Students in Ghent, Belgium, no longer need to bring a book or pack an iPad to keep them entertained while waiting at the laundromat. At Wasbar, the washers and dryers are arranged along the walls but the centrepiece is the bright mosaic bar, complemented by a mini hair salon. Antwerp design studio Pinkeye has transformed the space so that dorm-dwellers can get a feel for home, albeit a very chic and quirky version of it.
The first clue you’re in a hybrid space is the logo – a clothespin crossed with a bottle opener. Pinkeye, which does interiors, product design and branding for a number of clients (including Coca Cola, Estée Lauder and Kraft), has also branded the space through other design measures – from the colour scheme of salmon, pistacchio, cornflower and royal blue to crowdsourcing names for the dryers, which they call the “grandpas.”
The “grandmas,” of course, are the washers, and the rest of the domestic theme conjures an eclectic grandmother’s home. The parquet flooring, decorative ceiling mouldings and refurbished wooden furnishings (the recycled dining chairs have been repainted in blue and green) altogether convey a homey feel. The bar is clad in an energetic tile mosaic, while the walls are animated by an assortment of drawers. This gesture winks at the idea of rummaging through the past for design inspiration, while providing clever functions, as frames for the bar’s menu, price listings for haircuts, and, in some instances, as planters.
Fashion design studio Black Balloon created laundry bags so that the whole effect isn’t ruined when you have to haul your intimate apparel home in ratty bags. It’s a nice touch, and makes it clear that Pinkeye has thought of everything. What more could you expect from a multidisciplinary studio that puts out its own irreverent design magazine called Whacksmackbang?