I spoke with the TV producer: the clause “has never been to japan” is not a sine-qua-non.
We are planning a modern Japanese bathhouse to be placed in the garden of a victorian terraced house in London.
This is just a concept plan, the client`s local architect will deal about permits, design details etc.
It is a simple layout with outside storage, open terrace, lavatory room and bathroom.
I am proposing a “araidashi” pebble floor and a natural trunk as a kind of “daikoku bashira” free standing column at the corner. The walls are in sugi pine siding and the roof in sheet metal
A shoji-inspired window in 3 panels opens offering to the bather the preferred balance between view and privacy
The bathroom features a W1350 D 750mm knotless hinoki bathtub with copper apron and wooden dowels at the corner joint
Accessories include a 1200 x 1400mm “sunoko” floor duckboard invisibly split in 2 panels, hinoki stool and sawara bucket
Try to look for “bartokdesign” inside the sketchup 3D warehouse if you wish to navigate the model!
We have 5 tubs on the “production line” and are in the last stages of the bidding for a large supply for a hotel.
It is going to be a hot summer…
Luckily, we are finding beautiful lumber from our suppliers to replenish stock.
Yesterday we spent almost the full day slicing massive hinoki lumber.
As the market for traditional hinoki products (sushi counters etc.) is quite slump in Japan our grumpiest suppliers are slowly releasing their hidden treasures…
Finally we gave birth to the first Bartok design pamphlet.
Since we sell mainly outside of japan and tru the internet, until now I always procrastinated but now I will be finally able to satisfy all the requests of friends wanting to present the Bartok design tubs and accessories to trade shows, friends and clients.
There are also several hotels catering to international clientele who asked me some presentation material in the past.
If you need some pamphlets or want to promote the Bartok design products (contact iacopo torrini for details) let us know!
As promised, here below is the balance sheet for the activity of relocating japanese historic homes.
I did not make the final decision but I think the new activity will be called Japanese Historic Homes and will have a dedicated homepage.
I was (wisely!) advised that if I want to produce concrete results, I should appeal to those interested in owning a japanese home rather than just hoping to find philanthropists with deep pockets and the mission of preserving for posterity as many buildings and environments of value as possible…
“I love your idea of establishing a network to try and preserve more heritage buildings. As far as naming goes I would shy away from “save-japan.org” as this sounds like it could be connected to Fukushima or some other existing cause.
I personally think you need to appeal to those folks who wish to OWN a heritage Japanese home rather than those that wish to SAVE a heritage home, as the former has the means (money) to buy.
Something like Japan-Historic-Homes.org may work. This may facilitate easy web searches. “Heritage” is arguably a more correct word to use but I think some folks may get this confused with modern homes which have a “Heritage style”. “Historic” (or
“Historical”) does sound a bit dry and perhaps over-important, but everyone who looks at the site name will conclude that you mean old, beautiful homes of significance. Anyway, this is just a first effort. I would be very happy to help you further in any way I can.”
So please be in touch and let me know your opinion as well!
All the Best//
We are sad to see it go but are looking forward to seeing it rebuilt in full glory in Chiba prefecture next year.
It is a big shock for the building but imagine it is like a life saving surgery.
It is painful but all dismantling work was done gently to preserve all the parts.
I cannot imagine this jewel left prey of the bulldozers…
Please find the full photo reportage here:
Well, it happened: I received another contact about an endangered house.
It is a over 100 years old house with massive columns and beams located in Nara Prefecture.
I did not see it yet in person but here are some pictures and floor plans.
check this link for the full slides.
I will post more details as soon as available.
Let me publish here the exchange of correspondence I had with a previous customer.
The mail came like a bolt from the blue:
> how is it possible that you sell such expensive high quality baths and
> live in a high tech environment…but your website is so unpractical and
> it stops me from really searching, thats not good pr!
> fan of wooden baths
> owner of one.
Thank you for your honest comment.
I think you are 100% right.
Actually I am in the process of renovating the HP but it is taking more
time than anticipated.
Please bear with us one more month!
Bartok design Japan Co.
Manager: Iacopo Torrini
Sorry for the direct comment, I am Dutch and people from Holland are known for their directness. The difference with southern countries is already big, so you can imagine how it is in Japan
I will visit Japan within 1-2 years, I am interested in japanese woodworkingskills.
Is your business to be visited? Would be nice.
I will be mainly in Nasu (Tochigi) but who knows…
When my current bath will be rotten I defenitely want another ofuro, because it ads a lot of well beinig to my life, using such a bath.
Meanwhile please feel free to send me your bolts… Any comment is appreciated especially if it is helping me improving the service.
All the Best//
Sorry for the belated update: I think many of you are in trepidation for the destiny of the tea house in Fujisawa.
Well, 1/27 was an incredible day, I think there are all the ingredients for a suspense movie.
The crowdfunding campaign I started on 1/23 at http://igg.me/at/teahouse produced many contacts.
On 1/27 I went to Tokyo with a 10,000 mhA spare battery plugged in my phone and kept sending mails and calls for help.
I was messaging previous clients while riding the shinkansen and calling ikebana associations or busy stock brokers while waiting to transfer to the next train.
I called dozens of people and sent hundreds of emails.
Nonetheless I arrived to the meeting on site with empty hands.
Two people from the forwarding company were already there discussing details about the street width with the contractor.
The real estate agent was preparing the documents and memorandums to be signed while I was answering the cheerful and excited questions of the owners.
Where is the building going? When is it going to be rebuilt? Can we go visit?
I even got the promise from the old owner she would visit the new location of the house and offer a tea ceremony to all the presents…
But there was only one problem.
Time was up and I had not a clear commitment for taking over the house.
I did not give up until the last moment but after inflating everybody`s hopes, I was going to hurt them even more with the harsh reality, sooner or later.
My face was smiling but there was a deep cloud of uncertainty in my heart.
I received many mails of encouragement:
“Even if you failed this time, the effort and financial exposure would not had been a vain effort. This case contributed to raise awareness about the problem and spread the seeds of more consideration for the items of value we are inheriting from the past.”
I know, you will think I am reckless but there is only one thing that helped me not to panic: Using the “reverse gear” was just not an option on the table.
Like those simple remote controlled car toys that can only go straight or turn left and right to avoid obstacles the only option I had was to keep looking forward for the end of the tunnel.
We started to move out the left over furniture to the living room of a relative living next door while the carpenter started to remove some planks from the ceiling to see if it could be dismantled safely. Some old newspapers started to come out from under the tatamis.
And yes! the sunshine come at 16:00. I received a call from Hamish Murphy, an australian gentlemen, introduced to me by Mr. D. from Tokyo who had been introduced to me by Mr. L. from the UK.
Hamish has been living in Japan for 29 years (if I remember correctly) and is going to start a Permaculture site in Kamogawa, Chiba prefecture.
If you do not know what permaculture is, I recommend to research it on wikipedia. It is is a beautiful concept and practical philosophy.
As I was in Yokohama only for that day, Hamish decided to come right away to see the house and reached at around 18:00.
All the workers already went away and after showing him the house, we sat in the smallest tea-room with the owner and her son.
The owner offered us a matcha-tea – by coincidence there were also just 2 manju dumplings left from the afternoon.
It was such an emotionally intense atmosphere, looking at the garden in the dark out of the window and the old lady noted that this was “the last tea served in the tea-room.”
Then, after 3 days of thorough consideration, Hamish gave me the GO sign to take my place in the contract and carry on the demolition and reconstruction project!
I am SOOO happy for him, for the house, for the owner. AMAZING.
A sukiya-zukuri house is a traditional construction but is light weight and more energy efficient compared to a massive “kominka”.
Permaculture gives importance to ecological materials as much as the energy efficiency and this tea house represent a good balance of the two aspects (ecology and high performance).
Hamish is considering to use the tea-house as a guest house in the Permaculture project. “As a guest house it would be a beautiful gateway into a world of recycling and self-sustaining systems.” he says.
He is considering rebuilding the walls with natural clay mixed with momigara (grain chaffs), restoring not only the shape but also the authentic soul of the building.
Since the plan of the house will be modified, he is not going to reuse the roof tiles but the great news is that he is going to transplant as many trees as possible to Chiba prefecture!
All the stones and accessories in the garden and even the bamboo fence (!) are going to be transferred and reused as well.
In the end I think this solution will be great also for the owner. She will be able to visit the house easily and maybe also help with the design of the garden that she is so skilled at.
And I am looking forward to the “first tea served in the tea-room” after the reconstruction!
The house will be probably rebuilt in 2017 and I will keep you informed.
Meanwhile, visit the links below for additional pictures.
Thank you everybody for your great support, encouragement and advice.
Feel free to add your comments here below. All the Best!
It is now 5:56 am in japan and I am giving up the campaign to save (and enjoy!) the sukiya-zukuri tea house in Fujisawa.
In 3 days of indiegogo campaign I received: 2 Contributions, 498 Visits, 135 Referrals.
I know that many of you sent hundreds of mails to spread the voice, and I commend you for all your advice and help.
I converted to cash my life insurance policy to have the funds to sign the contract tomorrow but the there is not a solid option to bring the project to completion.
The house will not be touched until 2/10 but we will not have time to organize the meetings required and to meet the deadline offered by the new ownership.
They may accept a lump sum to buy some time but of course there is no guarantee they would consider such an option alltogether.
Besided, if I could not realize the project with so many interested and proactive prospects (like this time), it is not likely that 13 days will change the final result.
Time is running out and I have to take the hard decision.
There is no point to bring all the parties to the meeting tomorrow so I will call everybody (the contractor, the new owner, the old owner, the shipping company) at 12:00 JST.
Said this, my mind is repeating an italian saying: “la speranza e` l`ultima a morire”
(lit. translation: hope is the last to die)
If you have one more idea, one more contact to propose this project, please do it now.
The short link to the campaign is:
Thank you for everything!