Home: Bathing Beauties
In February, during Duravit’s biennial bash at the company’s Philippe Starck–designed headquarters in Hornberg, Germany, world-renowned designers and other guests enjoyed free-flowing Champagne and a performance by French illusionist Jean Garin. But it was the firm’s latest product lines for the bathroom—14 in all—that were the true showstoppers. This assemblage of fresh designs—Duravit’s largest and most diverse unveiling to date—comprised several all-new series, various updates to old favorites, and a host of immersive spa-type technologies.
If the terms high style and high tech apply to these items variously, then what ties the items together, says Duravit USA president Timothy Schroeder, is a common thread of wellness. "We may run the gamut from avant-garde to traditional," he says, "but the rule of integrating new innovations for an improved way of life applies universally to our products."
In the new Esplanade series—designed by Russian-born designer Sergei Tchoban, a first-time collaborator with Duravit—generous dimensions and voluptuous curves unite, creating Duravit’s most indulgent bathroom yet. Priced from $1,750 to $10,000 per piece, the designs come in either of two finishes: oak for a masculine feel, or "silk" (a white varnish) for an ethereal aesthetic. Leather pulls on floor-mounted basins and cabinets add a touch of warmth.
Italian designer Matteo Thun’s new Onto line, by contrast, is all about minimalism. Wall-mounted planks of natural wood serve as sleek counters atop ceramic washbasins. The streamlined look continues with wall-mounted drawers and cabinets, as well as freestanding bathtubs characterized by straight lines and sharp angles. Real wood finishes, rather than veneers, come in hues such as matte white, matte basalt, dark chestnut, and European oak, and are treated with oils and wax to prevent warping. Prices range from $500 to $2,500 per item.
Also available—or soon to be—are innovative technologies offering spalike experiences at home. Philippe Starck’s SensoWash, priced from $2,255, is a subtle take on the bidet, with all of the requisite attachments hidden beneath the toilet’s rim. A sleek automated remote control adjusts the volume and temperature of the water, the nozzle position, the dryer, and the seat temperature. Starck also designed St. Trop, a minimalist steam shower that will be available in 27 finishes when it hits the U.S. market next year. And forthcoming next year as well is Nahho, a sizable soaking tub that, with its extra-deep basin, adjustable neck rest, and optional Bluetooth-capable underwater speakers by Clark Synthesis, brings to the home bathroom the relaxation technique of floating.
The diversity of Duravit’s latest stylish and sophisticated offerings—all of which are available in an array of sizes, colors, and materials—is, according to Schroeder, simply a matter of the bathroom catching up with the volume of choices available elsewhere in the home. "We may launch an almost irresponsible number of products," he jokes. "But why wouldn’t you want to live as richly in your bathroom as you do in the rest of your home?"
Duravit, 212.686.0033, www.duravit.us