The store’s agate-façade check-out counter

A freestanding stone and marble tub from Stone Forest

A Toscoquattro sink with decorative removable panel

Hydrology was created specifically to give designers and contractors an easy, well-edited place to source high-end plumbing and kitchen products outside of the Mart. But frankly, the new 9,000-square-foot River North showroom is too alluring for any designphile to resist (and we hear the company is unlikely to turn you away if you’re dying to make a purchase but don’t have a designer).

Greeting you as you walk into this space is a $22,000 freestanding white and gray marble tub from Stone Forest; just behind it is a large counter whose façade, created from blue agate pressed into resin (from the Israeli company Majestic Gemstone), glows like a lit-up jewelry case. The counter is for business transactions, but the gorgeous material also appears in sink consoles elsewhere in the store. 

One of the showroom’s three main areas includes suites of bathrooms displaying products by individual companies, such as the Italian firm Toscoquattro and the California-based Diamond Spa (we were particularly taken with Toscoquattro’s sinks, whose drains are covered by beautifully engraved Corian-like panels that allow water to pass through, but can also be removed and washed separately). Another section features individual products—rows of basins made from different materials, including bronze, steel, wood, and painted concrete; tubs, including an über-modern rubber one by B Dutch; faucets and shower systems from the likes of Dornbracht and THG Paris; and, finally, toilets, including an industrial-chic stainless steel one by Neo-Metro. The back of the store is home to several displays from the sleek German kitchen line Alno, which Hydrology represents exclusively in the Chicago area. The stars of this show are a freestanding range/table that allows guests to sit around you as you cook, and the cabinets with built-in TVs. The company will install cabinets, but not plumbing. Hydrology, 435 N. LaSalle St., 312-832-9000.


Neo-Metro’s illuminated sink

Alno’s Art Woodline kitchen


Photography: Matthew Gilson