by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 06.24.11
images credit EmmeGroup
I don’t know why architects bury plumbing behind walls when it can look so shiny and high-tech. And why separate a sink and a shower when you can combine them both in this single unit that you can put anywhere. It is produced by Emme Group, an Italian company that mostly makes Bongos Barbeques for Bunga-Bunga parties, but also offers the Totem Shower.
Leslie Clagett of KBCulture suggests that ” the tower, with its droid-like demeanor, might find an enthusiastic audience among fans of Gort, Optimus Prime and HAL9000.”
Actually, it is a bit of a throwback to a style that was popular in the late seventies, popularly called “high tech” and among architects as “structural expressionism“, where structure and services were exposed, displaying a “nuts-and-bolts, exposed-pipes, technological look”. Plumbing, ductwork, wiring conduits, all of the guts of a house or building that would normally be hidden were exposed, in fact, glorified. The best examples of it are Piano and Rogers’ Pompidou Center, or the work of Barton Myers.
I think that it is a style that is about to make a comeback, as being a greener way to build. Designers are beginning to think about how you put buildings together so that you can maintain and upgrade them, and others are thinking about how you deconstruct them at the end of their useful life.
We have noted the trend toward open building, where we design for change and adaptation. Philip Proefrock described it:
Open building stipulates separate zones or chases for different functions and services. This will, for example, make it easier to change plumbing systems without needing to repair other systems that cross or interfere with access to the necessary parts of the plumbing system.
Perhaps a better idea is to not even have zones or chases, but to let it all hang out, go high tech with a form of “mechanical expressionism” and have a totem shower.
More on bathroom design:
The Kohler Numi: The Perfect Toilet For Your Living Room
Save Water; Shower Japanese Style