Haven’t I Seen This Somewhere Before? Memento Washbasin by Villeroy & Boch

Readers will remember that, back in 2001, director Christopher Nolan made an auspicious cinematic debut with Memento—a film that asked the ageless question, “what would one do if he could only remember five minutes into his past?” Why, tattoo his body with permanent clues and reminders, of course, came the movie’s answer–not of the “don’t forget take out the trash” variety, but rather the eerie and chillingly noirish sort of sign that lends itself to high intrigue, as, for instance, “Mr. X is the killer…” Suffice it to say that the meaning of the term has not been the same since.

Memento. By Villeroy & Boch.

Now manufacturers Villeroy & Boch compound this pervasive feeling of Deja Vu with their Memento line of washbasins. Inspired by the ageless design of the Bauhaus, V & B’s Memento debuted some three years back. Available then exclusively in the starkest visage of black and white, Memento was “characterized by a very sleek design: the pure and simple minimalist rectangular form is an expression of perfection… it skillfully combines functionality and rationality, shunning superficiality to focus on that which is meaningful and essential.” The severe rectangular form and limited color palette of Memento (version 1) was a true homage to the Bauhaus, for whom the superfluities of decoration or aesthetic access were an indulgence to be eschewed. And I certainly appreciate the gesture, but that doesn’t mean I object to V & B’s inspired re-invention that they call New Glory: “featuring a neo-baroque décor firmly rooted in the tradition of floral motifs.”




The new pieces hearken back to the arts and crafts movement, which is an interesting choice given that the two philosophies—though compatible in several respects—ultimately diverged regarding the acceptance or rejection of modern industrial techniques. Of course, perhaps this is precisely the point, because the Baroque stylings of New Glory will likely inspire a renewed sense of Deja Vu, making you feel as if you were living an alternative history, one in which William Morris accepted the propositions of Gropius, Klee, et al., and incorporated mechanized production into his designs.

The short way of saying this is that Memento deftly blends influences from multiple schools of thought, combining the flair of Baroque elegance with the clean lines of the high modern. New Glory comes in a matte finish with white on black, as well as the ever-subtle white on white, or platinum on white ceramic. And the popularity of the piece has prompted Villeroy and Bosch to offer it in an expanded range of sizes: at 50, 60, 80, 100, or 120 cm (with double or single taps), you’re bound to find a size and shade that fits your needs. And of course, it’s still offered in the original black and white. With so many options, Memento seems to be everywhere at once and nowhere in particular, how’s that for deja vu!

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