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Statement Bathtubs Are Having a Moment

Statement Bathtubs Are Having a Moment

We have arrived, at long last, to the end of 2020. Is there anything that feels more appropriate than a long, dramatic, soak-until-your-toes-wrinkle bath? We think not. As it turns out, designers and their clients are already one step ahead of us. For the last few years, statement-making tubs have been cropping up in bathrooms across the globe.

Drake’s soaker in Toronto is honed from 4,000 pounds of black marble. Artist Daniel Arsham’s custom Snarkitecture bath is chiseled from a hunk of texturized stone. And television producer Ryan Murphy’s splashiest tub (he has several) is honed by the Haas Brothers from Pele de Tigre marble. One of Murphy’s own musings on decorating seems to sum up the fad for over-the-top tubs well enough: “Make it big,” he advises. “From Stephen [Shadley, the interior designer] I learned the great lesson of monumentalism, that grand gestures help focus and declutter a space.” 

“Statement tubs,” according to AD100 designer Pam Shamshiri, the designer entrusted with placing that hulking Haas Brothers bath in Murphy’s L.A. place, “require space around them.” It can be a powerful move, she admits, and not one to take lightly. The tub must fit with the space and the client. “If a striking tub is part of the story, then we go for it, but if it doesn’t fit the narrative, don’t force it.” She floats a few options. “Hinoki tubs are my favorite,” she says of the famously high-maintenance traditional Japanese wooden baths. “They have such a luxurious finish, even if they’re like caring for another child.” She’s also working on a circular resin tub large enough to fit a whole family.

“Tubs, just like the rest of a house, should reflect the owner and how they live,” explains AD100 architect Peter Pennoyer. Over the years, his studio has created a range of them: a freestanding cast-iron tub set in a window overlooking the ocean in Maine, a solid white one placed in the middle of the room in a historic Virginia home, a bath carved from a single block of Italian stone and placed in a window in Ohio, overlooking sculpture-filled gardens. “The best tubs seem to occupy the perfect place in the room,” he says. “They should make you notice the overall design—a vault overhead, a bay window, a fireplace.”

AD100 interior designer Miles Redd, who employed a silver-dipped tub by Waterworks in a fun-loving Texas getaway, explains his thinking rather simply: “In a bathroom, you basically get a tub, a shower, and a vanity to play with. The tub can totally make the room.” Below, find 11 totally transcendental tubs from the AD archive.

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