And the winner is…

Duravit USA followed the launch of three new collections in 2013 with its first-ever North American design contest: the Duravit Designer Dream Bath Competition. It invited North American-based architects and designers to draw up an ideal bath space from products in the new Starck 2, Happy D.2 and DuraStyle collections.

Following an overwhelming response, the company announced Canadian architect Nicolas Koff as the winner of the competition with a design that emphasizes sustainability and Universal Design. “I am very grateful to have been awarded first place in the competition as it is a wonderful opportunity to bring to life a design that otherwise might never have seen the light of day,” says Koff.

Honorable mention awards were given to Alberto Mizuno and Esteban Cruces of Alberto/Esteban and Roberto Deseda of lowercase workshop, which both feature modern and innovative design aesthetics.

“As designers it’s quite humbling, yet immensely satisfying, to be recognized for the work you do, and have that work shared and appreciated by others,” says Mizuno. “That, in and of itself, is all the award one can ever hope for.”

“Having received the honorable mention has afforded us the opportunity to better position our firm with other kitchen and bath professionals,” adds Cruces. “It has made it much easier for our business associates to refer us to potential cliens in need of design professionals.”

“We were very excited to hear Duravit opened this competition to the Americas,” says Deseda, “and, as a young design studio, we were ecstatic to have received an honorable mention!”


• Designer: Nicolas Koff; founder of K-OALA (Koff Office of Architecture and Landscape Architecture) and co-founder of Projexity; Toronto, Canada

Design goal: This bath is part of a large-scale construction and addition to a house in Ancaster, Ontario. Due to health-related reasons, the homeowners required a bedroom and bathroom (with seating in the shower area) on the ground floor.

The master bath itself is the extension of an existing powder room, which due to its location at the center of the new addition, does not have access to natural light, except from the top. A roof meadow is located above the room for aesthetic and environmental reasons. “This provides an amazing opportunity to create a skylight through which the owners can feel more connected to nature,” says Koff.

Design elements: Koff crafted an environmentally thoughtful space that utilizes light and spatial awareness. The result is a functional, calming bathroom. He created a strong division between the bathing/showering area and the sink area with the skylight, choice of materials and Duravit fixtures, which highlight products from all three of the new collections, including a DuraStyle toilet and drop-in bathtub, a Starck 2 washbasin and Happy D.2 console and mirrored and tall cabinets.

The central, linear skylight, which leads people into the room and divides the wet (shower and bathtub) and dry (toilet, storage, counter and sinks) areas of the bathroom, serves as the room’s focal point.

“Dividing the bathroom into two clearly legible spaces creates a diversity of experiences not often found in small spaces,” he says, noting that the design stands out through its ability to transform a small space into a comfortable, accessible and versatile space. “The bathroom, nonetheless, doesn’t feel disjointed, unified by the central skylight.”

“We found Nicolas’ design to stand out due to the creative way in which he blended Duravit’s introductions with environmentally friendly design,” says Tim Schroeder, Duravit USA president. “We applaud his ability to imaginatively create an accessible bathroom for all ages.”


• Designer: Alberto Mizuno and Esteban Cruces; Alberto/Esteban; Miami, FL

Design goal: This master bath space is part of an uber-luxurious penthouse master suite with sleek, minimalist sensibilities in the prestigious Bal Harbour neighborhood of Miami Beach. The designers took an otherwise ordinary space plan, with cramped quarters and less-than-optimal views, and transformed it into the ultimate beach pad, complete with an elevated bathroom platform. The dramatically reconfigured open-concept room optimizes the use of space while maximizing ocean views and exposure to natural light. “What we wanted to do was bring the outside in,” says Mizuno. “We wanted to focus on maximizing views and bringing more light into the space.”

Design elements: The 520-square-foot elevated platform seemingly floats atop an illuminated base, providing optimal views from nearly every corner. Its floor is finished with reclaimed wood – set in a chevron pattern to complement the floor in the master bedroom – that contrasts with polished Statuario Venato marble in the bath, water closet and shower areas.

A second elevated platform, in teak, supports the built-in DuraStyle tub and is accented with an illuminated plinth, also finished in Statuario Venato marble.

The back wall features a full-height black smoke mirror finish that acts as a backdrop to the American walnut DuraStyle tall cabinetry and custom vanity stations. The stations feature DuraStyle mirrors and wall-mounted shelf units with corresponding washbasins, providing additional integrated storage and illuminated product/toiletries display shelves. A third DuraStyle vanity/washbasin is located in the water closet, which also features a DuraStyle wall-mount toilet and bidet. The water closet sits behind double-laminated switchable privacy glass that can be changed from revealing glass to opaque glass that dons a steel blue-gray hue.

“We’ve essentially elevated the role of the bathroom in the master suite,” says Cruces. “We’ve opened up the space, exte`nding the experience into the bedroom, all the while keeping it separate and accommodating one’s need for privacy.”


• Designer: Roberto Deseda, principal; lowercase workshop; Philadelphia, PA

Design goal: The project was a master bedroom and master bathroom renovation that used the existing bones of a 1970s tropical concrete house in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Although it was originally designed to be a house constantly open to the continuous tropical climate, it had slowly sealed itself off from the elements after numerous renovations due to an ever-growing trend for climate-controlled rooms. Over the last two years, Deseda, who works with architect/designer Adria Longenderfer at the firm, worked with the client to create a naturally lit and ventilated house with living rooms that blur into patios, bedrooms cooled by the trade winds (vientos alisios) of Puerto Rico and a kitchen with planted herbs growing right by stovetops.

“The design is an escape…an escape from stuffy indoors and from noisy, mechanical exhausts typical of bathrooms,” says Deseda. “It embraces the original design intent of the house, to invite natural light and ventilation throughout. Now the dream bathroom can exist as a part of its tropical, lush and airy environment, bathing itself in sunlight and refreshing itself with a breeze.”

Design elements: The next step in this interior/exterior blend was the master bedroom and bath. Two smaller, interconnected bedrooms were combined to form the large master suite. The bathroom is surrounded on two sides by a private interior patio, allowing an open-air bathing area.

The bathing area consists of two showers (one indoor and one outdoor) that step up to a Happy D.2 tub facing a raised planter filled with ferns and palms to further an intimate and private setting. “Mid shower, you could hop from an interior rainshower to an exterior one, or go up a few steps to the tub, where the tub and a terraced garden are at the same level,” he explains.

The toilet room, which features a Happy D.2 close-coupled toilet, is separate to maintain an open and shareable bathroom space.

Large, reclaimed blackened steel shelves allow light to enter deeper into the space and reflect off the large mirror facing the Happy D.2 dual grinded washbasins. The unpolished, dark finish of the focal point shelving unit contrasts the clean, reflective materials of the bathroom and its fixtures. “It also separates more intimate moments in the bathroom without dividing the space or interrupting natural light, ventilation or views,” says Deseda.