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.

Home & Decor (Singapore) - - Contents -

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.

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