December 3, 2020

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Ahead of the curve: bathroom design embraces the circle

The strictly geometric circle is conquering the bathroom: no other element has influenced its design so much in recent years as the arc. From 45 to 360 degrees, anything goes – as long as it’s minimalist.

Luigi Colani, the inventor of bathroom collections, put it in a nutshell: “Why are there so many corners and edges in the bathroom? When we spend time there, we’re often naked and therefore vulnerable. So shouldn’t the bathroom be warm, soft and rounded?”

That’s precisely the question a growing number of bathroom planners are asking themselves – and why they’re increasingly using “soft” forms to equip new bathrooms. But curved shapes add something new to the bathroom at visual level too. Rounded forms for things like bathroom furniture or tubs make the room as a whole seem bigger, and round surfaces like mirrors or washbasins create the impression of open spaces.

The quadrant is the answer to the dictate of the right angle

The latest bathroom furniture illustrates the new enthusiasm for quadrants particularly clearly. Bathroom furniture with striking, rounded vertical edges and classically curved fronts creates a salon-like feel: among the highlights of burgbad’s new Lavo 2.0 collection, for instance, are a vanity unit like a dresser, elegant consoles and sideboards, big illuminated display cabinets and impressive highboards. Gently rounded furniture fronts harmonise with the oval of the mineral cast washbasin and illuminated mirror and give the bathroom a cosy character. The simplicity of the overall effect is the result of impressive manufacturing expertise – producing, painting and coating the rounded edges of the thermoformed fronts is particularly complex when they’re destined for use in the bathroom.

But bathroom furniture, which is a very dominant element of the overall design, isn’t the only product category where the design language of the arc is manifesting itself. The rounded look of soft-edge design is also showing up in mirrors, accessories, fittings, bathtubs and toilets.

Perfect, infinite, round: bathroom mirrors

Round mirrors and the bathroom are the new love story in bathroom design. Washbasin, furniture and mirror create a perfect symbiosis of form. True, creative users who prioritise harmony over functionality have to pay for this geometric aesthetic by accepting that they can’t have everything when it comes to storage space, lighting and smart technology. But those who are willing to make such compromises will be rewarded with all-round satisfaction and an aesthetically pleasing combination on what is probably the most important wall in the bathroom. Because the wall with the washbasin often marks the user’s “line of sight”, it serves as the main stage on which the design of the bathroom plays out. In combination with decorative tiles or even the patterned wallpapers that are trending right now, round mirrors create a tasteful eye-catcher. And combining several round mirrors, which can even be suspended from the ceiling in small groups, creates the impression of what’s known as a “salon-style hanging” – with the added bonus that the mirrors make the room seem bigger.

Visual highlights in the bathroom: a round tub and washbasin

A circular bathtub may well be the most spectacular statement of all in bathroom design. The form embodies the function and is the perfect starting point for a private spa. Because the circular freestanding tub isn’t made for pushing into a corner – it has to be the centre of attention. The circle is the most perfect and balanced form in geometry. It stands for harmony, infinity and oneness. It’s also the form Dominik Tesseraux chose for BettePond – as a reminder of the wooden tubs of yesteryear, which were likewise round.

Circular shapes are also very popular for countertop, inset and pedestal washbasins right now. Like little works of art, they sit on top of consoles or pillars and enhance the bathroom with the atmosphere of a cultural and inspirational haven.

Visual storytelling: accessories and decorative items echo the “round” theme

For bathroom planners and stylists, the idea of “roundness” is an inspiration for visual storytelling – and there’s no shortage of decorative elements and motifs for them to choose from. Soap dishes, towel holders, lighting, hanging shelves, framed wall shelves, toilet roll holders, racks, containers, trays, make-up mirrors and utensil holders can be used to echo the “round” theme and put the finishing touches to the permanently installed sanitaryware by providing additional functions and decorative extras.

Ahead of the curve – translating tradition into today

The strictly geometric form of the circle is a perfect fit with the tastes that shape the minimalist bathroom and adds a little more emotion than the usual boxy shapes. That’s all it takes to give the understated ambience a gentle push in the direction of the “warm minimalism” trend that is so popular again right now – regardless of whether that means Scandi chic with lots of wood, a more purist industrial style or a combination featuring a simple sideboard in matt dark blue or glossy black. Emphatically traditional style references are also very much on trend right now, although translated into a modern, understated design language that often relies on simplifying playful forms and reducing them to their basic geometry – with the circle leading the way. Brass or marble give the bathroom a classic look, but can also add a thoroughly modern touch when used in the form of a simple, circular towel holder suspended from the ceiling, a sit-on basin or side tables. And when it’s expressed in soft edges, oval forms, asymmetric curves and softly contoured cabinet fronts, the mid-century style can likewise turn the bathroom into a lifestyle space without looking old-fashioned. On the contrary: when it comes to bathroom design, traditional forms and styles look decidedly trendy when interpreted with a contemporary twist and translated into the clear-cut geometry of the circle.

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