An Outdoor Shower Inspired by School

People / Products / September 13, 2013

They may be avid fans of outdoor showering, but Jim Lobley and Kirsten Oxboel don’t believe that installing an outdoor shower system should be a hassle.

That’s why in 2012, the pair founded Oborain: to design and manufacture a line of modern, pre-fab outdoor showers that can be set up on any level surface, without hardware, in less than 30 minutes.

With a look that recalls old schoolhouse chalkboards, the shower takes its name from the non-profit arts organization PS 122, housed in an old public school in New York City’s East Village. While they didn’t intend for the design to look like a chalkboard, its similarity struck them immediately once their prototype was complete. The decision to name it after a famous school came next.

“We have a strong personal connection to live performance and dance,” says Oxboel. “Jim has a Masters in acting and dance movement therapy. At one point he was involved in “Open Movement,” an improv dance style at PS 122.”

Oborain’s PS 122 system is handcrafted in western Massachusetts of Richlite architectural panels, made from recycled newsprint and resin along with boards of farmed teak and corrugated sheet metal. It’s pre-fab, so it can be stored inside during cold months, or even packed up to take along for a move. Each shower combines a fixture and enclosure as one design package and simply hooks up to an outdoor hose.

The real PS 122 is currently undergoing a transformative interior renovation by architect Deborah Berke Partners, with support from the City of New York. Planned for completion in early 2016, the space will re-open with ADA-compliant, state-of-the-art theaters that will be larger, column-free, and flexible.

Oborain has committed to donating a portion of the sales proceeds from the shower to PS 122 in support of their work. “We recognize the important link between creativity, the arts, and innovation.”

For more on the Performance Space 122 website at: www.ps122.org

Rita Catinella Orrell (for more by Rita, go to http://designythings.com and http://architects-toybox.com)

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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.




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