The Japanese aesthetic of imperfection and simplicity is expressed in the use of raw plumbing pipes.
Raw copper plumbing pipes and valves are an industrial look often embraced by avant garde architects. I adore my sink jewelry but piping has its own kind of graceful beauty that I also could easily live with in the right space. The Japanese put a name to the look – wabi-sabi – which is a bit of a catchall but then, so is “rustic.” In Africa and Asia, where sink fixtures can be affected by tropical weather, it’s a practical approach and often paired with concrete sinks. In the U.S. it becomes more of a style statement that gets greatest traction in mudrooms and greenhouses. Traditional Moroccan copper bathroom sink fixtures [top] fall into this category and, indeed, are paired with a poured concrete sink in this bathroom. In Moroccan homes, concrete is a more affordable alternative to traditional tadelakt, or plaster.
A plain cold-water plumbing pipe, protruding from the stone, is simply fitted with a brass tap spigot as a wall-mounted fixture. This all-purpose faucet serves a shallow, antique limestone farm sink.
The unused garage on a country property of an Alpine weekend house was transformed by Italian architects into an upscale gardening-oriented space (covered by green vegetation!) that also includes a kitchen and entertaining area. The concrete sink is fitted with galvanized steel plumbing with lever handles fitted on valves.
A Pennsylvania greenhouse sink was designed by the manager of the farm property who paired it with a simple copper-pipe spout and repurposed green-glass doorknobs for hot and cold handles.
Serious hot and cold water shut-off valves (which most of us hide under our sinks or behind appliances) were attractively worked into an elemental bathroom sink for home on Langkawi Island, Malaysia. I would love to steal this look for a kitchen or laundry.