Chic Bathroom Ideas for Luxurious Yet Minimalist Spaces
AXOR and Design Studio Barber Osgerby develops brand new bathroom fixtures for smaller spaces without foregoing luxury and comfortable living. In this exclusive interview with Jay Osgerby, he talks about the design process behind AXOR One
Luxury bathroom brand AXOR’s latest collaboration with designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby of has a concept that defines true elegance in the bathroom. The essence of space and sense of style remain at the core of Skyline’s reinterpretation of beauty and well-being in smaller spaces, creating a collection that moves toward a more compact living.
We got to know more about this when Jay Osgerby, the co-founder of Barber Osgerby, came to Manila. “It’s a move away from the huge, lounging, spa-style bathrooms that we’ve come to know from the top-end of the market over the last few years, into creatively addressing compact spaces, particularly in urban environments,” Jay explains. “It’s about being clever with the space by flooding it with light and offering views.”
To further address slimmer spaces in the abode, Barber Osgerby came up with examples of creative resolutions that references nature. “The tendency is often—particularly at themoment—that you paint one wall in one color, you leave another wall in another color, and you have a big picture on the other wall.”
For instance, the newcomer classic—green in a calming, monochrome—makes the space soothing to the senses. In terms of color theory, according to Jay, green is alternatively a smart substitute if one opts for a rather serene and restful surrounding. Synonymous with peace and tranquility, it promotes wellness, restoration, and renewal as well.
“The bathroom has always been talked about as being a sanctuary and I don’t feel like that’s really gone,” said Jay, who believes in the significance, choice, and usage of color to beautify the bathroom. “These spaces are one of the few spaces that give you sanctuary from the craziness of life.”
Scroll down for Metro.Style’s Q&A session with Barber Osgerby’s Jay Osgerby:
Could you tell us about your concept for AXOR ONE?
“The AXOR One collection—can I just tell you one thing? It started with the AXOR One shower control, which was our way of really making the showering experience more simple—of bringing complexity into simplicity. Lots of different controls that you have to find in the bathroom into one place, which makes it easier for you to use it—to know what they’re doing. Much more simple to control. Those that are easier for the plumber to install in the back behind the scenes, which makes things sort of less expensive potentially and certainly more straightforward.
Using that ethos, when we approached the AXOR One itself, we wanted to find a new way of interacting with water, maintaining the archetype. And then once we’ve established that, we’ve treated the project into a series of different colors and finishes to give it a different character. So AXOR One Matte White, for us, is almost the most pure version of the Axor One collection. It’s the most incredible finish, which feels very fresh and new. The Axor technology is coming from the automotive industry—the coatings—so it’s incredibly strong. And the Axor One tap and accessories are available in Matte White, so the full range is available.”
Could you share your thought process when you create a bathroom product design?
“Well, it’s not dissimilar to the way that we approach many projects, which is to—first of all—trying to establish a need for something. We really believe that unless you can stand up and talk about the design and unless it brings something new or different or an improvement to people’s lives, the object itself shouldn’t come to exist. And that’s very true in the bathroom because we’re also dealing with supplying a very valuable commodity, which is water. And so with that comes lots and lots of problems and lots of challenges. So with our relationship with AXOR One in the bathroom, we wanted to try and find a new way of using water and handling water in a beautiful way.”
How can innovative bathroom design seamlessly integrate into urban lifestyles?
“It shouldn’t be a challenging experience. I mean, everything that we design, visually, may have some newness to it. I’m not saying it’s not challenging visually, but in practical terms, it should be very straightforward and understandable to work with and to live with. And in the case of our work with AXOR, we’ve created—we’ve used—in a way, an existing archetype that all people are familiar with and this is how you carry water from one place to another using pipes. So our collaboration with AXOR and AXOR One has really been about using an archetype of finding a different way of interacting and controlling the water in a precise and fantastic way.”
Could you talk about your design philosophy?
“So I’m fascinated by history. I’m really interested in engineering. I’m really fascinated by how things work. Also, when I travel to a place, I tend to like to go to the markets—the flea markets, for example, ‘cause it’s always interesting to see how people in different cultures approach the same problems with different tools. So there’s a lot of research and knowledge that comes from seeing how materials have been manipulated across different cultures for the same purpose. I’ve always found that really inspiring, which is why travel is so inspiring.”
Can we talk about some of the sustainability features of AXOR One Matt Collection? Why is this technology important?
“I’m glad that you said that—sustainability is, particularly when you’re dealing with a scarce resource, we have a) you’re dealing with a scarce resource, b) we’re designing something and creating something in metal, which can have quite a serious CO2 footprint. So the responsibility on us and the Axor manufacturer is to create something which is aware of its production, its distribution. But more than anything, it’s to create an object which is timeless in terms of its form, but those [that] are timeless in the sense that it doesn’t break, it doesn’t wear out. You can keep it for many, many years. Whereas [with] other brands, you might buy twice or three times. You will not need to do that with Axor because it has a super long life cycle and is environmentally-created.
Again, it wasn’t about the invention. It was an Axor invention, but it’s the ability to be able to create an amazing showering experience using much less water. And the way they do that is by using microholes in the output of the shower, so you get very, very small droplets of water. So instead of them traditionally hitting you and bouncing off like rain, they hit you when you’re in the shower and it stays and it forms a complete kind of like surface of water. So you feel completely immersed but it uses a fraction of the amount of water traditionally used.”
What is it like working with Axor?
“We, as a design studio, have been very fortunate to work with AXOR now for maybe 10 years, I guess? Maybe a little longer in terms of how our relationship started, and Axor was always a company that we had decided was the leader in the world in the bathroom. And we’ve decided to wait until the time is right to talk to them. And we weren’t disappointed. When we did start working with them, we discovered them to be a great group of people who are truly passionate and kind of nerdy about the bathroom and the kitchen, actually. Their expertise and enthusiasm is unlike most of the companies we worked for.
And so, it works very well with us and our approach. And it worked with them, and they’re super brilliant engineers. And also, the fact that they believe and they listen to their designers, which is a really great starting point for any working relationship. And then from there, we’ve been fortunate to create new products which have been hugely successful and award-winning. And that’s really coming from a collaboration of their passion, and their genius, and their belief, and our creativity, and our foresight.
They think things through and develop things in such an incredible way, because there are many things, there are many products that you can buy for the bathroom. But I can guarantee you, they will not live as long as an Axor product because the quality just isn’t there.”
What are your initial impressions of Manila and the design aesthetic of Manila?
“Well, you know, it’s been quite quick trips so far so we’ve been very lucky to spend all of the time here in the room and be surrounded by the fantastic AXOR products, but we haven’t seen so much of the city yet. Surely, after we finish our interview, we are going for a tour of the city, which I’m very excited about. First impressions? Quite incredible clouds, formations.”