Clerkenwell is known for its bathroom showrooms. And, conveniently, they are all within a five-minute walk from each other.
So, Irina and I popped in to see the latest bathroom launches while wandering around Clerkenwell Design Week 2023 – make sure to check out Irina’s pick of the latest trends.
While set in the heart of the design and architectural community, most bathroom showrooms are open to the public. And for Clerkenwell Design Week, they throw the doors for everyone to come and see the latest products and offer you a chance to talk to the experts.
With my phone camera filled-to-the-brim, endless cups of coffee, and 15,000 steps later, here are the latest bathroom launches…
Designed to be simple
First on my to do list, I attended Hansgrohe’s Water Studio for an exciting product launch. Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, the dynamic design duo behind Barber Osgerby, have collaborated with Bette to launch a new bath and basin. Made from Bette’s glazed titanium steel, the basin has a minimalist design that can be installed as a countertop or pedestal, while the bath is a modern interpretation of the classic rolltop.
The pair also worked on the new Axor One update. And the beauty of the new Bette sanitaryware and the Axor brassware is in their simplicity. Their designs are pared-back but the complexity is hidden, as designer Edward explained: “We were doing a lot of work to consolidate the technology and the complexity behind the wall to make a simple object.”
I liked all the little details and how the designers used standard shapes to create the new solutions. For example, the sink features a sleek and practical cone shape. Jay uses a lot of simple forms because that’s what he was taught in college. “We have always been obsessed with geometry,” he says. “We were taught to draw by hand, and before digital drawing, we used compasses and rulers. So, using those basic shapes has been deeply etched into our minds and work to this day.”
I also spotted lots of compact bathroom products. I was interested to see how the different brands approached this trend. Some saw it as a result of the rise of urban living, while others thought it was an excellent way to raise awareness for sustainability in the bathroom.
VitrA was showing its latest ArchiPlan compact basin range. The narrow basin can fit into smaller spaces such as en-suites or cloakrooms, and the tap is mounted at the side of the basin rather than the back. However, after chatting to a few experts at VitrA, I discovered the range can also be used in larger bathrooms as the basin comes in four formats. Just because it was designed to be compact, doesn’t mean it has to be restricted to small spaces.
I spotted another compact bathroom range at Rak Ceramics‘ showroom. The Petit range, launched last year, is perfect for small yet stylish spaces. And for this year’s show they paired the basin with stunning slab sheets in bold and colourful patterns, which made the simple design really pop.
All in the details
After many years of visiting bathroom showrooms – this was my fourth Clerkenwell Design Week – I realised that I notice the small details more than the big things.
One feature that both Irina and I loved was the textured brassware. The tap collections by Gessi really stood out as they have such simple faucet shapes but are elevated by textures.
Another detail that I really liked was the Ceratherm shower set in Ideal Standard‘s showroom. Having a built-in shelf in the shower system helps you make the most of your space while keeping the essentials on hand.
A stand-out display in Ideal Standard’s showroom was the Solos collection created by designers Ludovica + Roberto Palomba. The minimalist solutions looked amazing in the window with the sun shining in.
To see more from Clerkenwell Design Week 2023, check out Irina’s pick of her favourite launches and innovations
Finally, if you’ve been active on social media in the last couple of weeks, you’ll have spotted the Wes Anderson cinematic trend. So, what better time to try it myself than trailing around the bathroom showrooms at Clerkenwell Design Week 2023? Enjoy!