Classic but with a twist | by Antonia Solari
Article published in: "Ceramic, a trend-setting product"
Lozenge-shaped tiles, alternating black and white optical-style contrasts, curved sanitaryware lines and a return to gold or rose coloured taps: a vintage bathroom may include all these elements or just one – because all it takes is a single design detail to recreate the atmosphere of a past century.
With the elegance and sophistication of the various styles in vogue in the twentieth century, from the curves of 1920s Art Nouveau through to the pure geometries of architectural rationalism, the retro bathroom is becoming an increasingly popular choice for today’s interior design projects, especially in the context of historic building renovations.
When choosing a vintage style, designers and their clients can now opt for solutions that combine the geometries of the past with the latest technologies in terms of innovative finishes, water-saving taps and certified sustainable production processes. While having the appearance of a period project, a modern vintage-look bathroom is in fact the result of extensive research focused on efficiency, sustainability and optimisation of resources.
One especially popular trend is the faithful reinterpretation of bathrooms in vogue during the late 19th-century Belle Époque period, along with Art Nouveau elements or revisitations of more recent projects by great masters of design such as Gio Ponti. The aim of these projects is to infuse a sense of history into the domestic environment or create sophisticated hotel or café bathrooms while maintaining the contemporary ideal of the bathroom as a place of well-being and relaxation.
Another advantage of a vintage style bathroom is the fact that it represents a shift away from minimalism and the almost complete absence of accessories, instead leaving room for the multiplicity of design details and elements typical of a space devoted to personal care. Whether mirrors, hooks, shelves or handcrafted furniture, these accessories contribute to the decorative aspects of the project while ensuring the maximum functionality and convenience.
Here too, it is essential to seek a sense of overall harmony and consistency between the elements – it would be a mistake for example to combine Art Nouveau bathroom fittings with accessories inspired by other styles. Projects that revisit the fashions of the past require meticulous planning and a search for cross-cutting solutions, so it is just as well that there are plenty of options available!
01. Inspired by Italian rationalist architects such as Piero Bottoni, the Madre collection from Ceramica Flaminia aims to create a classic bathroom with new proportions rather than simply replicate the geometries of the past. www.ceramicaflaminia.it
02. Ideal Standard’s Tipo-Z washbasin, designed by Palomba Serafini Associati, represents a contemporary reinterpretation of the Zeta basin originally designed by Gio Ponti but now produced as a single piece of fine ceramic. With its slender, monolithic silhouette, it coordinates perfectly with other sanitaryware collections within a vintage-style bathroom. www.idealstandard.it
03. The Selnova collection from Geberit has been expanded with the introduction of the Square model, which revisits the company’s historic ceramic collection with more angular forms. The discreet design of the elements allows them to fit in with both retro and contemporary style bathrooms. www.geberit.it
04. The mirrors from Progetto Group’s Baroque Review line are made of fused and frosted glass and stand out for their curved and intricate frames. A variety of different finishes are available, including black and gold. www.laprogetto.it
05. Coloniale, Gioielli and Imperiale are three examples of classic-style taps from Fiore, available in both single-lever and traditional dual handle versions. These series also come in coloured finishes, from bronze to gold, pink gold and copper. www.fiore.it
06. The Evolution series designed by Terri Pecora for Simas harks back to the past while catering for contemporary needs, as in the case of the glossy black version. It is inspired by Art Nouveau style popular in the early 20th century, revisited with a rounded square design. www.simas.it
07. The Waldorf ceramic sanitaryware series from Kerasan features rounded corners and extra-thick edges and is inspired by the style in vogue in the early 20th century. The washbasin is available in a variety of sizes, including a vintage double bowl version. The elements can be mounted on chrome-plated metal structures that recall the design of the 1930s. www.kerasan.it
08. The Paestum series from Ceramica Globo reproposes classic motifs with elegant and innovative finishes. These solutions combine traditional lines with a fresh style and are available in numerous versions complete with a range of accessories. www.ceramicaglobo.com
09. Devon&Devon has looked to the 1950s for inspiration for its Rose collection, which stands out for its classic lines and white porcelain pedestal systems. The collection is complemented by a matching three-hole mixer set. www.devon-devon.com
10. The Hermitage tapware series from Vicario Armando pays homage to late 19th century art and the Belle Époque period. The mixer has a white control knob that contrasts with the stainless steel body of the tap. www.vicarioarmando.com