I once had a client who was a urologist. When we got to doing his bathroom, it seemed like an obvious idea to put in Plexiglas wall panels to house the bathroom plumbing. He loved it and felt right at home being able to see the inner machinations. Bathroom design is always fun to do because it's a small room with only a few basic requirements. Inspiration can be found all around us for pushing the envelope and creating thought-provoking design. Out of thin air, so to speak, what about designing an outdoor restroom facility for the public?
"Don't Miss a Sec"
This is such a beautifully elegant concept: it reflects everything and is practically invisible. Not exactly your typical Johnny On the Spot, but an architectural gem - actually an art piece originally displayed across from the very respectable Tate Britain in London. It's entitled "Don't Miss a Sec" because the artist, Monica Bonvicini, was playing with the idea that art opening attendees hated to miss out on any of the opening night excitement by having to use the restroom. By using one-way glass for a free-standing restroom, no one could see in, but the person inside could see out and not miss any of the event. Now THAT is thinking outside of the box!
"Don't Miss a Sec"
There is a lot more to this conceptual art piece than meets the eye. The artist took into consideration its historical location, which was a 19th century prison facility. Architect Jeremy Bentham proposed a wheel-like prison design that would allow the warden to watch the prisoners without them knowing that they were being watched. Then again, prisoners don't have any privacy in their cells today for their toilet functions, do they? It was never built, but Bentham's ideas of constant surveillance were fodder for Bonvicini's inspirations. The use of a stainless steel prison toilet and sink combo makes sense with this information; it's not just a stylish and practical solution. Furthermore, Bonvicini made this a perfectly functioning port-o-potty, but it apparently didn't get many takers!
Are you brave enough to step into this bathroom?
Here we have another example of brain twisting. The story going around was that it was a 10th floor apartment with a painted floor. Definitely good for a laugh, but again you have to be very brave. Actually, it is a manipulated photograph for a photo contest; not to say you can't photo-screen a print onto any floor, ceiling or wall to get the same effect. Since antiquity, various cultures have painted sky ceilings or murals to suspend belief that the flat surface is not what it appears to be. This idea just takes that concept a little bit further.
Renee Celeste Flanders
Just as Alice stepped into the looking glass, how about stepping in to a 3-dimensional painting? Have the bathroom be an extension of a work of art - the results will be magical! In this case, the inspiration for me came from the print of a vase of flowers. I suggested painting the walls "like the painting". I sketched the lines on the wall, took the color scheme from the print, made a few other rhymes, and "Voila"! The room never fails to evoke the "Wow" response from visitors.
Moral of this story: Bathrooms can be more than just pretty rooms.