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Our favorite place for a bath is outdoors
by Thomas Wagner | 2/28/2013

Who doesn’t prefer to bathe outside surrounded by Mother Nature? When the mild air plays upon our skin and the climate and weather smile down on us, there is almost nothing better than refreshing our body and soul in the clear water of a lake or in the gentle waves of the sea. And if, on top of that, we are surrounded by rich, lush vegetation while bathing, we find ourselves so to speak immersed in nature itself, something we rarely encounter on a daily basis. Moreover, the blue or turquoise-shimmering surface of a pool, sparkling in the sunlight, seems all the more tempting when it is skirted by trees, lush grass or indeed palm trees. In this respect the bathroom in our own home can be nothing more than a compromise. Here nature generally means: water plus pleasant materials.

In Western culture it was first of all the garden, be it real or imaginary, that offered us sanctuary from the challenges and hectic pace of work and history. Regardless of whether, as was once the case, it was relegated to the urban peripheries, or is today returning, if haltingly, to the megacities with their millions of inhabitants in the form of fallow land, guerilla gardens or small green enclaves. We still enjoy sitting for a while in the middle of Paris in the Jardin de Luxembourg or strolling through the park around Villa Borghese in Rome.

“When Voltaire”, explains Robert Harrison, who has written an illuminating book on “gardens”, “ends Candide with the famous declaration ‘Il faut cultiver notre jardin,’ the garden in question must be viewed against the backdrop of the wars, plague, and natural disasters evoked by the novel. The emphasis on cultivation is essential. It is because we are thrown into history that we must cultivate our garden.”

Is not Harrison right? Do we not need a garden, even a small one, that grants us a glimpse of paradise as though through a peephole? Should we not also cultivate our bathroom, at least a little, like we do our gardens? Plant it, as far as possible, transform it into a small green oasis to strengthen the healing and liberating forces found in both the garden and in water? Even the trends at “The Bathroom Experience”, proclaimed by the German Sanitary Industry Association (VDS) at the ISH, place emphasis on (among other things) closeness to nature. Though there’s no need to go and put your bathtub under the waterfall behind your house to get a little closer to nature.

The bathroom as a feel-good oasis, photo © Karsten Jipp, VdS
The bathroom as a feel-good oasis, photo © Karsten Jipp, VdS
Showering in rainforest atmosphere, photo © Dornbracht
Green plants make their entrance in the bathroom, photo © Stylepark
Bathroom Bubble, the bathroom as a retreat, photo © Constantin Meyer, VdS
The handles and thermostats melt into one sculptural form. The water flow is activated at the lower end of the spout, while the temperature is regulated at the upper end, photo © Axor Starck Original
Having a bath in the nature, photo © Karsten Jipp, VdS
Green, everywhere you look: Poliform trade fair stand, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark