Revealed! The Beckham Bog (as sold to the Chinese)

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The Independent Online

Even for the most obsessive fan, the chances of stealing a look at the Beckhams' real-life bathroom are nil. But anyone with the voyeuristic desire to peer between the designer blinds into this most intimate of celebrity spaces will soon be able to do the next best thing.

A heart-shaped bathroom conceived as a make-believe "retreat" for David and Victoria Beckham is heading for China as part of a British Council exhibition of cutting-edge UK interior design. But those expecting professional designers to come up with something vaguely approaching good taste will be disappointed. If anything, the fantasy bathroom is more tacky than anything the Beckhams themselves could dream up.

The room, conceived as a refuge from the harsh glare of the media spotlight, takes the form of a single "island unit" comprising a large heart-shaped bath in which the couple could wallow to their hearts' content.

It has been designed by the London-based firm FAT, standing for Fashion Architecture Taste. Explaining the concept, partner Charles Holland said: "The exhibition is contrived like an English house, with each room based on a different theme and put together by a different design team. We were given the idea of designing a room for David Beckham.

"There was an obvious route to go down, scattering Beckham's endorsed products around the room and having his pictures all over the walls, but we decided to go against that and came up with the idea of using a room as a retreat from the media spotlight.

"Then we thought we'd go for a celebrity couple, rather than an individual, and build it as if it were two baths, toilets and sinks conjoined into one unit like a mirror image. You can imagine Becks and Victoria staring into each other's eyes. There was also meant to be a parallel with the two thrones they had at their wedding."

While he was tempted to go to town by making the bathroom suite overtly garish and tasteless, Mr Holland opted to sculpt it in a more modest style influenced by minimalist designers like Sir Terence Conran. The cheap but pristine ceramic used was intended to convey an "obsession with hygiene" - a theme that may be reflected in the final exhibition through the use of soap and towels bearing images of the Beckhams.

The £500,000 travelling Chinese showcase has been devised by the British Council in response to the growing interest in home ownership among Chinese professionals.

The showcase will be seen by some as less of a serious exercise in promoting British culture than a brazen attempt to capitalise on Beckham's popularity in the Far East.