Doing Laundry is Fun
Back in the day, washing clothes was a community-building experience. Folks would go down to the creek, hang out and connect, all while getting massively strong forearms. While this idealized version of the olden-times laundromat might not correspond with the reality (have you ever hand-washed a big load of laundry? In a freezing creek? Not fun.), doing laundry can be a great opportunity to connect with others who find themselves in the same soiled-clothing predicament.
A laundromat in Ghent, Belgium called Wasbar seizes this opportunity, turning the otherwise tedious and time-consuming task of cleaning your clothes into an attractive, fun, social and gastronomically satisfying experience. Rather than the decor consisting of delaminated formica, linoleum and florescent lighting, Wasbar is filled with soft lighting, wood, tile and attractive furniture. Rather than a couple vending machines filled with Pepsi and Funyuns, Wasbar has a beer and espresso bar and buffets serving delicious food. Rather than watching muted episodes of Judge Judy on an overhead TV, Washbar has knitting classes, concerts and a bunch of other programming to keep you entertained while you wait for your laundry (you might not want your cycle to end before the class ends or the encore set).
Wasbar is sponsored by Electrolux appliances, Ecover cleaning products and a few other companies. It’s tough to tell whether it’s more than a promotional popup shop, but we like the concept. It plays into the “city as living room” idea we talk about here. It turns an otherwise dull, isolating tasks into an opportunity to connect with your community–all while maintaining your lithe forearms.