DAVID DESMOND (see email and web addresses below) is a friend and LA designer of grand formal houses and smaller more eclectic spaces. He chose a unique inspiration for the following blog post. Thank you David for this weekâ€™s entry of THE PERFECT BATH:
When I think about the Perfect Bath I envision an Art Deco bathroom at the Imperial Hotel in New Delhi, one with white marble floors and walls, jali windows and a freestanding white porcelain tub. I beheld this bath 23 years ago at the end of the first day during my first trip to India, when the sights and sounds of the city were ringing in my ears, like the throngs of people, auto rickshaws, ambassador automobiles, cows and wild monkeys that filled the streets. Returning to the hotel late that day and soaking in the quiet of the large well-appointed bath was restorative, even meditative. I can still remember the citrus fragrance of the soap (Eau d’Orange Vert by Hermes — it remains a favorite).
Years later I decorated a new house at the beach in southern California, designed by architect Frederick Fisher. Its master bathroom mirrored the Indian one in surprising ways. As in New Delhi, the beach house bathroom floors were white marble, large slabs of snow white Thassos from Greece. The walls, however, were natural concrete, except for the shower wall, clad floor to ceiling in the same white marble as the floors. This juxtaposition of surfaces gave the room a modern edge.
Instead of jali windows, the double doors to the beach house bathroom incorporated diamond-patterned trellis panels over opaque glass, designed by Roy McMakin. The quality of light in both rooms was the same, however: diffuse and slightly mysterious.
In both bathrooms the tub took center stage. At the beach, a white enameled cast iron tub for two that is normally built in was envisioned instead as a freestanding piece by Roy McMakin, seemingly suspended in space. The black underside, always hidden from view, was exposed in this installation– providing a striking contrast to the white marble floor. In one respect the beach house tub is more Indian than its Indian counterpart: it appears to float like a magic carpet. And yet both tubs were designed to be vessels for reverie.
I attach photos of jalis and other examples of Mughal architecture from a more recent Indian trip, along with photos of the beach house bathroom. Although I never photographed the Indian bathroom, I can still see it, etched firmly in memory.
David Desmond, Inc.
1360 North Crescent Heights Boulevard, 4C
Los Angeles, California 90046-4503
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