When you hear this idea, you’ll be tempted to smack your hand on your forehead and do your best Homer Simpson impression: a laundromat that serves food, drinks and is a place to gather and relax while your clothes wash? Doh! Laundromats normally conjure up images of flourescent lighting and sad-looking people staring into tumble dryers, but Wasbar in Ghent, Belgium is perfectly lit, pastel-painted and bustling with people sipping beers, drinking coffee or even getting a haircut.
The concept was realized by Antwerp-based design studio, who wanted to design a space that was comfortable and inviting. The color scheme is shades of pistachio, salmon and cornflower blue, and the washers and dryers all have names, promoting a sense of familiarity and good joke or two.
Laundromats are usually eyesores with the complicated venting system and wiring covering the walls, so the design team had to figure out how to keep all the piping ensconced in the walls, while still functioning correctly. Said Pinkeye’s creative director Ruud Belmans:
There’s nothing about a washing machine which says it has to stand in an unpleasant space.
The concept is centered around the premise that these days, people are very protective of their time. Spending an hour or two doing laundry can be quite a time-waste, so it was about transforming the experience into a positive one. There are tables for people to sit at and enjoy a beverage or quiche slice from the cafe. In the back, sits two salon chairs where one can get a haircut while they wait.
Wasbar is not only a laundromat, it is a social club, a place for people to get away from it all for a bit, have some conversation and a cold beer. There is less of a waiting mentality and more of a hanging out vibe. Getting your clothes clean is a happy consequence.
Check out more photos below, as well as a video, which may not be in English but certainly shows off the vibe of Wasbar: