Karen D. Singh and Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 10/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
Totally Bamboo - Vessel Sink
Tom Sullivan and Joanne Chen once produced custom director chairs for Hollywood big wigs. But when the quest for a lighter chair led them to bamboo, their film careers were finished. Discovering that bamboo was even stronger than oak, the pair began manufacturing cutting boards, which ultimately led to the launch of Totally Bamboo. The range rises above the countertop with the Vessel Sink, constructed of 1 3/8-inch-thick solid bamboo, measuring 17 inches in diameter and 6 inches deep. Customize it by choosing vertical, flat, or end-grain patterns in light or dark tone. No artificial dyes or stains are used, and the bamboo itself can be harvested again every few years—unlike a film career. 760-471-6600; totallybamboo.com. circle 426
Sicis - Pin-Up
The installation of the Pin-Up mosaic collection at the Sicis store in lower Manhattan seems poised to grace a nostalgic rendition of GI barracks. Pin-Up takes its cue from the company's Fumetto collection of bold cartoon graphics, but the latest 13 designs depict all manner of feminine revelry from Betty Grable bathers to the dancers of the Moulin Rouge. Hand cut and composed in Ravenna, Italy, the oversized panels measure from Laureen at 40 by 52 inches to Jessica at 136 inches long by 71 high.
Unlike typical narrative mosaics, these command a full range of translucence, color gradation, and refined levels of luster—from the nuance of the jewels on Irma and the sheerness of Liza's hosiery to the highlights in the hair of Gena and Laureen and the flesh peeking through the lace of Dolly's bustier. Semi-opaque, iridescent Iridium tiles provide sparkle and sheen. Opaque tiles, such as matte finish Murano Smalto, establish bold colors and solid skin tones. Glimmer tiles, both translucent and iridescent, and translucent Waterglass tiles are often placed next to the matte finishes, enhancing both textures. The cherry on the cheesecake? Colibri—offered in an array of silvers, colored metallics, and 24-karat white and yellow gold—gives these gals their very special shimmer. 877-839-8900; sicis.com. circle 427
Pentagon Design - Smart Bath
What will occur, other than the obvious, in the bathroom of the future? People will appreciate the natural resource of water by finding new ways to use it. Such was the vision suggested by industrial design students Arni Aromaa and Sauli Suomela for their Master of Arts thesis at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. Pentagon Design found their forecast compelling enough to enlist Finnish faucet manufacturer Oras to produce a prototype: the Smart Bath concept bathroom.
The dance between organic forms and high-tech engineering begins in the shower, a 47-by-94½-inch unit with a chromed cast-brass hand shower attached to a heated, laminated glass wall. The plastic-framed, chromed cast-brass showerhead can spray like a regular shower, or gush like a downpour, sending water along the raked floor to a drain hidden behind the wall.
Electronic sensors control the 31 ½-inch-diameter laminated glass footbath, with a chromed cast-brass tap that releases water when toes are wiggled under it. Temperature can be preprogrammed, and there's a massage function. The 47-inch-wide washbasin in laminated glass contains an LED-lit faucet, also sensor-activated, with temperature and flow presets. All pipes, fittings, and electronics are tucked away inside the wall-integrated basin to ensure easy cleanups. After all, the future might be just as messy as the present. 358-9-2518-0400; pentagondesign.fi. circle 428
Stone Forest - Quattro Vessel
With a name like Stone Forest, it has to be granite—or does it? The manufacturer eschews man-made materials such as concrete or resin in its hand-carved kitchen and bath appointments, but the medium that put it on the map is nowhere to be found in the Quattro and Moso Vessels. Instead, the Japanese-inspired sinks are constructed from the tough exterior of bamboo shoots, grown without pesticides or fertilizers, and harvested without killing the entire plant. Quattro, 16 inches square and 6 inches high, is designed to interface with the Bento Box, either as sink support or for storage, with or without casters. Moso, an Interior Design 2007 Best of Year winner in the bath/plumbing fixtures category, is 19 inches wide, 14 deep, and 4 high. Both are lightweight, and, obviously, water-resistant. 888-682-2987; stoneforest.com. circle 429
Il Bagno Alessi
In 38 years of attracting A-list designers to his family's namesake company, Alberto Alessi turned the kitchenware specialist into what he dubs "are search laboratory in the applied arts." Now, here turns the favor. Il Bagno Alessi lends Alessi's design expertise to three European bath manufacturers—Swiss ceramist Laufen, Finnish faucet source Oras, Italian furniture and accessory producer Inda—to form "an operational model for a virtual company."
For its part, Alessi turned to longtime collaborator Stefano Giovannoni to envision One, a family of smooth porcelain forms juxtaposed against straight-edge brass faucets and fittings. Ever the matchmaker, Alessi describes it as a marriage of "maternal and paternal codes." Laufen supplies the freestanding tub, approximately 74 by 40 inches, which can also be connected or fitted to the wall. The washbasin with integrated pedestal is 33½ inches high and 20½ inches wide. The tank of the freestanding toilet is 37½ inches high with a 16-inch-high seat, while the bidet is 19 inches wide and 23 inches deep. Chrome-finish fixtures by Oras include a bath faucet with hand shower, basin and bidet faucets, and a thermostatic shower head. Inda offers structural elements, such as the tempered crystal shower enclosure with a 59-by-35½-inch Corian shower tray, and decorative touches, like the 48-inch chrome-plated towel rack, and 68-inch floor mirror. ilbangoalessi.com. 212-243-5400; circle 430
Abyss & Habidecor
Whether it's a day at the spa or a rush-hour shower, Abyss & Habidecor promises a plush towel-off. The Super Pile series, available in 60 solid colors, is woven of extra-long, 15-inch Giza 70 Egyptian cotton threads, which helps reduce lint and increase absorbency. The tone-on-tone checkerboard of Checkers contains a blend of Egyptian cotton and linen, in cinnamon, dark brown, cream, aqua, acacia, and metal. But options turn singular when it comes to Craft, as the Egyptian cotton and linen blend is presented in its natural state, without any dyes, resulting in a two-tone cream. All three collections are manufactured in Portugal, pre-washed and preshrunk, with the company's standard bias trim. In five sizes, ranging from the 12-inch-square washcloth to the 40-by-72-inch bath sheet. 800-588-8565; abysshabidecor.com. circle 431
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