“Being able to remove yourself — having time and space to think — it’s luxury.”Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby
What happens when one of the world’s most acclaimed design studios for furniture and products develops an entire bathroom reflecting their personal idea of luxury? With its ‘Make it yours!’ campaign, AXOR challenged London-based Barber Osgerby to do just that. The result is ‘Skyline’, a concept for a slim, elegant bathroom in the corner of a penthouse apartment in London, where space is at a premium, but the sense of luxury remains uncompromised. Equipped with Barber Osgerby’s own AXOR One bathroom fixtures and AXOR Universal Circular Accessories, all in a brand-new Matte White finish, Skyline offers a very personal vision that reinterprets beauty and wellbeing in smaller spaces.
“The project was inspired by the move towards more compact living,” explains Jay Osgerby, one half of the acclaimed design duo. “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.” Imagined as a part of a London penthouse, the 7 square meter bathroom, which prioritizes natural light to maximize the sense of spaciousness, features a floor-to-ceiling window as well as a large skylight above the shower. “It’s about being clever with the space,” Osgerby says, “by flooding it with light and offering views.”
Color plays a leading role in the Skyline concept, although Barber Osgerby have departed from current trends in their thoughtful use of it. “The tendency is often—particularly at the moment—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,” Osgerby observes. “And in a compact space, it doesn’t really work.” As an alternative, the designers opted for an all-over monochrome green, created with tiles from their Primavera collection for Mutina. The tiles’ soothing tone fulfills multiple roles: “In terms of color theory, green is obviously the most calming color,” Osgerby says. “It’s a reference to nature. But at the same time, in this instance, it gives us the ability to have one palette which unifies the entire space.”
The green of the tiles allows for a striking visual contrast with the all-new Matt White surface finish of the AXOR One fixtures and AXOR Universal Circular Accessories. Selected products from the collection and accessories program are also available through the AXOR Signature Service in an array of color finishes, all curated by Barber Osgerby. “With AXOR One, we’ve taken what’s really needed and made it into the most refined object we possibly can,” notes Osgerby, “and for us, the Matt White finish actually exemplifies this in terms of its purity, simplicity and calmness.” In the context of the bathroom, white has long been synonymous with hygiene and cleanliness, and the Matt White finish infuses these associations into the AXOR One fixtures.
Choice of color is central to the individualization megatrend that the AXOR ‘Make it yours!’ campaign explores. The ability to use the Matt White finish across the bathroom, as Barber Osgerby have done with their Skyline concept, allows for a truly individualized expression, without compromise: Matt White appears not only on all fixtures, from washbasin faucet to showerpipe to thermostatic module, but on all accessories, as well, from towel hooks to shelves to mirrors and the AXOR Drain. The result is a unified aesthetic in service of the overall sense of calm the designers sought to create: “The bathroom has always been talked about as being a sanctuary,” says Osgerby. “And I don’t feel like that’s really gone. These spaces are one of the few spaces that give you sanctuary from the craziness of life.”
A harmonious space of subtle beauty, offering retreat from the bustling metropolis, the Skyline bathroom concept speaks directly to Osgerby’s personal idea of luxury. In the designer’s words, “Luxury is time, advancement, space, and travel. And some of those things we can get in here. The idea of being able to remove yourself—of having time and space to think— it’s luxury.” And how does personalization play into this idea of luxury as well-being? “If you’re able to be in a lucky position to create your own environments,” says Osgerby, “then you’re living in your own painting, you’re living in your own artwork. And hopefully, if you’re happy with what you’ve created, you can feel content, which naturally means that you can relax.”
Internationally acclaimed designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby founded their London-based studio in 1996, after graduating from London’s Royal College of Art. Their multidisciplinary practice challenges the boundaries of industrial design, architecture, and art. Along with furniture and lighting for some of the world’s leading brands, Barber Osgerby have undertaken design projects ranging from the 2012 Olympic torch to the two-pound coin for Great Britain’s Royal Mint to the seating for the 13th- Century Portsmouth Cathedral. Barber Osgerby are advocates for intuitive interaction within the products they design. This approach is perfectly reflected in their groundbreaking AXOR One collection.