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Jonathan Adler / Kohler
Manufactured in cast iron that can be enameled in dozens of colours, the 'Tides' has an undulating rim that dips slightly lower in the front for access and a basin that curves gently downward to contain splash.
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.
Sebastian Herkner / Studio Sebastian Herkner
On a visit to Spain, Sebastian Herkner came across a company that makes yarn from paper. Intrigued by the material's possibilities, he began incorporating it in his designs. 'Bask', Herkner's new line is a multi-tasker after our own heart. A slim metal grid provides these baskets with an unexpectedly strong frame around which the paper yarn is woven. The deep storage capacity make the baskets perfect for collecting laundry, while the lids double as either storage baskets for magazines and new towels, or when set over a stool, as a handy side-table.
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.
Neunzig Design / Boffi
Price on application
Cleanliness may sit comfortably next to godliness in many households, but we think there's much to be said for adding tidiness into the mix. And with the assistance of this sleek versatile shelf, there really is no better place to practise what we preach than in the bathroom. Designed by Barbara Funck and Rainer Weckenmann of Neunzig Design, the Skyline comprises two Corian trays, one shallow and one deep, stacked over a u-shaped frame -- perfect for holding soap, razors and the like, while keeping your bottles of assorted unguents, fresh hand towels and toiletries neatly together. To help clean your act even further, a floor mounted version in white metal is also available.
Big Game / Amorim / Materia
Price on application
Just because we're all grown up now doesn't mean we're not partial to a bit of fun in the bathtub. A few years ago, Corticeira Amorim, the world's largest cork producer, decided to team up with a group of designers to come up with novel uses for cork. Two years later, the results debuted at the recent Salone Internazionale del Mobile and we were immediately taken with this playful trio of toy boats by Swiss-based designers Big-Game. With just a few simple but elegantly designed plastic attachments, the base cork hulls convert into sail boat, submarine and dinghy. Light in shape, buoyant in spirit, these little boats are proof that it's never too late to have a second childhood.
Price on request
Big-Game's mirrors are created by silvering the windshields of cars - ideal for souping up a bathroom. To ensure the user's image isn't distorted, the Lausanne-based studio selects only flat mirrors from cars like the VW Beatle, the Citro ë n 2CV and the Renault 4L. Hopefully the reflection will look as good as the mirror.
'Morphing' bath tub / Kos
Designers Ludovica and Roberto Palomba have taken the archetypal bath and, as its name suggests, literally morphed it into something distinctly modern. Casting it out of Cristalplant - a recyclable and durable composite of natural minerals and a small dose of pure polyester and acrylic polymers - they have slimmed down the customary curves of classic bath tubs in favour of a more linear, but no less comfortable, form.
Joseph Forakis / Normann Copenhagen
Ballo takes its name from the Italian for 'dance'. Sound an unlikely one for a toilet brush? Well, yes. But this cheery Jozeph Forakis-designed version of that most unglamorous of bathroom accessories raises a smile as it wobbles and flexes on its rounded underside. Based on Forakis' early experiments with the concept of balance, the plastic brushes come in black, grey, green and blue.
Simon Lumb / Simon Lumb
Simon Lumb, a British designer based near Munich and best known for his monochrome ‘Target’ clock, brings us a little light relief in the form of this pendant lamp. It is perfect for bathrooms, as it sidesteps the daily danger of wet hands near light switches: to turn it on or off, simply pull on the pill-shaped shade. Originally shown in a capsule collection that includes red and white or clear and white versions, the lamp can now be configured with different colours and an optional diffuser ring (shown here).
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.
Roberto and Ludovica Palomba / Exteta
This folding wooden screen is so much more than something to throw your robe over – for starters, it’ll likely to outlive you and the rest of your home. It’s made from Red Cedar wood (the material used by Native Americans to make their totems), which is known not just for its extreme durability under all conditions but also for its natural mould and parasite-preventing properties.
Andre Schelbach / Yomei
Yomei's cabinet is quite a 1990s affair - all mirrored surfaces, matt black and white lacquer. Like all good bathroom cabinets, the light that comes on when you open it is bright but forgiving.
€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.
Roberto & Ludovica Palomba / Kos Italia
Powder-coated in a cool blue that complements our slate, enamel and natural wood preferences, there’s ample space to store all the things you don’t want cluttering up the side of the bath. The fact that it’s on castors means you can push it around the room as you like, from bath-side table to mirror-side caddy and, should you want it out of sight for a while, it’s compact enough to hide under a sink.
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.
John Pawson / When Objects Work
‘Gracious solutions for the tasks of everyday life’ is how Beatrice de Lafontaine describes the mission of When Objects Work, the company she launched in 2001. In the eight years since, she’s handpicked architects and designers alike to tackle the small things in life and make them better, or frequently in our opinion, close to perfect. She went back to one of her favourite designers John Pawson to redesign the soap dish with a sparklingly clean, black ebony result.
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.
Cecilie Manz /
"The clothes can be tossed casually or draped carefully depending on your temperament," Manz explains about her ash wood creation. The chaotic but artful arrangement of horizontal and vertical poles would make a nice alternative to the ladder rail in the bathroom.
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.
Anna Deplano / Nito
We appreciate any serious thought that goes into the long neglected category of bathroom accessories. Which is why we applaud Italian bathroom manufacturer Rapsel for creating its own spin-off company dedicated to the field. Nito launched a whole range of cute waterproof additions for your smallest room including hooks, trays, cups, towel rails and this beautiful mirrored cabinet by Italian designer Anna Deplano.
Mikko Laakonen / Covo
Vasu starts as an individual container complete with handles but can also be stacked up with others and attached to a wall, turning the whole thing into a rather stylish shelving system. Of course, the system can be used in any room, but with the white, black and green colours along with easy-to-wipe and hardwearing lacquered steel surfaces we thought they’d be perfect for the bathroom.
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.
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.