391 Bidets

The bidet is quite a particular bathroom fixture. It is absolutely necessary in Italian bathrooms while almost unknown in most of the countries in the world. It makes people puzzled when they arrive in Italy because they don’t know what it is for. It is used to wash your intimate parts after you use the toilet and it is a valid complement to the shower since it allows for a more accurate cleansing of specific parts of the body.

It was invented in France between the XVII and the XVIII century allegedly by Christophe Des Rosieres. It was installed for the first time at the French royal palace. It was initially installed in the bedroom and only later it was placed in the the bathroom, maybe during the Victorian age, probably after the first water systems were installed. It was introduced in Italy by Naples’ Queen Mary Caroline Hapsburg-Lorraine who wanted to install one in the Caserta Royal Palace. It spread quickly in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and after the Union of Italy, it spread all over the peninsula. Its use became popular during the XX century. History tells us that House of Savoy’s officers, when they saw it for the first time, catalogued it as a “guitar shaped object for an unknown use”. Nowadays, an Italian bathroom without a bidet is unconceivable. Italy is, indeed, the only country in the world where bidet installation is mandatory (Health Ministry Decree July 5th 1975). In France, where the bidet was invented, it was progressively eliminated for budget and space reasons it is still installed in other Mediterranean countries, though, such as Spain, Portugal and Greece.

How to choose the right bidet? Ergonomy, first of all. A standard bidet is 40-45 x 55-65 cm, at a variable height going from 37 to 40 cm. In case of small bathrooms, you can choose compact ones that are shorter than 45 – 50 cm and 35 – 38 cm narrow. Even if the design of this object has been inflected in the most diverse styles, round or squared shapes, the size is almost mandatory.

Design the space carefully. Remember that you need to use a frontal usage space of about 75 cm, with at least a 15 cm distance between bidet and other fixtures or walls. For your convenience, you want to install bidet and toilet on the same wall in order to use the same raceway for the draining tubes. If put one beside the other, toilet and bidet take about 130 – 140 cm space, so to have a functional 22 – 25 cm space between the two pieces. You can also install them on opposite walls. In this case you need at least 160 – 180 cm between a wall and the other. Installation on opposite walls is visually pleasant but less convenient from a practical point of view because you use these fixtures one after the other. If these configurations are not possible for space reasons, you can install them on a corner.

Which bidet should you choose? Traditionally bidets are installed on the floor, just like toilets. Nowadays, wall hung bidets are becoming popular because they let you clean the floor more easily. In small bathrooms, hung bidets enlarge the visual space.

Don’t forget the style! Match the bidet to the floor tiles, the wall claddings and other fixtures and imagine the kind of atmosphere you want to give to your bathroom. If you like vintage style choose a classic style bidet which is an ideal match for central freestanding bathtubs with old-looking feet and taps. If you love design, choose among contemporary style bidets. You can unleash your creativity with curvy shapes or squared, sharp cornered models to match with mono-command chromed taps. Style experimentation also regards materials. If the classic white vitreous chine is the most common choice (and the best from a constuction and budget point of view), designers push themselves to try new materials such as Pietraluce®, glass, stainless steel or even carbon fiber.
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