On average, we spend up to three years of our lives in bathrooms. Which makes it all the more important to have beautiful bathrooms to pamper ourselves in. And recently, bathroom design has undergone something of a revolution, incorporating high-quality fixtures and furnishings, and an exciting range of spa elements. From the age of functional bathrooms, we have moved into the era of true temples to wellbeing.
But bathrooms haven’t always been quite so luxurious. In Germany, it wasn’t really until the second half of the 20th century that new houses and apartments got their own, separate bathrooms. Gone were the days of bathtubs in kitchens and trips to public bathhouses. To earlier generations, a home with a separate bathroom was a real luxury.
In East Germany, it wasn’t until the 1980s that people started to expect Wilhelminian-style apartments to have their own toilets, let alone bathtubs. And for those lucky enough to live in one of the GDR’s prefabricated Plattenbau apartment blocks, a bathroom was something to feel really happy about, even if the standard bathroom only measured 3.43 square meters.
To truly appreciate the sublime aesthetic balance of modern bathroom design, you need look no further than the bathroom in this refurbished factory loft on Greifswalder Straße in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg. Architect Jochen Klein, who worked with Daniel Libeskind, has earned plaudits for the unique flair radiating from the apartments’ brick walls, soaring ceilings and sweeping door and window arches. He also takes the credit for the singular bathroom design.
There is a long list of sublime design elements in the bathrooms on Greifwalder Strasse, including premium bathroom ceramics from Catalano, all of which are designed and manufactured exclusively in Italy. In the master bathrooms, freestanding stone resin bathtubs from Badeloft perfectly complement the apartments’ urban loft charm of the apartments.
Washbasins made of glass fiber reinforced concrete further emphasize the rough industrial allure. In perfect contrast, glass mosaics from the Italian brand Bisazza, one of the top luxury brands in the design sector and the leading producer of glass mosaic decoration, have been used to create colorful highlights in almost all of the bathrooms, primarily coming into play in bathroom niches. The vibrant mosaic tiles are combined with either concrete gray or anthracite Marazzi tiles, also “Made in Italy,” or Megaplan cast floors. Some brickwork arches remain visible, creating exciting contrasts with the colored mosaic stones. For the ultimate in comfort, each bathroom also boasts room-high mirrors, floor-level showers, underfloor heating and towel radiators. The masterful lighting design makes the most of indirect lighting and integrated ceiling spots, rounding off the bathrooms to a tee.
Ultimately, every bathroom in Greifswalder Strasse is unique and no two look the same. Above all, there are mosaics in different colors in every bathroom, either in vibrant shades of red or in white, black and green/blue/gray tones.
In 2019, color is a conscious element in bathroom design: Strong, colorful contrasts are totally in vogue this year. At the same time, gray and brown shades remain hugely popular. Whatever the color scheme, it can be effectively complemented by unusual materials such as leather, concrete and timelessly elegant marble.
Hygiene is also a major trend in contemporary bathroom design, leading to the increased use of antibacterial surfaces and flushless WCs. The world of technology is also revolutionizing bathroom design: smart mirrors can play music and screens in the shower can play the morning news. Smart WCs, controlled by app, are already at home in many bathrooms. Still, despite all this modernity, traditional elements never go out of fashion: tiles with Scandinavian patterns or Art Nouveau elements and lots of wood create a comforting vintage look, adding a particularly touch of homely flair. Unusual elements such as side showers or washstands with built-in make-up tables are also in fashion this year.
If we’ve piqued your interest in bathroom design through the ages, why not pay a visit to the Museum für Wasser, Bad und Design?