Ophelia is a design experiment. The concept is to deconstruct stereotypical notions and perceptions about the bath as an object. By dismissing standard visual cues & focusing on functionality I was able to establish a new character & a fresh way of perceiving the product.
Ophelia is a look at the bath from a different perspective, an approach free of technical constraints and established frames of reference. The result is a harmonious synthesis of both organic and geometric forms, a feeling frozen in time, a compromise between functionality and form, perception and space.
Ophelia is an attempt to capture fleeting experiences such as our dreams or the feeling of weightlessness. The goal of the project is to create new feelings and experiences, both physical and visual.
The main driver in the construction and usability of Ophelia was the use of cutting edge materials and technology. The bath’s main element is a flexible silicone-nylon membrane stretched onto a steel frame. The entire construction, membrane included, is attached to steel cables that suspend it from the ceiling. The result is the illusion of a flat surface levitating in mid-air.
The bath is filled through the drain. The water is supplied through a flexible, multi-layered pipe that houses both the draining passage and the water supply in one. The water’s temperature is regulated electronically. As soon as water starts to fill the bath, the membrane stretches, expands and drops with the increasing weight. The membrane houses a network of nano-cables that imitate muscle strands, stiffening when the water reaches its maximum level, effectively freezing the bath just above the surface of the floor. The nano-cables have a pre-programmed shape memory that causes them to stiffen and remain solid at maximum stretch, creating a stable water cocoon, strong and stiff enough to enable entering and coming out of the bath. Integrated LED fibres light up the cocoon with a subtle & sensual glow that grows in intensity the more stretched the membrane gets & the more full of water the bath becomes. As soon as the water starts to drain out through the elastic pipe, the nano-cables lose their stiffness and even glow. With the slowly diminishing weight of the water, they retract to their initial state.