Mirror, mirror on the wall


Husna Rahaman’s article in Bangalore Times.

ART is the reflection of a culture - a mirror of its attitudes and priorities. This being true, the cultural icons of the new world could quite the sky- scraper, Greenpeace and high lather shampoo! The media focus on beauty - "666 ways to be as soft as your baby's bottom" and "what does your body odour say about your boyfriend" - depicts a society immersed in attempts to be softer, lighter and whiter than ever before. Due to this preoccupation with physical wellbeing, the bath- room has been heralded as the temple of sensuality and self indulgence.
The bath itself is now a delicious ritual performed in an environment perfumed with aroma therapy candles and exotic bath salts which promise to relieve the sins of the day. The reverence for the bathroom however is a new found phenomenon. This among all the rooms of the home has been the most neglected. In semi urban south India, despite plumbing facilities, many a family prefers to answer nature's call in a truly natural way under the favourite palm tree. They believe it keeps the home free of negative energy. In Europe, particularly France, you are unlikely to find a potty in a bathroom. Instead it is in a separate room altogether with no water source. Go figure. Despite the cultural preference, the toilet is out of the closet and fast becoming an integral room of the home.
If you are building your own home, I believe it is never too early to start with the conceptual stage of bathroom design. You can break out of the six by eight box to create a bathroom interactive with the bedroom.

  • For the more daring, a frosted pair of sliding doors can be parted to reveal an inviting tub.
  • For the conventional, a designer glass wall between bed and bath creates a crisp openness while retaining privacy.
  • Confirm the concept before allocating the space for the toilet. This ensures that you do not end up with more cut tiles than whole - a sure indication of a thought- less room.
  • Also, you might want to avoid the swan and daisy themes altogether. There is a vast selection of handmade tiles with wonderful colour and texture which is art in itself. Colour and composition are paramount in today's bathroom.
  • The story of the basin is that of an ugly-duckling-to-swan transformation. The sculptural glass basin mounted on a gleaming counter with a long stemmed tap coming out of the wall is a contemporary classic.
  • An oval stainless steel basin placed in glass is just as arresting.
  • The most suitable washbasin height is a comfortable 34", certainly not any less. Bathtubs and jacuzzis require a lot of hot water.
  • Choose a high capacity geyser, preferably centralized to avoid eyesores in every bathroom.
  • Oval and rectangular tubs have cleaner lines than their exaggerated counterparts.
  • Framing them in an alcove gives a sense of enclosure to the bather.
  • The use of glass bricks in external walls of a bathroom bathe the room in light and the open able window can be artfully positioned within it.
  • Perhaps the most disregarded aspect of every bathroom is the fighting. Harsh down lighters are a perfect setting for a horror movie. Light fixtures on either side of the mirror create a more flattering image of yourself.
  • Do avoid fluorescent light altogether.
  • Also, never forget to keep your lights on dimmers to alter the mood in accordance with your own.

Bathrooms come in as many types as there are people. For most it is unthinkable to answer the call of nature without the morning paper. Others prefer auditioning for singer of the year, and many enjoy their favourite TV soap all lathered up in a tub! This is a room that runs more than hot and cold. It is a room in which you will read, write and dream.