Of the U.S. ones, one caught my attention.... And, although 2 are located in NYC [I'll have to check those out], the one that jumped out was located on the campus of my alma mater!
Yes, the best bathroom for a 'Cerebral Experience' can be found at the Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton, MA. Talk about being floored! I remember nice bathrooms in my day, but nothing along these lines - and I was an art history major!
"These two bathrooms, besides being functional, make profound statements about creation and water."
Two artists participated in the creation of the bathrooms: Sandy Skolund created the men's room, titled "Liquid Origins, Fluid Dreams" in 2002. Ellen Driscoll created the women's room, titled "Catching the Drift" also in 2002.
"Artist Sandy Skoglund [class of 1968] created a giant 3-D checkerboard in her men’s room Liquid Origins, Fluid Dreams. The artist based her designs on 10 myths associated with water and the creation of the universe. The images reflect the two most primary human functions, creation and cleansing.
Ellen Driscoll's women’s bathroom is a deep blue watery world, called Catching the Drift. Around the room—on the walls, in the sinks, in the toilets—are painted images of fishing nets, hooks, and various flora and fauna relating to the sea. The artist also incorporated four images of women. “The images are in profile, so they’re gazing at each other, but they’re also looking at you,” the artist said. “I like that bit of tension.” "
Photos of "Catching the Drift" are available here and photos of the installation of "Liquid Origins, Fluid Dreams" are available here along with drawings of the ten myths referred to above.
The Smith College website includes this interesting writeup on the bathrooms and states that they "blur the boundaries between form and function as well as personal and public space." Photos of the 2 are available here, too.
You can also read more about the project in this article titled Flush with Art by John MacMillan. He writes that both artists have "transformed the fixtures ... into pieces of art that suggest fanciful spaces and extend the gallery experience into hidden corners of the building. "It's the idea of taking art off the walls and using every aspect of the building for art".
Now, I'm not necessarily suggesting that you transform your store and its bathrooms into an art gallery, but what if you projected some of the fun and whimsy and obvious commitment to elevating the bathroom experience to your retail experience? Don't you want to take and use every aspect of your flooring store to project a strong message about your knowledge and passion for your product AND your consumer?
Interestingly, the Kohler Company [maker of bathroom fixtures] is active in supporting bathroom design efforts. So even the most utilitarian and functional items in our lives can be sources of art. Imagine these totally amazing works of art by Clark Sorenson in your mensrooms. Admit that these would forever change how your customers perceive your retail experience!
And, if for some reason, you need a portable solution, then consider reading the Springwise Newsletter trend about "Luxury loos on location" featuring Igloos.co in the U.K. These, too, will forever change your expectations!
Given these examples, I hope you'll consider that your bathrooms represent significant opportunities... to create your very own best cerebral bathroom experience for your retail environment!
Check out the latest Bathroom Blogfest '06 postings from the following participants:
- Susan Abbott at Customer Experience Crossroads just posted Differentiating and the Zone of Goodness.
- Reshma Anand at What I Do For A Living just posted about "Bathroom blogfest week - Restrooms v/s toilets...not just a matter of semantics".
- Linda Tischler at Fast Company's blog FC Now just posted The Princess and the Pee: A Customer Experience Fable in which she brings Paco Underhill into the conversation!
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