GAME OF THRONES
Si Jianxin, homegrown designer and co- founder of WYNK Collaborative, talks about the evolution of the bathroom space and why it deserves as much thought in its design as the living room.
Si Jianxin, homegrown designer and co-founder of WYNK Collaborative, talks about the evolution of the bathroom space.
In Singapore, the bathroom was once a part of the house so profane that it was often delegated to a stand-alone shack or an outhouse. However, space constraints meant that the bathroom had to be integrated within one’s home, located along the building’s perimeter so the space could be naturally ventilated.
In the past, when houses usually accommodated larger families, the shower and the WC were conceived as separate spaces so that both could be used concurrently. Yet as the smaller nuclear family unit became the norm, and views on privacy changed, it became more commonplace to have both the shower and WC together. In more luxurious living spaces, each bedroom may also have its own dedicated bathroom. The separation of the bathroom into wet and dry areas means the space itself appears less closed up, becoming a visual extension of the room its connected to. Previously situated in a corner, the sink is now usually designed as part of the vanity counter. For the wellbeing of the home’s occupants, the introduction of water seals within floor traps and sanitary fittings restricted foul smells and vermin from entering.
Fittings such as taps and showerheads were commonly manufactured in copper back then for its malleability, but nowadays, with advances in material technology, they are now available in a variety of finishes (from the standard stainless steel to different
colours, textures and metal sheens). Some materials – such as wood and porous marble deemed unsuitable for use in wet areas – can now be replicated and produced in porcelain tile formats. Aside from the designs, the tiles can also be produced in impressive slab-like sizes to minimise the amount of grout lines in between.
Meanwhile in Japan, inventions like the Toto bidet toilet seat enable small bathrooms to be big on functionality, while also being environmentally friendly. This then gave rise to many permutations of such bathroom styles.
The sleek hotel-esque look may be the current ideal bathroom aesthetic, but the Internet has allowed people to express their tastes in a variety of designs. The bathroom – segregated from the rest of the house – has now become a space where experimentation with finishes usually take place.
For example, an apartment with a minimalistic palette may have pops of colour and details, which are deemed too strong for larger wall surfaces, in its bathroom.
Ultimately, a space where you refresh yourself should also be a space that stimulates and invigorates your senses. Given the amount of time spent every day in this room, and the greater emphasis on the quality of life amid shrinking apartment sizes, it’s natural that the humble bathroom has evolved to become a sanctuary that you can step into and seek refuge from reality.