It's the last piece we're talking about. These few square meters now take the light and are the object of all the designers' attention.
I'm very proud of our toilets," says Camille Andrieux, co-founder of Habile, a hybrid restaurant, delicatessen and retail outlet for their eponymous clothing brand (Paris 10e).
"The current situation has forced us to spend a lot of time at home. We are more apprehensive about going to the bathroom in public places. We wanted our clients to feel comfortable there. In fact, we started the work with the cabinets, as opposed to the usual, to make sure we had enough money. The chick yellow powder room houses two small mixed-use corners with matching thrones: one pink co-rail overlooking the rooftops of Paris, the other fir green for a rainforest getaway.
We often say that the toilets are the window of a restaurant," says Tigrane Seydoux, co-founder of Big Mamma trattorias. Customers appreciate our efforts to make this place more pleasant. And then, today, a restaurant is thought and lived as a 360° experience. Attention is paid not only to the food, but also to the art of the table, to the light... To the details in general, and the toilets are more than ever part of it. We have our own design studio, in-house, based in London, and we spend hours brainstorming in order to make our washrooms real desti- nations."
In 2015, they installed two-way mirrors on the doors of the toilets in their second address in the capital, Ober Mamma (Paris 11e), confusing visitors in need of privacy. The firm then illustrates itself at La Felicità, XXL food market opened in 2018 within Station F (Paris 13th). Here, each booth transports the user to a different unit, in radical contrast to the guinguette spirit of the surroundings: a mountain chalet and its deer, a Berlin discotheque and its multicolored neon lights, a draped pink cocoon with organic shapes...
To go even further, Habile and Big Mamma have teamed up with the young brand Trone, which offers colorful bathroom fixtures with original lines and strong aesthetics, a sort of UFO in a sea of white ceramic. The brand's two models, one of which has a tank in the shape of a trans-parent tube, are available in many colors and finishes - speckled, two-tone... Passionate about design, the founder, Hugo Volpei, surrounds himself with a team of interior architects and tackles the design of his clients' bathrooms. He likes to create surprises and destabilize the visitor: "Popine, a Parisian pizzeria in Ménilmontant, gave us carte blanche. We thus pointed out false surveillance cameras oversized on the throne. Thanks to a set of neon lights, the user has the impression that a laser is pointed directly at him. According to the owner of the establishment, many people were confused, some of them went out again to make sure that they were not filmed. We like this provocative side, without it turning into a joke, because the goal is above all to make this room and this object desirable. The idea of these atypical sanitary facilities hatched in Hugo's mind while he was dining at Sketch, in London, and went to the shower room imagined by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance. The thirty-year-old is dazzled by the egg-capsules, the futuristic atmosphere, the ceiling with its multicolored tiles... And extremely disappointed when, pushing the door of the "pods", he finds himself face to face with an ordinary ivory-colored bowl.
Cabinet of curiosities
"Colored toilets are in the 1930s, and were at the forefront of fashion in the 1970s and 1980s," says Sam Powell, founder of The Bold Bathroom Company - their vintage-looking toilets available in a multitude of colors were chosen by Luke Edward Hall for the Les Deux Gare hotel (Paris 10). After decades of white, there is a growing interest in bathroom fixtures with character. Especially since the initial confinement and telecommuting imposed by the pandemic, people are desperate to bring excitement and color to their homes. Staring at four chalky walls all day long can be tiring, and the powder room is the perfect place to let your imagination run wild. In fact, the majority of our clients are individuals.
Marion is one of those who go the extra mile in their bathrooms: "We took as much care in decorating our bathroom as we did in the rest of our home. On a trip to Brazil, I discovered an amazing toilet in a restaurant that was in stark contrast to the rest of the place, which inspired me to do the same." Thus, she overloads the small corner with mismatched objects, transforming it into a cabinet of curiosities bathed in subdued light when the rest of the ground floor is a place of immaculate purity. "On a large surface, this bias could have been oppressive.
More and more pop culture aficionados are taking advantage of the toilets to display their passion for films, series or books, from Star Wars to Harry Potter to Spirou. The youtuber Léa Camilleri, with 484,000 subscribers, redecorated her cabinets last April: "I'm a big Jurassic Park fan and I accumulated a lot of objects that ended up hidden in a box. I wanted to find a way to display them and the bathroom seemed like the perfect place." Not much of a do-it-yourselfer, she prefers to tackle her first project with few square meters. Jungle-style wallpaper and wooden planks, lush plants and merchandising of all kinds - a Lego Jeep, a stuffed T. rex head, a fake VIP pass, a map of Isla Nublar, a speaker playing the credits and iconic lines at each door opening... The video of the before and after posted by Lea on Insta- gram accumulates 800,000 views, becoming the most watched on the account of the young woman.
The photographs of singular toilets flourish on social networks, creating a significant buzz for restaurateurs. One evening, a young woman stayed in our toilet for a while, so much so that we were worried," continues Camille Andrieux, from the restaurant-boutique Habile. I went to see: she had brought several outfits and was taking pictures of herself in front of our mirror with a vermilion neon sign over it. The toilet is no longer a neglected, dreaded place, but a place where one feels good and enjoys spending time. A must for Léa's friends: "It's a room that you discover on your own, where you only do one thing. I often hear my guests laughing there. They like to take pictures and film themselves. Making this less-than-glamorous place entertaining helps to de-dramatize the bathroom side of things." ■
Madeleine Voisin - Le Figaro - Friday, February 25, 2022