Location: Near Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Client: Private client
Materials: Plaster, terrazzo, glass, copper, brass, porcelain, LED
Date of completion: November 2010
The project involved the renovation of a bathroom on the top floor of a
late 19th century house located near Amsterdam. The antique 100-year old
cast iron enamel clawfoot bath and original timber doors are the only
remaining elements from the existing bathroom. The brief specified a
contemporary design that would complement the historic character of the
Bathrooms are often neglected spaces in a house; the new design
intentionally took the opposite approach. The aim was to take away the
sterile character associated with most modern bathrooms to create a space
that literally came alive. Experiences of nature formed the inspiration:
the characteristics of water, the interaction of light and shadows, frost
and decay, taking into account the ageing of the space and the materials.
Ceiling, mirror and sink
The experience of water extends beyond the act of bathing. Sitting in the
bathtub looking up, the bather becomes entranced by a ceiling of
intersecting plasterwork circles, as if water were dripping upwards from
the bath. The water droplet is echoed in the mirror hanging above the
sink: entitled Narcisse, it is called after the mythological boy in love
with his own reflection. The mirror forms part of the Asylum Collection.
A Slow White wash-table was especially designed for this bathroom. Part of
Bo Reudler’s Slow White series, the hand made wash-table is composed of
curved branches gathered from the forest, coated in a layer of glossy
white paint. The copper sink is intended to show traces of time and usage.
The flow of water into a bathroom is normally hidden while being one of
the most important functional elements of the space. In this case, the
crooked copper pipework is proudly exposed with all functions derived
directly from the pipes. Therefore no tap fittings are necessary – as a
playful detail, the copper pipes end in a spout like a teapot allowing
good water flow. The valves are standard brass elements used for plumbing.
Playing with frost and condensation, the bathroom window (overlooking the
garden) features a pattern entitled Summer Frost. To provide privacy, the
sandblasted pattern begins dense at the bottom becoming more open at the
top. The scene – inspired by the structure of ice crystals – depicts
butterflies and dragonflies surrounding a landscape of ice flowers. By day
the pattern is reflected on the walls resembling sunlight filtered through
foliage, by night the scene is illuminated to become an abstract image.
Ceramic tiles with a floral relief compose the walls. At first sight, the
tiles seem cracked however upon closer inspection, the cracks grow, at the
sources of water, to become trees from which flowers bloom. The flowers
were created by inlaying particular reliefs with copper. Like the rest of
the copperwork, the flowers will age over time taking on a greenish tint.
Existing materials from the house like terrazzo and plaster are continued
into the space. The bathroom design was executed together with local
craftsmen who were keen to keep their traditional skills alive through
contemporary design. Porcelain fittings are a reminder of the attention
once devoted to the bathroom. The new design breathes new life back into a