INTERVIEW With ROLF SENTI,
FOUNDER OF BAGNO SASSO AG


Baths are usually made of plastics such as acrylic or are made of steel. Why do you make baths out of wood?

Basically, natural materials such as wood have always inspired me. Wood has an unusual touch, look and simply feels good. Baths made of wood create a good atmosphere in a room, they radiate warmth. This aspect is important, especially in modern architecture where so much natural stone and concrete is used. Women often have cold feet, cold hands (laughs); they then feel really cosy in a wooden bath (laughs). And the look …



… is of elementary significance for you as the producer of extravagant lounge bathrooms!?

Sure! With a wooden bath you can also express feelings – for example, our "wooden bathroom shell" is a very soulful element in the bathroom. You don't necessarily have to bath in it every day; you can also get pleasure in simply looking at the bath. Our wooden baths are objets d'art, made by painstaking manual work, with a great deal of love of detail. Each bath is one of a kind, made exactly according to the wishes of the customer. So each customer gets their dream bath.



A bath used to be purely a utilitarian object. Nobody thought of feeling good, of pleasure when they thought of a bath. Attitudes and the expectations in baths have obviously changed?

You can guarantee that we now set completely different standards for baths than was the case thirty or forty years ago. I think an evolution began in the bathroom around fifteen or twenty years ago. Since then, design and look have played a far greater role. Baths far different to the familiar shapes and material are in demand. And we were pioneers in this. We tinkered and tried to place products on the market that weren't known in that form until then…



… and you were successful.

It was the only way for us to survive as a small business. When you start the competition is so large that you have to be much more creative and innovative than the competition in order to survive. But there are no flukes in life (laughs). You simply have to make sure that you find a niche in which you can be successful.





Back to wood again. What is it about wood, in veneer, that fascinates you?

What's fascinating about it? With wood you can build almost anything … you could build a car, a bicycle or even wooden baths There are virtually no limits for wood. Veneer is very thinly cut wood, which is ideally suited to the production of baths, because it bends so well and can also be used for extreme radii…, but who knows, in a few years maybe I'll be making bicycles out of wood or something completely different.



But there is a reason why you produce baths and not other fitments made of wood? What is your personal relationship to the bath?

Well I shouldn't say so really, but in fact I'm not really a "bather" but a "showerer". But if I do have a bath, then I take a bottle of wine with me into the bathroom and relax in the bath, think about my future, my life, all the things I could still do. Especially when the weather's bad, it is nice if you don't have to go out but have your own spa at home where you feel good and can charge the batteries for the day.



And this attitude towards bathrooms is obviously shared by an increasing number of people. Who are your customers? Do you have typical customers?

No, there are no typical customers. Our customers can be found worldwide. We currently supply sixty percent of our products abroad, especially in the Middle East, in the Arabian countries. We have also already delivered wooden baths to Dubai, where we bleached the veneer beforehand so that the bath is in the colour white that predominates in Dubai but nonetheless the structure of the wood stays identifiable.



Not all wooden baths are produced by you in-house. In some cases your design idea is implemented by "others". How do you find suitable producers? What is particularly important for you for the collaboration?

Yes, it is in fact very difficult, which is why this is now one of my main tasks. If we have designed products, then we look for the suitable manufacturer, we have a large network that we can fall back on, which has grown over the years. The most important requirement for the collaboration is trust. It is also important to regularly exchange ideas about the implementation during the production process.



Apropos ideas. Where do you get your best ideas for new products?

I mostly have my best ideas in the airplane, because here I have the time to switch off, there are no telephone calls to disturb me. I therefore hope that phoning is never allowed in aircraft (laughs).



… so not when you're lying in a foam bath?

No I like to listen to music in the bath. And sometimes there are two of you in the bath and you might have other ideas … (laughs).



FEELING GOOD IN A DESIGNER BATHROOM

GOODBYE BATHROOM POD - ROLF SENTI DESIGNS AWARD-WINNING BATHS MADE OF VENEES.


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