Spoon Fed


Azure - - SPOTLIGHT - WORDS _Erin Don­nelly PHO­TOGRAPHS _La­treille Pho­tog­ra­phy gates­suter.ca

En­gi­neered solid sur­fac­ing is a nat­u­ral choice for a bath­room. Its seam­less, non-por­ous na­ture makes it ideal for form­ing coun­ter­tops and even shower rooms. But rarely is it con­sid­ered for its acous­tic po­ten­tial. A re­cent project by Van­cou­ver’s Gates-suter Ar­chi­tects proves it should be. The ar­chi­tects were tasked with re­plac­ing a sea of tiny tiles and germ-catch­ing grout lines with new, easy-to-clean sur­faces in the mas­ter bath of a North Van­cou­ver home. But the ren­o­va­tion equally pri­or­i­tized an­other man­date: to re­shape the acous­tics. The room shares a wall with the bath and bed­room used by the clients’ teenage daugh­ter, and any sound on either side trans­ferred to the other. “You could hear ev­ery­thing be­tween the two spa­ces,” says part­ner Joanne Gates. ”Es­pe­cially when the daugh­ter had friends over, con­ver­sa­tions could be clearly heard through the wall.” Af­ter vis­it­ing a slew of tile show­rooms in search of a ma­te­rial that would both min­i­mize joints and dampen sound, Gates came up empty-handed and started to ex­plore the idea of shap­ing Co­rian. “Un­like tile or other solid-sur­face op­tions, Co­rian ac­tu­ally does have some give to it, and in talk­ing to [lo­cal fab­ri­ca­tor] Paragon Sur­fac­ing, we started look­ing at shap­ing the sur­face to re­ally dif­fuse sound.” A round bump, moulded into the wall’s sur­face, was cho­sen for its abil­ity to push sound in all direc­tions. “We were look­ing for vis­ual calm­ness, so it was im­por­tant that the ‘bumps’ op­er­ate as a tex­tu­ral field,” ex­plains Gates. Af­ter much de­lib­er­a­tion on how to shape the stag­gered pat­tern, Paragon sug­gested a unique so­lu­tion: metal soup la­dles. “They were ex­actly the right size, roughly three inches’ in di­am­e­ter. Paragon cut the han­dles off them and at­tached them to a ply­wood form.” Each of the 16 be­spoke pan­els used on the walls and ceil­ing is iden­ti­cal, made with that same mould, the repet­i­tive­ness con­tribut­ing to an over­all tran­quil­ity. Paired with a mass vinyl bar­rier and a rock wool acous­tic in­su­la­tion back layer, the pan­els are not only acous­ti­cally ef­fec­tive, but of­fer an un­ex­pected and change­able in­trigue in what could have been a very stark white space: The ex­ist­ing large, wood-framed win­dow af­fords a view to the house’s forested site, and the re­flec­tive na­ture of the white Co­rian, even as it pushes sound out, draws the green­ery into the room. While the tub and faucets from the orig­i­nal space re­main, new round Co­rian sinks are ther­mo­formed into the ½-inch-thick coun­ter­top, evok­ing a “neg­a­tive bump.” Round elec­tri­cal out­lets from Bocci fur­ther com­ple­ment the tex­tu­ral pat­tern, and the toi­let room is hid­den be­hind one of the textured Co­rian pan­els, help­ing to main­tain the sleek aes­thetic.

TOP AND LEFT: For vis­ual co­he­sion, the cir­cu­lar mo­tif was car­ried over to the ac­ces­sories, sinks and Bocci elec­tri­cal out­lets along­side the mir­rored cab­i­nets. OP­PO­SITE: Cus­tom cab­i­nets are fit­ted with hard­ware by Cantu. The faucets and free­stand­ing tub are from Blu Bath­works.

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