Still, the gold medal—at least where statement sinks are concerned—goes to AD100 designer Charles de Lisle, who somehow made bathroom sinks one of the most memorable moments in an already hard-to-forget 1960s San Francisco home, restored with Marmol Radziner.
“Natural materials played an important role in the process of planning the new bathrooms,” explains de Lisle of the Japanese-inspired structure, which connects deeply to its surrounding environment. “We hoped there would be an emotional connection between the site and the materials in the house by exposing how everything was made.”
For the kids’ bathroom—yes, the kids’ bathroom!—de Lisle dodged the go-to vanity and mirror combo and instead paired flexible storage walls with a monolithic sink, cut from a solid block of Belgian bluestone by British designer Max Lamb. The freestanding basin is hand-finished and adorned with brass fixtures—a stop-you-in-your-tracks piece well worth rerouting the plumbing and reinforcing the floors. “It almost acts like a tree stump left out in the woods,” muses de Lisle.
In the home’s powder room, a solid block of elm became a statement sink of another variety, its exterior carved loosely by a chainsaw and the interior smooth and polished—a treatment that felt fitting for the quaint redwood-shingled bath. The custom-designed faucet controls the water so it pours calmly into the bowl, as if descending from a garden hose.
“[They] work best when they make sense within the larger project story and when they genuinely function well,” says de Lisle of his guiding principles for statement sinks. “We love to experiment with the way you navigate the hardware or the tactile edges of the materials—so that even the small details come across when you use the bath,” he adds. “But a provocative sink is not so great if it’s a total disaster to actually use.” A statement made best without deluge, indeed.