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An Exhibition Spotlights Philippe Starck’s Place In The Bathroom

Waterdream: The Art of Bathroom Design traces the evolution of the lavatory from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day — with particular emphasis on one French designer.

In 2005, the bathroom-fixture manufacturer Axor issued a challenge to an esteemed trio of European designers: Dream up new ways of celebrating the beauty and transformative power of water in the bathroom without regard for production costs or marketing concerns. The resulting concepts by Jean-Marie Massaud, the Bouroullec brothers, and Patricia Urquiola are now on display as part Waterdream: The Art of Bathroom Design, an exhibition at the Museum of Design Atlanta that also touches on the evolution of the lav, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day.

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A visual timeline shows how the room once dedicated to hygienic and practical functions has become the site of luxurious pampering, epitomized by Philippe Starck’s sleek minimalist WCs, which offer a Calgon-esque escape from hectic modern life. According to the museum’s press release:

Visitors will learn how Philippe Starck in collaboration with manufacturers Duravit, Axor and Hoesch, revolutionized the bathroom in the early nineties when he transformed the entire bathroom from a small obscure room into a relaxing retreat drenched in natural light, warm materials and uncompromising modernity.

The show, sponsored by Axor, is on view until September 17 at the Museum of Design Atlanta.

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About the author

A former editor at such publications as WIRED, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Fast Company, Belinda Lanks has also written for The New York Times Magazine, The New York Observer, Interior Design, and ARTnews.

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