Ushi Tamborriello

Gretel and Hansel

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A picture of the Gretel and Hansel bathroom concept by Ushi Tamborriello
“It was the Black Forest, home of AXOR, which led to the iconographic forest fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel.”
Ushi Tamborriello
Bathroom Concept Gretel and Hansel by Ushi Tamborriello and AXOR

A place of magic and respite in the Black Forest

With ‘Gretel and Hansel’, Swiss-based interior architect Ushi Tamborriello and her team present a bathroom full of understated elegance, generous comfort and narrative density. Thematically set in Germany’s Black Forest, the 15sqm bathroom concept is Tamborriello’s personal response to the AXOR "Make it yours!" campaign and is a stunning example of the interplay between narrative and space.

Detail of the bathroom Concept Gretel and Hansel by Ushi Tamborriello and AXOR

A modern-day fairytale

Imagined as a private bathroom for a modern-day Hansel and Gretel, the titular characters of the Brothers Grimm fairytale, the bathroom acts as a reflection of these imaginary protagonists' character. The two distinct personalities are also reflected in a corresponding selection of AXOR products, including AXOR MyEdition, the new AXOR Suite sinks and AXOR ShowerComposition, as well as AXOR Universal Rectangular Accessories and AXOR Drain in Matt Black or Polished Red Gold.

AYOR MyEdition Faucet and AXOR Suite Basin in Polished Red Gold Finish

Individuality, personalization, and ultimately the user's personality

“AXOR's products revolve around the concepts of individuality, personalization, and ultimately the user's personality,” says Tamborriello. “We quickly realized that the best way to approach a fictional character was through scenography. This realization opened up a multitude of creative dimensions. We were inspired by the variety of innovative materials available for the faucets, the sinks, the accessories from dark woods and bronze to marble,” she adds.

“The quarries of Carrara became a topic of concern, as well as Michelangelo and his idea of the liberation of sculpture from stone… Ultimately, however, it was the Black Forest, home of AXOR, with its many stories, which led to the iconographic ‘forest fairy tale’ of Hansel and Gretel.”

AYOR MyEdition Faucet in Matt Black and AXOR Suite Basin in Polished Red Gold Finish

Distinct characters embodied by a space

The story may be familiar, but Tamborriello's interpretation expands the narrative, pondering how the famous twin siblings would live today and how these distinct characters could be embodied by a space. The dichotomy between these two figures gave rise to a spatial concept with a unique tension all of its own. Right down to the individual faucets, the staging playfully drives the narrative forward. At the sink, for example, Hansel uses the square version of the AXOR Suite sink, while Gretel prefers the round version. AXOR MyEdition faucets crown both washbasins; in a plate of American walnut and Polished Red Gold finish for Gretel, and a white marble plate and Matt Black finish for Hansel. “This duality characterizes the entire design. The light, white marble of the walls contrasts with the heaviness and elegance of the black marble on the floor and ceiling,” says Tamborriello.

Bathroom Concept Gretel and Hansel by Ushi Tamborriello

Spatial design in a third dimension

By setting the narrative in the mountainous Black Forest, the spatial design also assumed a third dimension: “We wanted to use these 15 square meters in a well thought-out and innovative way,” says Tamborriello. “In the room, we not only moved from front to back, from right to left, but also from bottom to top.” Consequently, a large frame dominates the layout of the bathroom. It divides the space into an active front area featuring vanities, closet space, and seating. On the other side, a contemplative rear space with a bath tub and shower features a grand view of the countryside. These two spatial sequences are connected by a filigree swimming pool ladder-- a defining, symbolically charged motif whose gesture ingeniously links the different worlds.

Bathroom Concept Gretel and Hansel by Ushi Tamborriello

Recuperative, intimate atmosphere

In all spaces, subtle lighting by Jörg Krewinkel and his team at Lichtkompetenz deepens the recuperative, intimate atmosphere. In the shower area, a fluted glass window ensures privacy as well as a connection to the outer world. These details help construct a space that meets a global trend: the demand for bathrooms offering both a retreat from daily life and a stage for self-expression. In “Gretel and Hansel,” these twin desires combine in the AXOR ShowerComposition shower panel in Matt Black, for example, or in the AXOR MyEdition wall-mounted bath spout topped with a plate in American Walnut. Alternatively, the AXOR ShowerCompostion shower module with hand shower and thermostatic module provide immersion and personalization and are finished in Polished Red Gold. The AXOR Universal Rectangular Accessories serve as functional sculptures throughout the bathroom, and feature Polished Red Gold or Matt Black finishes.

Bathroom Concept Gretel and Hansel by Ushi Tamborriello

Concurrently cohesive and distinct

Despite its contrasts, or perhaps because of them, the vision of Tamborriello and her team is concurrently cohesive and distinct. A sense of balance is found between all elements; from the bathroom’s layout to the multitude of references, the palette to the preferences of the personalities. “Working on this sensitive interface between exhibition, installation and classical interior design required a deep engagement with the subject matter,” says Ushi Tamborriello. “Our goal was to guide the project into a resilient spatial statement that was poetic but also able to withstand the stresses of everyday life.” In this regard, ‘Gretel and Hansel’ certainly succeeds in telling its own tale.

Portrait of Ushi Tamborriello

Ushi Tamborriello

Ushi Tamborriello and her team create one-of-a-kind spaces that unify a particular place, time and function. The Swiss-based interior architect and production designer founded Atelier ushitamborriello in 2004, and has garnered international acclaim for her considered, refined and highly original concepts. From wellness resorts to remarkable hotels, restaurants to exhibition installations, the works are always aesthetically independent from each other and contain layered atmospheres that allow for highly personal, sensuous experiences.

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