May 19, 2024

9 Home Designs That Evoke the Flow of Water

This article is part of our Design special section about water as a source of creativity.


Water is a popular motif with product designers because it symbolizes tranquillity and clarity. But this force of nature also “adds movement, freedom and flow in a space,” said Golnar Roshan, who with her partner, Ruben de la Rive Box, recently introduced a rug collection called Fluid that evokes the moody skies reflected in the canals of Amsterdam, where they live.

“I like to mix worlds that seem far apart, create unexpected connections and imaginative short circuits between things,” Paola Navone, a designer in Milan, said of her collection of new pendant lights with diffusers of milky white or limpid blue glass that visually create an oceanic sway. (The lamps are called Oblò, which is Italian for “porthole.”)

These and other fresh, splashy products are presented here.

The interlocking handblown vases by the Los Angeles artist and designer Mansi Shah — part of her first housewares line, Manu Nanu — fit together like molecules. “The glass itself possesses a water-like quality,” she said, adding that she likes to keep the vases on a windowsill, where sunlight passes through and casts shadows that “dance and shift like ripples.” Available in amber, cobalt blue and teal for $80. manunanu.com

After producing a ceiling lamp with a bulbous glass filament that rises from the center to evoke a water drop splashing in a pool, Beacon Custom Lighting followed with its Pond decanter. Designed by Dean Maltz, a New York City architect, the handblown carafe is $260. beaconcustomlighting.com

The Chinese American artist Tina Scepanovic discovered what she described as the “hidden power” of water while swimming competitively as a teenager. For her Narcissus catchall, she applied the loose gestures of Chinese brush painting to metal sculpture to encapsulate the object’s qi, or vital energy. “The pool form is a portal into another dimension,” she said. Available in bronze or white brass for $650. oblist.com

“To construct or deconstruct, water is your tool,” said Joseph Algieri, a New York City designer. In his Construction vases, a flood of pigmented foam breaks through the ceramic barriers, defeating any expectation that water should be contained in a vessel. Available for $850. josephalgieri.com

“I am a Pisces and water is my natural element,” said Paola Navone about Oblò, her nautical-inspired lighting for the Italian company Lodes. The pendant lamps are suspended like buoys with “no sense of earth or gravity,” she said. Available in three bulbous shapes and five finishes; price upon request. lodes.com/en/

The Windy collection by Oki Sato, the founder of the Tokyo design studio Nendo, consists of grès porcelain tiles with subtly incised patterns like the marks made by a breeze on the surface of water, rice paddies and grasslands. The tiles, which are produced by Decoratori Bassanesi, come in four patterns and four colors: Rice, Almond, Dolomite and Pepper, at $18 per square foot. decoratoribassanesi.it

Describing the origins of her Fluid rug collection for the Dutch company Moooi, Golnar Roshan of the Amsterdam design firm Rive Roshan recalled that the floor of her canal-side studio “was almost level with the water, a few feet from the front door.” She added, “The way it rippled and reflected the light and the sky had this intriguing influence.” Available in rectangular and circular versions, from $3,250. moooi.com/us

The Wave series produced by Kast, an English concrete basin company, complements the bathroom’s default theme of water. The curvy fixtures, called Tilde, Dune and Prim, are available in 28 colors — including Storm (blue) and Brick (terra cotta). The Dune basin shown is $3,225. kastconcretebasins.com

The rim of the Tanba basket by Enkay follows the sinuous lines of a river. “Water motifs have an enduring place in interior design because of the softness they bring to spaces, especially as accents,” said the company’s founder, Asha Chaudhary. The baskets are handwoven with ilala palm leaves sourced from Zimbabwe. The small version is 18 inches in diameter and $408. enkay.com