The engineered quality and sturdy dependability of Victorian bathrooms inspired the new ‘Liquid’ bathroom range by VitrA and Tom Dixon. ‘I like the feeling of permanence in Victorian bathrooms, with their big chunky taps and fat tubes,’ says Dixon. ‘It’s an aesthetic that’s closely connected to a whole tradition of British engineering, which influenced the development of the bathroom.’
Like much of Dixon’s recent work, the new collection – sanitaryware, furniture, taps, tiles, shower systems, and accessories, all designed to either work together or as stand-alone pieces – is aligned with his increasing use of round-edged and bulbous forms. The designs for ‘Liquid’, he explains, are influenced by elements of pop art, such as the work of Claes Oldenburg, Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog, and Barbara Hepworth’s rounded, marble forms.
The all-round bathroom from Tom Dixon and VitrA
Aware of the current fashion for skinny and reductive bathroom designs, Dixon and VitrA decided to make a contrapuntal statement, incorporating fatter, softer, sculptural lines for ‘Liquid’ that are inherently more generous and stronger. The range’s smooth, curved pieces are easy to clean. Taps are engineered with simple controls, while soft edges ensure a safe bathroom environment.
For the all-white ceramic sanitaryware, Dixon used clay – readily available and extremely durable and sustainable – delighting in the material’s transformative versatility, ‘the way a bit of grey and greasy earth can transform into something so white, clean and shiny’.
While the overall design of ‘Liquid’ is stripped back, a style Dixon refers to as ‘expressive minimalism’, its functionality is simple and intuitive, so that users can instinctively understand how to operate the products. ‘I wanted the collection to look like a kid’s sketch of a bathroom basin or a tap,’ says Dixon, ‘displaying a clear logic and simplicity in looks and usage.’
The range also combines other materials, including fluted glass and metal mesh. Taps and showers are available in chrome or, for contrast, a new gloss black finish that is atypical for modern bathrooms. The collection also includes distinctive wall tiles, available in five designs and with colour options of white, black, grey, sage green and ecru. The tile designs reflect ripples in the water and patterns inspired by the classic U-bend used in plumbing, featuring embossed dots and waves that can be creatively configured.
The products within the range, among them a butler sink, a shower column with magnetic handshower and a touch-free tap, can be combined to suit different styles and purposes, such as private and public usage, offering customers the opportunity to personalise the bathroom space.
Taking advantage of VitrA’s extensive manufacturing, design and innovation capabilities, Dixon’s range is the latest addition to the company’s portfolio of designer collaborations (with Ross Lovegrove, Sebastian Conran, Arik Levy, Terri Pecora, Claudio Bellini and more) to create distinctive, modern bathroom collections to complement any washroom space.
During the extensive collaborative process, the shared vision of Dixon and VitrA’s creative teams was to create a complete bathroom solution that is for everyone – ‘contemporary without being of the moment’, states Dixon. The final result is ‘Liquid’, a range that is Victorian-influenced but also permanent and contemporary. Wholly new and yet somehow friendly and familiar. §