Design Studio WS 06/07

liquid dreams


The element water is becoming increasingly precious and rare. In step with this, the bath, as well as bathing and washing itself, is developing completely new manifestations. Dealing with the liquid element is clearly becoming more conscious and the actions taken are increasingly taking on the character of rituals. Whereas in the past, water was poured over the head and body with the aid of a bucket, and water heated on the stove was filled into large-format tubs in order to immerse the body in it, the number of manifestations of seemingly predefined actions in the bathroom seems to be growing more than ever from day to day. Large-format ceiling panels allow tropical downpours to invade a space that beguiles the senses. Water whether warm, hot or cold is enriched with air, colored with artificial light and spins around its own axis before pouring over the bather’s body. The handling of the precious water experiences not least an extended measure of sensuality, the space characters necessary for this seem caught between magic and ritual. The times when the bathroom had to eke out an existence on a minimal surface as a purely functional wet room are, at least temporarily, a thing of the past. The bathroom is returning to the field of vision of the living environment, it is emerging from its shadowy existence and is gradually conquering the actual living area, regardless of whether it is one’s own apartment, the house or the temporary home in the sense of a hotel environment. The new requirements, the longer stay and not least the “new” atmosphere demand new design approaches, which are the task of the design exercise. The focus is on realizable visions that reposition the element of water in the living environment. Questions about the development or dissolution of boundaries to other areas of daily life are to be clarified as well as questions of materiality, form and design.


The task is to develop a concept for the problem at hand. Subsequently, the implementation of the design on a scale of 1:50 (plan representation, model construction) is to be provided. In addition, characteristic areas are to be depicted on a scale of 1:20.


If one considers the designs that have been created, one cannot help but realize that the visions surrounding bathing and washing in one’s own four walls or even outside the home have by no means been exhausted. A multitude of new paths, hitherto hardly trodden, are opened up here along the theme of water. The only unifying element appears to be the new experience of the liquid element. The processes surrounding the purification of the human body have already undergone manifold changes over the decades. Nevertheless, an end of this development history does not seem to have been reached at all, especially if one considers the partly cramped spatial conditions in many places and the tendency to handle water more sensitively. In addition, the actions in the bathroom are becoming increasingly ritualized and, at the same time, the demands on the individual stations of the “cleaning program” are becoming noticeably more demanding. Consequently, the equipment and mobile as well as immobile units have to perform more than just a few years ago. Sanitary equipment sometimes requires layering, stacking and twisting. This results in new types of variable bathroom situations, which may also offer necessary free space within a limited spatial offer. The bath thus inevitably becomes a play device and consequently opens the door to a thoroughly fun-oriented approach to the entire subject matter. One in which all the senses are specifically involved in the bathing experience. For the designer, it thus becomes a task to consider the space provided for this purpose scenographically and to strategically consider action processes within the bath, as well as to outline potential events in advance, at least in rudimentary form. The present designs allow a few insights into this ritualized as well as space-economical bathing world. In doing so, they pursue a deliberate variety of different paths and each push open a new door to a far more comprehensive subject matter that will need to be explored in greater depth in the years to come.