31 October 2009

We Interrupt This Blog...

...Well, hopefully, we won't interrupt it. For the next few days, while I'm on the road, I've entrusted my posts to Blogger autopilot—fingers crossed that it works. I'll catch up responding to comments upon my return.

30 October 2009

Future Shocking

The eerie lighting, the comely female poking eviscerated animals with a pronged instrument..surely a macabre Halloween ritual, circa 1943. But no! It is part of the kitchen of the future, as envisioned by H. Creston Doner for the Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass company. Given the corporate sponsor, the role of glass in the design is understandably emphasized; surely the public was amazed at the prospect of cooking tasty little carcasses inside what resembles nothing so much as a toppled fish tank.

Witchcraft, to be sure.

29 October 2009

Clean Sweep

The Emperor faucet is an uplifting, assertive composition of curves. Solid but not bulky, spirited but not silly, it's a pleasure to contemplate. fluidfaucets.com

28 October 2009

Autumn Leaving

A rather blustery day in the northeast, and the lawn has disappeared under a cloak of leaves, many of them from Japanese maples.

This pair of fixtures represents fall in the Miyabi collection, which comprises four hand-painted suites. Each depicts the pine, bamboo and plum trees—known as the 'three friends of winter' owing to their distinctive presence in the landscape at that time of year—in seasonal foliage. totousa.com

27 October 2009

Vertical Vitreous

In the spirit of BathroomBlogfest09, I'm pleased to offer this installation in China. And of china—ten thousand commodes were suspended on a wall 328 feet long and 16 feet high, then periodically flooded with water. Is it art or commerce? I'll leave that up to you, the beholders.

26 October 2009

A Noir Boudoir

Even if it weren't the week of All Hallow Even, I'd still be drawn to this dark, dramatic bath. The crown molding and the chandelier are incongruous accessories to the somber palette and massive tub.

On another note entirely, I'd like to call your attention to BathroomBlogfest09, where several folks with varied interests in the world of toilets and tubs are posting some far-ranging items. Follow the fest on its Facebook page and Twitter account.

23 October 2009

Supercharged Sink

Forty years after its 1968 introduction, this sink [the 'Fiesta' model from American Standard] looks insanely radical when compared to the legion of drawn-cornered, stainless steely basins that populate our kitchens today. With its array of accessories and mean green color, it would make quite a conversation piece—then as well as now. What thoughts does it inspire in you?

22 October 2009

Organic Expression

"The goal was to design something we can experience and understand with our senses; a poetic design full of feeling and joie de vivre," says Tom Schoenherr of Phoenix Design, speaking about the new PuraVida line of bathroom fittings. Solid in form yet delicate in line, the faucets have a striking soft geometry to them. A dual-finish version that combines white lacquer and chrome is due out next year. hansgrohe-usa.com

21 October 2009

Golden Globes

These gleaming pendants by Michael Anastassiades defy easy categorization. Such is the art of simplicity in design. michaelanastassiades.com

20 October 2009

Toeing the Waters

The seating alcove in the Utuwa tub gives the bather a comfortable perch from which to engage in pursuits better suited to dry-dock—such as reading—without the perils of splashing or slipping under the water.
[Letting my curiosity get the better of me, I looked for a definition or translation for utuwa. It is a word in the Pogolo language (spoken by an ethnic group in Tanzania) and means 'measure' or 'size'. And so it is.] spiritual-mode.com

19 October 2009

Rise and Shine

I'm a lark—the opposite of a night owl. For me, morning light is simultaneously soothing and invigorating. This linear bathroom, with its corridor of dawn-diffusing curtains, might take the edge off early wake-up calls even for those who are more at home in the wee hours. gregnatale.com

16 October 2009

On the Home Front

In the thick of World War II, appliance manufacturers funneled much of their material resources to the military cause. This graphic reminder of that fact, with a gun turret taking the place of a new stove, concluded with the promise that "When the guns are stilled, you can be sure that Norge...will bring you even greater satisfaction, greater convenience than you have enjoyed before." From the vantage point of 2009, it's a revelatory marketing message: Somewhat shocking in its imagery, yet sincere in the sentiment that achieving peace trumps acquiring the latest appliance.

15 October 2009


A gray, wet, raw day here in the northeast—ugh. A dollop of color and a sweep of shiny chrome isn't the perfect antidote, but these faucets, with their mod attitude, do brighten the spirits a bit. frattini.it

14 October 2009

It Is What It Is

The designers who were dealt this petite, problematic space recognized it would be far better to acknowledge its limits than attempt to disguise them. As a result, there's an atelier quality to the space that—for me, at least—is irresistible. mlinaric-henry-zervudachi.com

13 October 2009

Renewable Style

A few months ago, I started a gradual purge of the plastic items in my kitchen. Not to climb up on a soapbox here, but it has been a gratifying experience. This storage system, available with SieMatic's new S2 kitchen, features an elegant, eco-friendly detail: Wooden drawer organizers with china lids that can be labeled using a marker. siematic.com

12 October 2009

Hot Stuff

An induction cooking element built into the base of the Cooking Chef machine lets you prepare risotto, braise and cook stews, proof bread doughs—and the proverbial much more—right in the mixing bowl. Stirring speeds and temperature controls are automatic. Food processor, steamer and blender attachments make this rather amazing small appliance a true culinary powerhouse. kenwoodworld.com

09 October 2009

The Way It Was

What does it say about our domestic culture that we have gone from a freewheeling appliance palette of 50 colorways in 1956 to the triumvirate of white-black-stainless in 2009? Is it a sign of being a sadder but wiser society? Or do we now focus more on technology than appearance? KBCULTURE solicits your theories, thoughts and opinions.

08 October 2009

Hydro Hydra

A few years back, the Butterfly House was built in England; the conceit being the structure represented the lifecycle of its eponymous insect. While the house as a whole isn't my cup of tea, some fanciful details do amuse me. A shaving brush, nearly lost in the tangle of supply lines, soap vials and gooseneck clamps that surround the bathroom sink, seems a bit like a helpless fly caught in a spiderweb. chetwood.co.uk

07 October 2009

Watershed Design

I appreciate the way this sink sets priorities. Need a quick rinse or drink? Step to the right, please. More involved or time-consuming tasks are better served at the larger basin on the left. The central counter area is a shared territory. pibamarmi.it

06 October 2009

In a New Light

If Jules Verne and Thomas Edison collaborated on creating a pendant light, this might be the result. There's something about the form of the fixture that vaguely suggests a submersible vessel, while the double-decker lamps look like elements in a primitive electricity experiment. The design is consciously awkward, but perhaps that's the source of its appeal. aldobernardi.it

05 October 2009


I've always found the accepted concept of the bathroom limiting; the idea that all those critical bodily functions are to be performed in cubicle-like confines is a bit depressing. This design is more to my liking. Its sequence of spaces is more humane and the varying degrees of soft light is gentler both on the eyes and the soul. fougeron.com

02 October 2009

A Touching Story

Apparently in 1963, turning the handles of a faucet was a labor most terrible and unbecoming to the forward-thinking homemaker. To eradicate this scourge, Tappan created the Ultraflo plumbing system. Citing Popular Mechanics magazine, its panel of push-buttons delivered water without the tedious 'waiting...to reach the desired temperature [or] trial-and-error manipulation of the faucets.'

Thank goodness.

01 October 2009

Aesthetic Appeal

With a design hatched by Conran & Partners, the egg-like Aveo tub coddles bathers—the interior is shaped to support the back and neck. Having awkwardly bobbed and bubbled about in more grandly-scaled tubs, I can appreciate how the narrow dimensions of this bath foster a sense of tranquility. villeroy-boch.com