10/07/2014

The Barbican Sink

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If a television set mated with a urinal, what would it look like?

I first saw this sink in World of Interiors back in 2005 or so.  That magazine always has an old world strangeness that this particular sink totally embodies. 

It is set up like a 1960's TV, with hot and cold arranged in VHF/UHF fashion, and the recess shaped like a picture tube.  There are mod-ish little bumps to hold soap, and the design in general has little lozenge-like corners that lend a tiny bit of Carnaby Street pop to the analog/rotary simplicity. Think dials.

The water comes down from the top of the "screen," a fun surprise. I often have to cram a utilitarian bathroom into a small space and this sink takes up almost no area in plan; it just requires a slightly thickened wall.

I have bought four of these sinks. The first two were for my now defunct restaurant on the Lower East Side, shown in the picture from Apartment Therapy above. There was one upstairs and one downstairs, and I would guess many downstairs bar patron has confused it for a urinal.  See comments.

The third was for myself. I recall thinking that my Freudian sister, who has always feared unfamiliar plumbing, would be terrified by this when I finally got it in my own house.

It was in a box for years as my project was deferred; finally as a gift to some favorite Southampton clients we put it in a handsome cypress-paneled lavatory. It was perfect in the tiny space, against the modern horizontality of the shiplap's grain.

The genius and urbane architect Brian Sawyer liked the ones in my restaurant and used them in his own incredibly tasteful new office space. It made me happy to wash my hands there several years back.

I shared my source for these in Canada with Brian, as they are made by Twyford, a UK company not represented in the U.S., to my knowledge. I was distressed to see on the Twyford website that the precious little creation had been discontinued at the time! We scoured England and found one in stock, the fourth now sits in its box waiting for me.