Since I happen to be currently sharing a 600 square foot apartment with my wife and our two dogs, today’s product strikes a particular chord for me. This is because the space constraints of my current living situation have forced me to minimize my assortment of grooming accoutrements. Just so, OMC’s Erk Bathroom System prototype (designed by Turkey's Onur Mustak Coblani) aims for a gender-specific incarnation of the vanity. Created with an eye to the holy trinity of male ablution (hand-washing, tooth-brushing, and shaving), Erk’s long and narrow silhouette stacks compartments for the bare essentials one above the next, thus saving space.
Erk System Bathroom. Designed by Onur Mustak Coblani for OMC Design.
The genesis of Coblani’s idea was his continual frustration with conventional vanities, which, in his view, are frequently over-sized monstrosities that mostly cater to the grooming needs of women. Coblani’s solution is to acknowledge the different requirements of the sexes : “the best way is to have two separate sinks and mirrors and my system aims to do that by creating a buffer space for man in the bathroom… No need to put a huge cosmetics cabinet! No need for a gigantic mirror!” He further explains that the stark blue coloration is meant as a species of territorial indicator. Thus, in directly reflecting the spare space, the outline of the entire structure reminds us of its efficiency. Coblani envisions simple production requirements for the piece, with wood casing, metal-casted holders, ceramic sink, metal faucet, and mirror.
While I applaud the streamlined design and space-saving ethos of the project, I must admit to a mixed reaction. Though there is certainly much to be gained by recognizing the differences in individual usage–and consequently the different space requirements—Coblani risks stereotyping both genders. There are certainly many women who eschew the prototypical duffel bag full of cosmetics in favor of minimal facial adornment, and perhaps even more men whose below-sink storage is filled to the nines with green tea facial rinse, sea salt exfoliant scrub, and the like—especially in this age of the Metrosexual. Even so, the project is certainly worthy of further exploration. I remain eager to see Coblani’s Erk in production soon.