As a society, we have a terrible aversion to fat. Whether it’s open loathing for the extra layer which has found its way onto our stomach or a wrinkled nose at a slither of untrimmed bacon, the overall feeling is that fat is generally best avoided at all costs. And so pervasive is this view it somehow managed to quietly sneak its way into the genteel world of interiors, particularly when it comes to bathroom design.
For far too long, slender shapes have been seen as the ones to be celebrated - it’s seemingly like a race by designers to create the skinniest-looking taps, thinnest-walled basins and baths, and the tiniest armed showerheads.
But the tide is slowly turning when it comes to bathroom ideas. For the past few years, bathrooms have enjoyed a flirtation with soft curves but now it is going a step further and fat is taking a celebratory stand.
Thin ceramics are now making way for curvaceous and more exaggerated forms which are now being seen in everything from baths to loos. It’s so easy to see why they work.
They create an instant softening of the bathroom which can have a natural leaning to feeling cold and clinical because of the common sharp lines and hard, cold surfaces. They help a space feel more soothing and that little more indulgent. They are also as welcoming as open arms, unlike the skinner forms which often feel more formal and strangely standoffish.
BC Designs, The Water Monopoly and Waterworks are all brands that offer pleasingly plump baths with rotund rims that make you instantly want to dive in. And as someone who hasn’t taken a bath for more than a decade, that is saying a lot. When it comes to freestanding bath ideas, claw feet are being replaced by chubby bun ones which not only feel supportive but look classic and elegant.
In Tom Dixon’s recent first-ever bathroom launch for VitrA, the collection is characterized by chunky shapes and almost cartoon-like forms which felt quite a departure from what I have been seeing in recent years.
Inspiration was taken from Victorian roll top baths which always feel study and long-lasting – an important element in this new bathroom trend because it means the calamitous among us are not constantly worried about damage or breakage. If you are not yet in the market for a new bath, you can tap into the trend with a voluptuous washbasin.
Claybrook’s Smithfield one is a favorite of mine and has a lovely vintage note. If you are going for taps, try a portly one with a satisfying hold, Iike a sturdy rounded pillar tap. Or consider handles. The curved design of the porcelain lever ones in Waterworks’ Highgate collection helps elevate the use of an everyday piece.
Plump pieces can help transform a bathroom so I am convinced this is less of a throwaway fad and the start of a shift from what has been seen as an accepted norm. Good design, after all, can come in all shapes and sizes.
As the Deputy Editor of Livingetc, Busola Evans works across both print and digital and specialises in kitchens, bathrooms and projects. She is an expert at explaining how to improve, extend and convert your home. Prior to her current role, she was Associate Editor on both Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. A journalist for more than 20 years, she has written for a number of newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, The Sunday Times Magazine and Grazia, and was an interiors columnist for the London Evening Standard's ES Magazine.
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