It was 1973 when Paolo and Roberto Sonino gave shape to an idea that would prove to be brilliant: publishing a specialized magazine to talk exclusively about the bathroom.
Then Bagno Oggi e Tomorrow was born and now, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, it is showing off.
The bathroom. Worship and culture. 1973-2023: 50 years of historyis the title of the exhibition hosted at the ADI Design Museum in Milan to tell an editorial adventure, but also the transformations of lifestyles and daily habits of Italian society.
In fact, it was only in the 1970s that design began to enter private bathrooms to functionally and beautifully furnish that room which until then was considered solely for service.
Its entry into apartments is very recent in the history of architecture and if the first bathrooms to appear date back to the mid-19th century, it took more than a hundred years to make the bathroom an integral part of interior design.
The study of the spaces, the choice of materials and coverings, as well as the sanitary fixtures and taps, up to the colors and the lights to illuminate them, make the bathroom an important room in domestic life, capable of telling a lot the personality of the inhabitants.
1973 was therefore a favorable moment to create a specialized periodical and so the two Soninos involved Oscar G. Colli to create issue zero of the magazineIl Bagno Oggi e Domanii, ready to be released at the beginning of 1974. Since then Colli has continued it uninterruptedly.
This story is told in an exhibition that has different levels of reading, first of all the graphic one.
The editorial project that answers the question how to describe the bathroom on paper, proposes stories of perspectives, ideas, taste, fashions and avant-gardes that consider the toilet area in its entirety.
«The magazine becomes an element of the system» explains Cristina Mandrini, curator with Oscar G. Colli of the exhibition, «first in a world that was taking shape thanks to visionary entrepreneurs who they saw the bathroom as a place that needed everything, from systems to beauty.
Then, as time passed, the reference targets were better defined and the magazine chose to follow the project innovation.
A project of the space available but also of the bathroom container which had to accommodate beautiful, designer things, but also values, the very current ones of eco-sustainability. Water, air and light function in the bathroom, resources to be protected, both in their domestic use and as the energy necessary to produce everything needed to furnish it.The bathroom is the room of well-being, both for the person and from an ethical and value point of view."
Toilets also play an important role in public places, where other values must also be considered, first and foremost that of inclusion.
The students of the IED Master in Interior Design worked on this theme, gathered in an international team under the guidance of the coordinator Giorgio Grandi and the teacher Paolo Bellisario. Their projects Roo-Me, Kaloo and BeYou, presented in the exhibition, speak of hybrid spaces where everyone's needs can be accommodated.
Three topics were covered: toilets inside a mall, in a modular open space such as an airport and in a nursery school.
«The idea was to design a bathroom capable of satisfying the needs of very different people, united by the need to have a private, but at the same time inclusive intimate space. We talk about genderless, but not only that: there are many differences, from the mother who needs to change the newborn to the disabled, for example.
The theme of the mall and the airport concerns the possibility of creating modular spaces, while that of the nursery school also has an educational purpose, from the use of water and its recycling, right down to the words that are used to define spaces and define oneself", continues the curator.
The project was born within the magazine and was then extended to the students who paid homage to it with the covers of their works, also presented in a video, displayed in the exhibition, which constitutes a dynamic rendering of their projects. Or a way to see how the bathroom of the future will work.
Present, past and future of the «most energy-intensive room in the house», as Mandrini defines it, are exhibited at the ADI Museum, in an exhibition that introduces a broader work, collected in the volume of the same name.
The bathroom. Worship and culture. 1973-2023: 50 years of history, ADI Design Museum, piazza Compasso d'Oro 1, Milan, open every day except Friday from 10.30am to 8pm. The exhibition can be visited until 20 November.