Curious Trends

04/09/2010

Designer bathroom fittings


Never since Duchamp’s curious offering to the art world have so many art inspired, design led lavatories been on display. Now on offer to everyone at a variety of locations and price points is everything from D&G’s gold stall to the George Bush urinal.

ShopCurious takes a look at some unique and unusual loos around the world and considers what might survive the passing fad: From the convenient hole in the ground to…the velvet lined lavatory pan.



Yes, even in Henry VIII’s day there were luxury loos. Tudor arrangements were less basic than popularly believed. In 1995 the lavatories of Henry VIII were recreated in Hampton Court Palace. Marianne Macdonald, a reporter for The Independent writes, “While the lower courtiers had to use the malodorous communal facilities of the Great House of Easement when they answered a call of nature, Henry VIII had the use of a specially designed box tucked away in a private room off the state bedchamber.

This ‘close-stool’ was lavishly covered in black velvet and its lid opened to reveal a padded and beribboned interior covered in the same material. It had a hole in the centre with a pewter bowl placed underneath…It was a privilege to be the Groom of the Stool with the duty of attending the King when he relieved himself, and the position often went to a high-ranking courtier.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Photograph courtesy of Dennis Figueiredo                                                                                                                          
 
Will we ever see a return to velvet lined lavs? Or would we prefer the sturdy old fashioned variety of ‘throne’ designed by Thomas Crapper?

Original vintage cisterns and WCs have already started making a comeback - with architectural salvage experts and antique dealers angling to make a pretty penny from any curiously unique lavatorial finds.

Meantime, others have created fantastical hand painted urinals, sometimes in the form of existing retro works of art, or in the image of globally recognised personalities. But will they catch on?









Purists have continued to stick to the clean lines of post-modernist Italian design – though occasionally with the addition of alarmingly high-tech hygiene features.



Whatever next? This curiously convenient commode for the 21st century perhaps?






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