before. Madelene Björk, a graduate in contemporary furniture design, believes her prototype sideboard holds the key to our brave new world by linking living room to kitchen with a unit of boxes, each with purpose. Her quirky hybrid comes in corian, American cherry, white lacquered wood, glass and metal and houses a microwave-oven cupboard, drawer for plates and cutlery, glass-door cabinet for dry food, box for sink and waste bin and shelving for glass. Metal legs give the kitchen unit a furniture feel, and a taste of things to come.
Lina Lundberg / Ariterm
Price awaiting confirmation
In a society living on borrowed resources, this surprisingly attractive, new generation pelllet-burning stove offers environmentally friendly, cost-efficient heating solutions with heaps of style. Designed by Stockholm-based, Lina Lundberg, a graduate of Kalmar College of Design, her carbon dioxide neutral stove thrives on wood or peat pellet by-products. Developed in 2005 as part of her graduate work, it has taken till now to perfect the piece and the Stora Rör is available later this year through Swedish heating specalist Ariterm. Requiring minimal maintenance, this state-of-the-art stove combines firelight with sizzling Scandinavian good looks in eight hot colours that include pink, turquoise, red, gold, bronze, grey and white.
Tej Chauhan / ChauhanStudio
You'd expect a former senior industrial designer at Nokia to know a thing or two about good phone design and if ChauhanStudio's Colombo range is anything to go by, Tej Chauhan certainly does. The ergonomic shape of the Colombo Two cordless phone is instantly appealing in a retro futuristic kind of way. But more than a mere aesthetic pleasantry, ChauhanStudio's intention is to re-establish the classic receiver relationship between earpiece and mouthpiece in a way that prioritises comfort. Available in black, white and 'special orange' it's nice to see that good design is being applied to the humble home phone and not just the mobile market.
We thought it only fair to throw open the doors to The W* House and share with you our wealth of experience in the design world. From cutlery to cupboards, pots to plumbing, The W* House features our favourite pieces of design from around the globe, room by room. We'll update them every time we find something new we like, building the collection into an archive for as long as the pieces are for sale. Practicality isn't often a buzzword at the Wallpaper* HQ, but when it comes to sharing our finds we wanted to keep things simple, letting you furnish your house the Wallpaper* way, with the click of a mouse.