You may not know the name Bernhard Mayer-Klenk, inventor and founder of a German company called Kemitron GmbH, but if you are an acolyte of luxury showering, you owe him your entire existence. Mayer-Klenk, who died in November at the age of 78, was the genius who invented the experience shower, which is basically getting clean inside a calm rave populated by aromatherapy diffusers. (Or at least I imagine it is, because despite years of effort, I still have not had the privilege of using or installing one in my rented apartment.)
Mayer-Klenk was was particularly obsessed with scent, which is how he came to imagine a more advanced showering experience, according to the trade website leisureopportunities.co.uk, which I discovered via my Google alert for “experience shower.” His “curiosity and creativity powered countless innovations in the spa and wellness markets,” writes leisureopportunities.co.uk, and his company, Kemitron, is “well-known for their high-quality essential oils and fragrance dosing systems, an essential element in the evolution of the experience shower.” The fragrance section of Kemitron’s website is a veritable treasure trove of types of scents, and outlines an underpinning philosophy that fragrance is not just for pleasure, but for opening up one’s sensory perception to new and endless possibilities:
Fragrances can release long-forgotten memories and keep them so lively, as if the experience was only yesterday.
By experts this phenomenon is called “Proust-effect”– referring to the most important work of the French writer Marcel Proust “In Search of Lost Time”. There, he describes a young man, who suddenly remembers long forgotten episodes of his childhood by the smell of freshly baked Madeleines. This memory’s richness of detail illustrates how immense the power of one single fragrance can be.
They also offer an LED Lamp Shower that is my platonic ideal of what Kemitron calls “adventure showering,” and a melange of advanced technologies for advanced showering that, in Kemitron’s own obituary, “combined the fragrances with the abovementioned elaborate electromechanical systems to automate and facilitate processes.” What an icon. Here is a poem about Meyer-Klenk written by someone named René Pier:
A life, a breath of fragrance
With great expertise, the best ingredients composed
With much kindness of heart and humility to the absoluteness of nature
Grounded with both legs …… and vanished in the wind
But as with any great fragrance, the emotional impression remains,
the eternal memory
In context, it seems fitting that the inventor of what I like to call the rave shower was German; the shower has all the elements of the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. parties I’ve attended in Berlin, and takes into careful consideration the customer who wants to leave the venue to go home and get clean, but is reluctant to leave the vibey atmosphere to which she has grown accustomed. Rather than walk out of the club and head straight into a sterile, oppressive environment of cold steel showerheads and blindingly white tiles, Meyer-Klenk’s invention allows a gentle immersion into the real world, the feel of rain and the calming LED lights perfect for the morning come down. This is true generosity, and honestly I’m beside myself.
Bernhard Meyer-Klenk is survived by his wife Ingeborg, son Stephan, daughter Susanne, three grandchildren, and all of us around the world whose sole aspiration is to just take a calm shower that’s also blasting us with eucalyptus and visuals. Rest in peace to a genius.