The evolution of the bathroom is in the dialogue with the body. From a functional place to a place designed around pleasure

Psychologist Esther Perel, who has dealt far and wide with body and senses, says that sooner or later culture and thought meet the body. As if to say that our physicality is the indispensable verification of any idea we may have of the world. The body claims a primacy over the mind, over projects, over styles. Designing a bathroom or its individual components is challenging, because any typological or decorative invention collides with the gestures of care and intimacy, for oneself and for others.

We have seen these spaces in the house increasingly claim to be something different. Bathroom yes, but also spa. Bathroom, but also beauty center, therapeutic space, place of the senses, thermal fountain, domestic waterfall. Many things, perhaps too many. However, typological innovation of the bathroom tout court is rare. “The role of design is limited until we can tell ourselves what we want to do with our bodies” comments Odoardo Fioravanti. “I would like to design spaces that respond to desires. But it is still difficult to talk about the body, desire and well-being understood as pleasure. Perhaps in Nordic cultures the issue is more resolved. A small cultural step is still missing here”.

Odoardo Fioravanti reflects on a type of product which, in order to be solved, must authentically adhere to what inhabits people's minds. “It is a difficult subject that needs meaningful work. In the rest of the house an evolution has taken place that speaks of style, opportunities as well as functions. People have ideas about how they want to inhabit spaces, what they want to do and how they want to move. The bathroom is still in the hands of somewhat rigid technicalities, lacking that cultural change of pace that makes one aware of one's desires ". And talking about desire is always complicated. “But it is important. I would like to design a bathroom that meets desire, a place closer to an idea of pleasure than of function”.

However, the ideal set is in the hands of the architects, who in the mediation between hydraulic limits, desires and pleasure often choose the path of irony and surprise. The results are interesting, because in the irony of a solution there is also the possibility of overcoming boundaries dictated by embarrassment and shame. Beyond the free standing bathtubs in the bedrooms or the bathrooms with transparent walls facing the thirtieth floor of a skyscraper, there is the most refined exploration of spatial boundaries and vaguely provocative proximity. To make everything less serious and less complicated, perhaps. And to take advantage of space in a rational way: sometimes a bathroom is truly a private spa. Others must simply be the intelligent re-edition of the corner where children take refuge when they can't take it anymore.

Returning to more concrete speeches, in these days of INTERNI Designer's Week 2021 there are of course some news.

Cristina Rubinetterie presents Foil, by Marco Pisati. It is a single-lever series that revisits the classic cylindrical type. The shapes are slender thanks to the work on the curves and thicknesses of the profiles. The finishes are countless: from chrome to black, from PVD rose gold to yellow gold, up to black chrome. The detail of the joint between the control lever and the body is beautiful, inspired by the nautical appendages that allow sailing boats to navigate raised from the surface.

Flaminia launches the new series of Fluo washbasins and suspended sanitary ware, designed by Niccolò Adduini. The project fits into the groove of a bathroom defined by organic shapes. The texture and simplicity of the curves contribute to the idea of a space inhabited by water and its ability to smooth and soften surfaces.