The bathroom in a dialogue of cultures
Beirut 2004. What will the pressures of globalisation do to bathrooms? Will regional traditions such as the hamam (Arabic public bathhouses with separate areas for hot and cold bathing ) simply disappear or can modern bathrooms learn from these cultures? These are questions which AXOR posed to ten renowned architects and interior designers from the Middle East and Europe at the third AquaTektur workshop in 2004. The intercultural dialogue between various bathroom and bathing traditions therefore became the focus of the events series. As the interface between Western and Eastern bathing culture, the event location of Beirut provided the perfect source of inspiration for the creative discussions. The hamam as a bathing experience and room concept re-appeared in all the designs drafted.
The sensual experience
The creative minds believed that the sensual experience was the most important aspect to retain from the three-part concept of the hamam as a place for cleaning, meeting people and bathing. The bathroom of the future can make this possible – in the context of modern living standards. An immersion in light, the meditative sound of running water and the pleasant feel of the finishes – these were the plans for the “hamam in the globalised world”. Several architects indicated their belief that such a sensual bathroom could be integrated into modern living architecture, including in apartments. With these concepts, the brainstorming session initiated by Axor once again proved to be a source of inspiration for new ideas for contemporary bathrooms and bathing.
The bathroom of the future opens out
In line with the traditional concept of the hamam as a place for meeting people, the architects also interpreted the bathroom of the future as a social place with a multi-functional character. It is both an intimate private area and a room for all the family – depending on the individual requirements. The architectural opening of the bathroom into other living areas, especially the bedroom, is therefore a top priority. In terms of implementation, the modular designs alternated with traditionally inspired ones.
AquaTektur 3: the participants
Jorgen Bach, Arkitema K/S, Arhus
Gilles Desèvedavy, R & Sie, Paris
Yasmine Mahmoudieh, mahmoudieh design/mahmoudieh concepts, Berlin
Suzette Ricciotti, Agence Rudy Ricciotti Architecte, Bandol
Sonja Wright, wrightassociates, Munich
Ana Corberó, Ana Corberó Painting, Sculpture & design, Beirut
Nabil Gholam und Aram Yeretzian, nabil gholam architecture & planning, Beirut
Ahmet Igdirligil, Sans Mimarlik, Bodrum
Simone Kosmerelli, Simone Kosmerelli Architects, Beirut
Maha Nasrallah, Maha Nasrallah Architects, Beirut