The bathroom in a dialogue of cultures
Japan 2008. A country with a deep-rooted bathing culture, which stems not least from the country’s hot springs: the source of inspiration for the fifth AquaTektur symposium.
At the invitation of Axor, the designer brand of Hansgrohe SE, eleven renowned architects from Japan, Singapore and Europe met on a Japanese island to discuss new solutions to meet people’s bathroom needs. The intensive discussions about different water cultures and regionally differing traditions encouraged the workshop participants to develop new ideas on bathroom architecture. The AquaTektur event series is an Axor initiative that aims to promote forward thinking on bathrooms and create new solutions together with creative minds from around the world.
Multi-functionality: a focus on the bathroom
The future visions of the group of predominantly European architects extended far beyond the usual bathroom architecture designs. How can we overcome the spatial restrictions of the typical bathroom? With a room capsule attached to the facade? Sometimes it is a winter garden, sometimes a bathroom – and as multi-functional as the module sketched by another architect, which uses high-tech sensual weather experiences to add a touch of magic to showering and bathing... The greatest possible flowing transition between living and bathing was the focus of other designs, which proposed variable bathroom environments within the home or incorporated the bathroom into the living room.
Natural experiences, simplicity, tranquillity
The connection with nature, the outside world and our original experiences of water repeatedly presented itself as a key requirement to be met by the bathroom of the future. Concepts such as the “nomadic” bathroom for on the go or a semi-transparent bathroom cube with views of the outside world were therefore developed. A reduction to the basics, embodied in a ubiquitous “flowing” bathroom as a place for spiritual contemplation belonged to this way of thinking.
Dialogue of cultures and regional values
“For Axor, AquaTektur represents fundamental architectural research in the best sense. After all, the process of developing bathrooms is one that continually requires new concepts and solutions”, stated Philippe Grohe, Head of the Axor brand. The intercultural dialogue at the AquaTektur workshops continually identifies regional values that play an important role in the bathroom as a place of great intimacy and a feel-good room.
AquaTektur 5: the participants
Kalin Cakov, cakov-makara s.r.o., Bratislava
Felix Robbins, Make, London
Markus Sporer, Benthem Crouwel, Aachen/Amsterdam
Jacek Syropolski, APA Kurylowicz & Associates, Warsaw
Francisco Villeda, JDS – Julien de Smedt Architects, Copenhagen
Kazuhiro Kojima, CAt Coelacanth and Associates, Tokyo
Kazuko Akamatsu, CAt Coelacanth and Associates, Tokyo
Taira Nishizawa, Taira Nishizawa Architects, Tokyo
Takaharu Tezuka, Tezuka Architects, Tokyo
Wong Mun Summ, WOHA, Singapore
Erwin Viray, Singapore