#54 - bathroom delights

Your Bathroom Center Stage: Preparing for a New Age

Boffi's b14 by designer Norbert Wangen (2008). Photo by Tommaso Sartori.

Bathrooms have always been places to take a break; whether from noisome colleagues or quarrelsome spouses. Now thanks to luxurious new materials and new designs, lavatories have become veritable sanctuaries with more square footage than in the past.

What I am seeing is more of an emphasis on an inclusive and larger master bath that is part of the overall aesthetic of the master bedroom,” says Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan, president of the New York City-based luxury real estate firm Stribling & Associates LTD. “I am also seeing more apartments in New York with two master bathrooms for one bedroom.”  

Stribling-Kivlan also says that bathtubs are now de rigueur and in the high-end apartments she sells, bathtubs by Waterworks and Kohls predominate. She, herself favors the large Freestanding Reverse Oval bathtub by Waterworks that she says provides an escape from New York City’s frenzied pace and is like crawling into a “cocoon.”

Bathrooms also are becoming incorporated into the actual master bedroom through the use of sliding doors and glass walls.

Creating a large space is important,” says Giacomo Magnanelli, project manager for Boffi’s Soho store in New York City. “Clients gravitate towards open floor plans. People don’t want to feel like the bathroom is enclosed.”

The emphasis on openness also is found in the trend towards streamlined bathrooms with linear drains and showers that are not cut off from the rest of the bathroom with walls or glass. Magnanelli says that the double vanity also is passé and is being replaced by big countertops that can accommodate two people at a time. “The washbasin is now almost as wide as the vanity,” he says.

At the very high end of the market, many bathroom fixtures are custom made as is the case with those at the New York City’s new megadevelopment Hudson Yards, where architect Andre Kikoski designed everything from the medicine cabinet to vanities that include wood in their manufacture.

Watch this video to learn more about the Hudson Yards project.

Kikoski designed One Decorative Collection for KALLISTA. Courtesy of the designer.

Kikoski designed One Decorative Collection for KALLISTA. Courtesy of the designer.

One of the only bathroom fixtures from the development that is commercially available are the faucet handles, which Kikoski designed One Decorative Collection for KALLISTA. These faucet handles come embedded with different stones including the translucent Oro Cristallo, the same stone found in the apartment building’s lobby.

These glowing backlight stones give a pop to the lobby,” says Kikoski and “that same stone is set like jewelry in the faucet handle.”

Kikoski designed One Decorative Collection for KALLISTA

Kikoski designed One Decorative Collection for KALLISTA. Courtesy of the designer.

Bathroom fixtures are getting more luxurious. The stunning Boffi monolith washbasin by Piero Lissoni, carved from Emperador marble, which is available by special order, retails for up for up to $50,000. The company also has launched commercially available bathtubs and vanities made from new materials such as Cristaplant, a hundred percent recyclable material which looks like Corian but which is applied in an injection mold to achieve more creative shapes.  

Left: Collection by Piero Lissoni; Right: Cristalplant® bathtub FAROE. Courtesy of Boffi.

Left: Collection by Piero Lissoni; Right: Cristalplant® bathtub FAROE. Courtesy of Boffi.

Boffi also offers a series of metallic finishes in different colors manufactured by De Castelli. The metal is washed with chemicals which gives them a washed ethereal appearance.

There are always two or three colors out there—white, wood whether veneer or solid,” says Magnanelli from Boffi, “We wanted to bring a new type of finish.”

Courtesy of Boffi

“We wanted to bring a new type of finish.” Courtesy of Boffi

The new emphasis on the bathroom is very much oriented towards human wellness, a concept that is transforming the world of design.

Bathrooms are where you prepare yourself every day, says Kikoski, “And where you wind yourself down at night. They are tremendously important for the landscape where we live, and they have an importance that greatly outweighs the square footage.”


About the Author

Alex Ulam is a freelance journalist and design critic based in New York.

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