A striking Union Jack bath created by online bathroom retailer BathEmpire.com has made a splash at Grand Designs Live.
The one-off design was revealed on the Coventry-based company’s stand to crowds on the opening day of the contemporary home show at Birmingham’s NEC.
The bath was transformed with a graffiti-inspired interpretation of the red, white and blue flag to commemorate the first BathEmpire Day and will eventually be sold to raise money for charity.
The company commandeered May 24 as BathEmpire Day for the first time this year after discovering that the date was once celebrated as Empire Day on what was Queen Victoria’s birthday.
It came up with the idea of inviting a leading artist to paint their interpretation of a Union Flag on one of its free-standing baths – and in keeping with the royal link, chose a Victorian slipper bath as the first one to be customised by established local street artist John McKeown.
Jo Cook, Events Project Manager at BathEmpire.com, said: “We’re thrilled with the bath. It’s such an eye-catching design and will certainly add the wow factor to any bathroom.
“It’s been great to work with John and see his design on paper come to life. We’re hoping that thousands of visitors will get to see the bath before it’s eventually sold with the proceeds going to a local charity.
“We will then be working with a different artist around next year’s BathEmpire Day to create another Union Flag bath so that it becomes an annual event.”
John is founder of Coventry-based Bring Colour, which produces customised artwork as well as delivering workshops in schools and youth clubs.
He said: “When asked to produce a piece of artwork to be painted on a bath for BathEmpire Day, I looked at what the Union Flag represents. I felt the original design was very structured and reflected a time of strict boundaries and borders, with clear nations and clear dividing lines.
“Today, life is not like that. The world we live in has changed. Lines and borders are blurred. We have become a multicultural society and it is this that I wanted to represent – less structure with nations and society living together as one.
“I used various techniques to add tone and texture to blur the lines and colour to break up the structure with hand-painted dots, representing the diversity and blend of our nation. The gloss lacquer finish gave further depth and dimension, representing the ‘shiny new world’ we live in.”
The bath is on BathEmpire.com’s stand (K600) at Grand Designs Live, which runs from October 4 to 6 at Birmingham’s NEC, and will be at other shows where the company is exhibiting for the rest of the year.