There is always an abundance of innovative production techniques at Milan Design Week, though we saw few that rivaled the exquisite craftsmanship and unconventionality of Studio Thol's Bathtub. Dutch designer Thomas Linseen beautifully showcases the skeletal structure that gives the tub its shape, and the sculptural tub explores the limits of fiber-reinforced plastics and molded wood with its laminated strips of American white oak and a polyester and marble composite (which Linseen also developed).
By adapting the wooden frame's shape from a Craftsman-influenced lounge chair, the tub lends a familiar feeling not often felt while submerged in water. During the tub's construction process the inside surface is wrapped in fiberglass matting and filled with water, allowing the semi-malleable fiberglass to distend with liquid and subtly expose the skeletal wooden frame. Once the matting has taken shape the water is drained and a layer of marble composite is laid in its place. When it hardens the wooden frame skeleton is accentuated, "as you can see bones through skin."
A continuation of Linssen's 2006 graduation project from the Design Academy Eindhoven, the bathtub is now ready for production. Each handmade tub sells for €12,000 and takes up to two months to build. For more information on Linssen and his artisanal designs contact Studio Thol directly.