Sarah Poniatowski’s interpretation of individualism as part of AXOR’s Project Distinctive, which celebrates individualism, has inspired a one-of-a-kind bathroom where the indoor and outdoor seamlessly blend. AXOR’s collaboration with Philippe Starck highlights a refined and contemporary minimalism, set within colour and material contrasts, to create the ultimate nature enveloped sanctuary, evoking an idyllic, nostalgic quality.

Poniatowski, the founder of Paris based Maison Sarah Lavoine enthuses, “I have a deep connection with the south-west region of France. It’s so authentic, and nature is everywhere. It’s the most relaxing place in the world for me. This is where the inspiration stems from. The goal was to emphasise the surroundings with an indoor-outdoor bathroom and create a relaxing space with a summer holiday feeling.”

Poniatowski’s bathroom concept dissolves the boundary between the indoors and the elements. Natural materials such as raw pine and travertine fill the interior, striped in sunlight that passes through folding windows with wooden louvres. Teal tiles cover the shower and bath area, flowing through a teak-framed doorway and onto a shaded terrace structured with exposed pine beams. The outdoor shower area offers a seamless continuation of the interior aesthetic, and the effect is only heightened by the AXOR Starck Nature Shower; an iconic design object that expresses the simple elegance and beauty of AXOR Starck. “The multiple entries and the full, open windows reflect the need to connect with nature and the surroundings,” the designer explains. “The room is as open as the mind of the individual.”

Poniatowski conceived the bathroom for a personality who is “curious about everything”, and who “loves to travel the world yet knows when to stand still and contemplate.” She describes the bathroom itself as “a place where you can daydream yet relax, be creative yet stand still, enjoy the outside while being in your very own bubble. It’s all about balance. Hence the choice to play with contrasts.”

Nowhere are the bathroom’s contrasts more apparent than in the choice of colors. Pairing aubergine with emerald-blue, teal with pale pinks and yellows, the palette reflects “a creative, dynamic spirit,” says Poniatowski. The same principle extends to the choice of materials, which “bring a strong sense of authenticity and are a good balance with the contemporary design of the faucet created by Philippe Starck, the bathtub and the basin.”

Finished here in the AXOR FinishPlus surface Brushed Bronze, the AXOR Starck collection adds a refined, minimalist edge to Poniatowski’s concept. “The design of the AXOR Starck collection is very distinctive,” the designer observes. “It was important to create a setting in line with it: Emphasize it but don’t overwhelm it, and vice versa.” Two AXOR Starck faucets set accents against the travertine washbasin, an effect repeated at the bathtub with a floor-standing AXOR Starck faucet. Featured both indoors and out, the slender AXOR Starck Shower Column follows the linearity of the long, exposed pine beams and contrasts with the idiosyncratic Zellige tiles.

Commenting on the wider trend towards individualisation, Poniatowski links back to her own work. “To me, it is about designing projects that consider a person as a whole: their taste, their needs, their lifestyle. No one is the same, and this is what I love about my job — meeting people and creating something like nothing before.”

Individualisation has emerged as one of the mega-trends of our time. With globalisation advancing, creating a sense of sameness through standardised products and one-size-fits-all solutions, people everywhere seek more personal expressions of luxury, style and well-being. A widespread and rising sense of uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity has only accelerated the trend, especially in the home, creating a demand for spaces and objects that reflect one’s own personality. How can architects and interior designers better understand their clients’ personal evolving desires, developing distinctive and sustainable long-term solutions that give meaning and satisfaction for years to come? And how can their clients get to spaces designed for their very individual needs? These and other questions are explored in our new project DISTINCTIVE”, says Anke Sohn, Head of Global Brand Marketing AXOR.