Industrial designer Jay Osgerby shares his views on bathroom design, his collaboration with AXOR and his commitment to inclusive and innovative design.
18 January 2024
Text by Vanitha Pavapathi
Bathroom trends have evolved over time, reflecting diverse global traditions and rituals. In an exclusive interview with Jay Osgerby, one half of London-based industrial design studio Barber Osgerby, we delve into the intriguing world of bathroom design, with a focus on the revolutionary AXOR One collection. Osgerby shares insights into the collection’s patented mechanical design and the importance of design inclusivity, revealing plans for future expansions.
Vanitha Pavapathi (VP): What are some emerging bathroom trends post-pandemic, and how have they evolved?
Jay Osgerby (JO): Well, it depends on the region. Recently, the overwhelming trend is making the bathroom a sanctuary, a place for personal contemplation and peace, distinct from the chaotic outside world. Nature-inspired designs and a movement towards technology were noted, but personally, I advocate for keeping technology out of the bathroom to preserve its calming essence. Water, as part of one’s well-being ritual, should not be interrupted by data or information. While music is acceptable, the bathroom, in my view, is a place for internal reflection and, in a way, a spiritual experience within the home.
VP: That said, the AXOR One bathroom collection you designed has very sophisticated technology within its form.
JO: AXOR One’s technology emerged from a need to prevent water wastage. Traditional controls often leave taps slightly open, leading to significant water loss. But AXOR One’s patented mechanical design ensures precise on-off control without resorting to electricity, making it both safe and efficient. The mechanical system, a brainchild of extensive research by the AXOR team, offers a simplified, elegant solution to a common problem, saving millions of litres of water annually. Also, the symbols used on the thermostat controls are self-explanatory. With this intuitive design, hotel guests for instance, won’t be anxious using the shower for the first time. Designing AXOR One, we focused on creating an elegant and pure silhouette, free from unnecessary complexities.
VP: The design is indeed very clean and elegant. What was the inspiration behind the matte white colour introduced in early 2023?
JO: Matte white, being uncommon in bathrooms, accentuates the pure silhouette of AXOR One. It’s unique and brings a ceramic-like tactility to the bathroom, resonating with familiar elements like sinks and tiles. The coating, derived from aerospace technology, not only ensures aesthetics but also durability, aligning with AXOR’s sustainability goals.
VP: How do you see inclusivity in design, especially considering left-handed option for the faucets?
JO: Inclusivity is crucial. While the current design may not fully cater to left-handed users, we could explore solutions in the future. The idea is to provide flexibility – maybe a reversible design or additional options for left-handed individuals.
VP: Moving forward, are there plans to expand the AXOR One collection or introduce new designs?
JO: Absolutely. We’re actively working on expanding the collection. Recently, we introduced a range of universal accessories to soften the geometric edges, offering more choices to users. Additionally, there’s an upcoming collection focused on allowing users to personalise and mix elements, providing a more transversal design experience.
VP: That sounds exciting. Finally, looking back at your diverse projects – from furniture to tableware, from tiles to installation – what has been your most memorable one?
JO: The Olympic torch design for The London 2012 Summer Olympics remains unparalleled. It wasn’t about business but personal joy – being part of something that symbolised a nation and was seen by billions during the opening ceremony. The pressure and subsequent relief made it unforgettable.
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