Of all the rooms, the bathroom has been on the greatest journey. For thousands of years and in nearly every culture, bathing was a communal affair. Roman baths, Turkish hammams, Japanese onsens: they were all places where the community would get together, socialise, cleanse and recharge.
The bathroom’s move into our homes has been a gradual affair, and a comparatively recent one. Well into the 20th century, outdoor loos were common. People washed with a jug of water at a washstand in the bedroom – supplemented by occasional visits to the public bath house.
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Since then, the bathroom has transformed itself from communal temple to inner sanctum to such an extent that one of cinema’s most iconic and disturbing scenes – the shower murder in Hitchcock’s Psycho – is seared into our consciousness because it violates, shockingly, the sanctity of the room where we are at our most unmasked and vulnerable.
In the 21st century, we crave the sense of refuge engendered by the bathroom more than ever. With our attention now assaulted by the frenetic and hyper-connected nature of contemporary life, that deep need for a place of calm and privacy is primal.
The bathrooms below have been created by some of the finest interior designers working anywhere in the world today, and if there’s a common thread between them, it’s that they all reflect that need with an escapist, indulgent, zen-like calm. Like mini-spas, they complete the circle of the bathroom’s heritage: the marble of their Roman forbearers or the natural stone of hot springs. And if nature is celebrated, so is decadence: notes of Deco glamour, as if these hushed, sacred spaces are extolling us to reach for heightened senses and to live our best lives.
Bryan O’Sullivan Studio : Paris Townhouse
Corey Damon Jenkins : American Bathroom
Alidad : Black and White Bathroom
Maddux Creative : Notting Hill Townhouse
Mimi Shodeinde : Cape Coast, Ghana
Ultima : Residence, Sud Resort, Ultima Courchevel Belvédère
NFJ : Kisawa Sanctuary, Mozambique
Jean-Michel Gathy/Denniston Architects : Aman New York
Dorothée Meilichzon : Henrietta Hotel
Albion Nord : Primrose Hill House
SH Hotels & Resorts : 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, New York
Reymond Langton Design : Artefact Superyacht
Creative Space Studio : Batoka Zambezi Sands River Lodge
Katharine Pooley : Notting Hill House
Julie Hillman : Upper East Side Townhouse
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