Monday, November 01, 2010

A Master's Degree in Bathroom Fixtures

I have nothing but the highest admiration for Italian design - whither it be in clothing, furniture, architecture or kitchen and bathroom fixtures Italy excels. There is a innovative flair and style to how Italians create, perceive and display things that give them a beauty that is, to my untrained eye at least, very distinctive.

Take bathrooms. I don't know about you but one of the first things I do when I check into a hotel room is look at the bathroom. And many hotels here are upgrading their bathrooms with sleek shower stalls, designer bidets, floating stainless steel bowls as sinks and space age controls. Like this little console at the Hotel Savoy in Parma.
It's simple! It's sleek! It's shiny! It's sophisticated! It's Italian design at its best. And its a bitch to use. Notice it is uncluttered with silly things like indications of what does what or hot (C for caldo always a little catch) or cold (F for fredo). Now I don't think of myself as a techno-idiot but I do require some instructions when I first use something - even something as basic as do not touch stove element when gas is on!!!!! But I guess Italian designers take for granted that you will know what to do - unless of course you are a dumb stranero like me!

I was about to step in the shower - one question, why do so many hotels have those folding glass panels that only cover half the bath forcing you to crouch in the corner unless you want to get water all over the floor? - so in an attempt to test the water first I reached for the knob to turn on the faucet. I turned it left! Nothing! I turned it right! Still nothing. Ah maybe the lever? I turned it up! Nothing! I turned it down! Still nothing. Ah wait a minute if I pull the lever out what happens? Well it definitely starts a flow of water - hot and from the hand shower which is pointed at me and into the room. For an old person - sorry Marco, make that a mature person - my reflexes were pretty quick - close the lever.

Okay so pulling the lever out controls flow and turning it up or down must control the temperature of the water. Now for the knob, it turns so it must control something - turn the hand shower away, set the lever at midposition and slowly pull it out. Ah that's the secret. Now turn the nob slowly to the left. Why look waters coming out of the faucet - a bit more and its coming out of the overhead shower head but I forgot to swing the glass panel into place so water is now spraying all over me and the floor.

I hadn't even stepped into the shower yet and already I'm all wet. I really do admire Italian design!

01 novembre - Ognissanti
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Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Ah the beauty of simplicity ;)

Elizabeth said...

I really do think most designers laugh at we mere humans who actually have to USE -rather than just look at - the things they design.