Flush with new tiles
It all started with a bridge. The Romans built it over the Maas, which they called the Mosa. The small roman town Mosa Traiectum on the one side of the bridge then turned into the city of Maastricht. As early as the Roman days, a settlement arose also on the other side of the river – a vicus. Wyck it later became and in the 19th century the ceramics industry blossomed here. Louis Regout built his new factory here, which he aptly named after the river nearby: “Mosa”.
Today Mosa is a leading European tile-manufacturer and Wyck is a young and vibrant residential, cultural and leisure-time district that the locals really love. Not only does one pub or restaurant line up to the next, important cultural institutions have arisen here, too: The Bonnefantenmuseum, the city’s most famous museum, resides in an iconic building designed by Italian star architect Aldo Rossi on the banks of the Maas, and Centre Céramique, a multipurpose building, build by Jo Coenen that is home to an exhibition center and the municipal library.
Only recently, Mosa CEO, Remon Veraart, teamed up with business people from Wyck and PR specialist Véronique van den Eertwegh to develop the idea of celebrating the diverse district with a special project: “Flush”. Students from the renowned "Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design" have used tiles from the Mosa series to design very special sanitary facilities for a total of nine museums, restaurants and shops in Wyck.
The designs reference the setting for which they are intended. Sometimes the approach taken is playful, other times it is stringent, but all of them are highly unique. For example Rob Stoffels designed a toilet zone for the ambitious burger joint “Burgerlijk” with tiles in red, yellow, orange and white, alluding to the flames beneath the griddle. For Asian restaurant “Umami” the design reflects the violet that predominates in the interior, although designer Dimphy Snel has created a purely graphic pattern from the square tiles, in each instance contrasting a violet tones with a second color respectively. In the sleek “Townhouse Hotel”, Michelle Zwinkels and Bojanna Aleksic set to work and outfitted the toilet booths in the basement with sunny yellow wall tiles, while the vestibule and floors boast medium grey tiles. The color combination is reminiscent of 1950s and 1960s interior designs, an impression emphasized by the tender wall luminaires with their folded shades.
The new sanitary spaces at the Bonnefantenmuseum are the brainchild of Mariya Molotnikova and hold a real surprise in store: While the vestibules with the washbasins have tiles with a restrained color palette, the toilet booths boast small medallions set into the wall. Each bears a print from a set of eyes from an oil painting on exhibition in the museum. Not only do they thus refer to the collection, but are charmingly provocative, as you always feel a bit as if someone is watching while you use the facilities.
Alexander Schul took a very different approach when interweaving art and interior design for the new sanitary rooms at Centre Céramique. Here, glass spheres form a counterpoint to the strictly graphic frame made of anthracite and white sets of tiles. In future, exhibits from the institution’s municipal history collection will go on show the convex glass structures. The curved displays cases also serve as mirrors, giving the space a larger feel, albeit one that seems strange.
It's surprising, how little you actually need in order to transforms spaces that are all too often neglected in design terms into real attractions. Incidentally, the tiles the designers chose from the Mosa lines are as different as the results. While some of the design students enthusiastically opted for bright monochrome colored tiles, others consciously chose designs that take a visual backseat to the other elements in the respective space.
Irrespective of the colors and tiles the designers chose, there are now nine more good reasons why Maastricht inhabitants should cross the river to the Wyck side. Thankfully there’s the bridge.