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.
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.