In partnership with VitrA (opens in new tab)
Tom Dixon turned to both sanitary history and a dependable future for inspiration when designing his new bathroom collection for VitrA. ‘We looked at Victorian roll-top baths and church fonts,’ says Dixon. ‘Things that worked well but were also very evidently long- lasting.’
With the ‘Liquid’ bathroom range, VitrA and Dixon were striving to achieve what the designer terms ‘an expressive minimalism – a very visible but modern functionality and a reduction in visual noise’. Ergo, exaggerated curves, forms and silhouettes, nodding to pop art sculptures by Jeff Koons and acknowledging Barbara Hepworth’s geometry of soft forms and rounded marble, adding personality and a contemporary sense of solidity.
‘I like the feeling of permanence in Victorian bathrooms, with their big chunky taps and fat tubes. It’s an aesthetic that’s closely connected to a whole tradition of British engineering and has influenced the development of the bathroom all over the world. If the items from the collection feel a bit like a comic-book representation of the artefact, I think that's probably a good thing,’ says Dixon. ‘There's something fun about a soft, fat edge.’
From the outset, it was important to Dixon that he create a fully comprehensive range encompassing all elements of the bathroom – sanitaryware, furniture, taps, tiles, shower systems, and accessories – designed to work together or as stand-alone pieces. It was also key that the VitrA pieces would combine and contrast with Dixon’s own, existing product ecosystem.
Extending sculptural ceramics beyond the traditional realms of basins and sanitaryware, the collection includes the unusual feature of a rotund, moulded ceramic stool – for use in the shower or anywhere else in the home. ‘The stool seemed to be the kind of overlapping item – it's an iconic design but also it gives the option to sit comfortably in the bathroom.’
Practical and slab-like ceramic countertops and shelves are an integral part of the ‘Liquid’ language, while the soft-edged aesthetic also forms an expressive frame for an obround-shaped mirror with inbuilt lighting. Basins are Dixon’s obround-shaped interpretation of the classic butler sink or, as with the cylindrical high-bowl types, a reimagining of baptismal fonts.
Countertop options are designed to rest on the collection’s ultra-practical ceramic slab, and wall-hung variants can be paired with a ceramic pedestal. A statement, monobloc basin, moulded as a single piece of ceramic, is designed for use with wall or floor-mounted taps. The toilet-roll holder – sculptural, playful, chromium – makes reference to Claes Oldenburg.
VitrA and Tom Dixon share a vision for creating innovative and original designs that retain their appeal over the years; ‘Contemporary without being of the moment,’ states Dixon. Bucking the current trend for slender, hyper-modern and highly technical, minimal designs, Dixon chose the counterpoint. The ‘Liquid’ collection is stripped back but sturdy, curvy, strong and durable. Smooth surfaces are easy to clean, while soft, rounded edges ensure a safe bathroom environment. Taps, levers and shower faucets are operated intuitively with simple, time-honoured, mechanical controls. ‘I wanted the collection to look like a kid’s sketch of a bathroom basin or a tap,’ says Dixon, ‘displaying a clear logic and simplicity in looks and usage.’
While the ceramics are offered only in white, the range combines different materials, including fluted glass and metal mesh. Taps and showers are available in chrome or for contrast, a new gloss black finish that is atypical in modern bathrooms. The range also includes distinctive wall tiles, available in five designs and with colour options of white, black, grey, sage green and ecru. The tile designs nod to ripples in the water and feature patterns inspired by the classic U-bend, embossed dots and waves that can be creatively configured.
The products can be combined to create different styles to suit domestic and public usage – including in offices, restaurants and hotels – offering customers the opportunity to personalise the bathroom space, and to choose from products including a urinal, a bidet and a touch-free tap.
Dixon joins designers including Ross Lovegrove, Sebastian Conran, Arik Levy, Terri Pecora and Claudio Bellini, each of whom has collaborated closely with VitrA’s in-house team to create bathrooms that reflect their own vision, style and luxury.
vitra.co.uk/explore/liquid (opens in new tab)
Samsung’s Galaxy S23 and Book3 expand its ecosystem with speed and sophistication
Samsung’s new Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy Book3 Ultra are designed to deliver a premium computing experience
By Jonathan Bell • Published
Design, air filtration and sustainability meet in the ‘Air’ lamp
‘Air as design inspiration’: the ‘Air’ lamp by Adam D Tihany and Contardi puts ecological issues at the forefront
By Hannah Silver • Published
Bizzarrini Giotto is a future-statement supercar from a reborn brand
Representing the apex of Italian automotive design, the proposed Bizzarrini Giotto blends heritage with dramatic style
By Jonathan Bell • Published
Kohler steps into wellness with Sprig, for a mood-boosting bathroom experience
Design brand Kohler turns to wellness with Sprig, a new branch of the company introducing botanical water infusion to the home
By Martha Elliott • Published
Experiencing Transcendence with Kohler at Design Miami 2022
Kohler’s take on the hammam by Nada Debs offered sustainability, heritage hues and a moment of spiritual calm at Design Miami 2022
By Simon Mills • Published
‘Wellbeing transcends all culture’: Kohler and Nada Debs unveil hammam-inspired installation at Design Miami 2022
Design Miami 2022: Nada Debs created a hammam-inspired installation in collaboration with the Kohler WasteLAB team, using materials from landfill and Kohler's waste flow
By Maria Sobrino • Last updated
Kohler’s Anthem collection offers an immersive bathroom experience
Intuitive, powerful and precise, the Anthem series by Kohler is the beginning of a bathroom revolution
By Rosa Bertoli • Published