• 2024.05.21
  • Blog Liguria - Marble washbasins and so forth
In this blog, I have decided to have my brother in-law intervene.
He sells and installs new sinks and washbasins and he is an expert about them.
I had him tell me their story and their evolution over the years with a focus on Genoese ones, of course.

This is what he told me.
In the 20th century Genoa, bathrooms were a luxury reserved for wealthier families and were often only found in larger homes. Bathrooms of this era were often decorated with tiles and had porcelain bathtubs and sinks. Toilets were separate from the rest of the bathroom and were often located outside the house and the bathroom of the average house was a relatively small room, containing a sink and a bathtub.
In the early 1920s, the bathrooms began to become larger and more comfortable as the growing importance of personal hygiene led to an increase in the prevalence of bathrooms in homes. In this period, bathrooms were still often decorated with tiles, but reinforced concrete began to be used for the construction of floors and walls.
1920s bathrooms often had enameled cast iron bathtubs and ceramic sinks and people saw a rise in the popularity of modernism and the art deco movement.
During this period, bathrooms often lacked windows and adequate ventilation, which meant that cleanliness and hygiene were not always guaranteed.
One of the biggest developments of the 1920s was the introduction of the built-in sink. These sinks were made of porcelain and could be built into a wooden or metal worktop. This style of sink allowed for a cleaner, more minimalist look in the bathroom.
Additionally, during the 1920s, sinks began to be made of materials other than porcelain, such as glass and stainless steel. These materials allowed for a more modern and innovative look.

During the 1940s, bathrooms were still very simple and unsophisticated. Most Genoese houses had only one bathroom and this was used by all members of the family. Additionally, bathrooms were still often separate from the main house and located in a separate structure, such as a shed or cabin.
Despite this, there were some significant developments in terms of bathroom design during the 1940s. One of these was the introduction of enamelled steel bathtubs, which were stronger and more durable than cast iron bathtubs. Furthermore, new materials were also introduced for sinks, such as marble and stone.
This led to the creation of many marble countertops and built-in sinks in Genoa and this style became known as ‘Genoese style sink and washbasin’ all over the country.

Typical Genoese marble countertop sinks

In the 1960s, bathroom interior design underwent a major change thanks to the arrival of new materials, such as plastic and laminate. This allowed for greater creativity and flexibility in setting up the bathroom.
During this period, bright colors, such as yellow, green and pink, took over from the traditional black and white. Furthermore, sink design has become bolder, with new and original shapes, such as circular sinks and squared ones.

In the 1980s, bathroom design focused on functionality and technology. The use of modern materials such as stainless steel, tempered glass and plastic has made it possible to create innovative elements for the bathroom.
Furthermore, the advent of computers and new technologies has allowed designers to use advanced software to create precise drawings and 3D models of bathrooms before they are built. This allowed us to create more sophisticated and complex projects.
The dominant colors were white, gray and black, while the preferred materials were stainless steel, glazed ceramic and natural stone.

In the 2000s, the evolution of bathrooms was strongly influenced by the growing interest in sustainability. There has been greater attention to ecological materials and the reduction of water and energy consumption.

Furthermore, with globalization and the increase in imports, bathroom products of international origin have become increasingly common. For example, natural stone sinks have become popular due to their beauty and durability.
Traditional materials such as ceramic and marble have been rediscovered and rethought in modern shapes, giving life to elegant and sophisticated washbasins and bathroom tops. The shapes of washbasins have become increasingly complex and varied, with many very particular design proposals.
How are washbasins and sinks in Japan? I wonder.


  • Patrizia Margherita
  • Jobtranslator, interpreter, teacher

Although she was born in Italy, she is half Italian and half American and she has become a "multicultural person" who can speak five languages. She has lived and worked in the US, Brazil, Australia, France and the UK so she considers herself a citizen of the world. When she is not teaching or translating, she likes cooking Italian food, hiking and traveling around the world...She has traveled to 80 countries and counting!

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