40 color plates, 80 halftones
6 x 8 1/2
Most of us take modern bathrooms for granted—they are an essential part of our homes, but we ignore the complex network of pipes, pumps, and treatment plants that make up indoor plumbing’s infrastructure. Telling the story of one of the world’s greatest feats of engineering and mass production, Bathroom
follows the room’s evolution and the lifestyle it enables.
Considering how and why the bathroom emerged, Barbara Penner describes how it became an international symbol of key modern values such as cleanliness, order, and progress. She explores how colonialism, the media, fashion, world expositions, and tourism led to the bathroom being exported across the globe and explains the tensions this process has caused. While Penner investigates bidets, high-tech toilets, cast-iron bathtubs, and walk-in showers, she also ponders the low-tech, sustainable alternatives available to us. Filled with illustrations, Bathroom is an amusing and eye-opening cultural history of one of our most used but overlooked rooms.