Tender Tub by Maren Hartveld



Dutch designer Maren Hartveld presented a soft bathtub at the Design Academy Eindhoven graduate show in the Netherlands earlier this month.


"Bringing a new meaning to sinking into one's tub," says Hartveld. "A free-standing soft bathtub made from polyurethene coated foam rubber; not cold and hard like the average bathtub, but soft and warm, and comfortable like a sofa".


Above image by Marjan Holmer.


Posted on Friday October 31st 2008 at 1:00 pm by Matylda Krzykowski. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Good idea. It must be safer than fiberglass bathtubes.
    But it must be difficult to clean.

  • iamreply

    Design Academy clearly going down the drain…

  • Xit

    Original concept, but why the corners ?

  • msa

    if there was ever an excuse for a gratuitous display of flesh, this is it. not even a picture of it filled with water?

  • JC

    really cool, now that it exist, it was so obvious, great design!

  • g

    yes, I can’t imagine it cleaning well, or wearing well after many cleanings…

  • modular

    Those corners… auch! If you have an accident and fall, say goodbye to your life… or at least one eye!

  • Azeem

    Don’t worry about the corner’s Even I thought that remember”polyurethene coated foam rubber”.

  • amsam

    Once again: could we please see a photo of the item in use? Dezeen shows too many photos of shoes without feet, chairs with nobody sitting in them. Radical rethinking of everyday objects is the very point of high-end design; but too much of the stuff looks completely non-functional. If this is a piece of conceptual art designed to make us think about the nature of the bathtub then fine. But if you’re going to call it a bathtub, then it has to work.

  • jeff K

    cute concept, but polyurethene coated foam rubber tears easily and it would become stained by dirt very quickly. Plain old bathtubs last for generations…sorry to be so boring but this is reality.

  • Michael

    A nice nano coating and this baby becomes resilient and self cleaning. A soft tub is practical for so many people:

    From the visually impaired to the physically impaired. From toddlers to the very elderly.

    The real trick is designing a hybrid tub that can be used in many standard bathroom configurations that balances form and a cohesive style appearance.
    I enjoy this concept as an object, now we need to see some fixtures. This could be extremely marketable.

  • yung

    yeah, why the sharp corners? They don’t look tender.
    But if the material is really soft, it should be ok.

  • RH

    Come on folks.

    Is no-one allowed to create/produce ‘concepts’ anymore? Everything has to be finalised/justified/engineered perfections?

    So the material may not be exactly perfect, there’s no ‘working’ prototype images. So what! Surely we can all see the value of this as a concept/discussion piece/visualisation……. or have people lost the ability to imagine/ponder/think creatively (god forbid).

    As for me – I’m with JC, I think it’s a great concept, and I’m rather enamored with the form too. Well done.

  • I LOVE this idea – living in a period property with no built-in heating in the bathroom I could REALLY use one of these!

    I agree with Yung about the corners looking a bit too sharp, they seem a bit out of place to me… But even so, where can I get one?

  • anthony

    Bravo RH. Well said!

  • marcos

    lovely bath!

  • really nice concept; finally I’m enable to take nice and soft bath. Of course the concept needs some investigation in material and finetuning in design, but very well done! Also like the layers.

  • zuy

    interesting soft and warm material but the drawing to be eye catching and differential has too dangerous corners in a bathroom …

  • HJ

    I think it is a very interesting idea. The contrast between the hard look (like poured-in-place concrete because of the layers of foam) and the soft feel is well done. Only problem I can think of is when you sit or lean on the edge of the tub the water will pour out. Good starting point.

  • Ben

    where goes my glass of champagne? …

  • cihan gelerli

    those sharp edges look really scaring…

  • WM

    nice bath, just don’t slip on the soap

  • Randy

    Concept has existed for years and was produced as a softtub. It even had a drain to let the water out. But especially important was its medical relevance as there are people with a skin disease that are harmed by a hard tub. As a former salesperson in the plumbing industry we sold them until they were discontinued years ago.

  • dills

    Would be nice if it was longer. It’s hard to take a bath in a short tub.

  • cpcp

    I think the justaposition of the hard angles and soft material is brilliant!
    The corners aren’t hard people – read the script – I would imagine they are the softest, most deformable points of the bath, and hence, not dangerous!!

    Great execution and realisation of the concept, and as RH Michael and JC say – more work required, sure, but this has real merit and will no doubt inspire more resolved and practical versions.

    Whether it is actually comfy is another question, you might get stuck if the rubber matches the body form too well creating a suction pocket, and you may have to peel yourself off…. lol.

    Great work

  • iamreply

    Thanks Randy. its strange how people see this as a new exciting concept. or something of beauty for that matter. Also why is it so hard for people to pick up on th fact that this tub has SOFT corners.? its meant to look like you have sunken into a solid block. jeez!

  • Rich

    Why nobody has thought of it before?

    Will there be a soft toilet bowl in the future?

    It sure will be very comfy during the winter.

  • monsieur!

    love it
    it looks usuable and as if it might be an improvement on plain old bathtubs – for the visually imparied etc…as long as the rubber wear’s well

  • Nathan

    To IAMREPLY. I’m just wondering what it is that you do. Can you give me a website/weblog. I like to check it out. It must be wonderfull with really well thought about products and ideas.

  • Joe

    Hey, you may not like the look but at least it’s not a wall of books. It makes a design statment and is functional. I happen to like the little points and the more muted texture of this material verus the typical porceline. Bathtubs have this cold look to them usually and this one looks warmer. I wonder how soft it is.

  • LOW

    I want it

  • Nancy

    Good idea but;
    How it drains?

  • sandy fulton

    This is an awsome concept! I am graduating this summer from Industrial design and I guess our grad projects have a similar problem: bathtubs are uncomfortable!! Thats cool…great minds think alike.

  • Too Good Maren Hartveld, Keep it Up.

  • I think Comfort is more important than the look. The above design may give more comfort than a normal bath tub.

  • Awesome concept!

  • Beautifully, I love all white and simple))

  • shameer

    Bathtubs are usually a weekend affairs. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a bathtub which could lowered on need basis and hoist it above headroom in the rest of the week?

  • Jason

    Where can i take the plunge and buy one?

  • Where are they sold?

  • How cool!

  • Please tell where the batch can be bought. It is so cool!