waiting for the spring…

This year we are experiencing a cold and long winter with meters of snow on the traditionally snowy west coast.
Even the major cities such as Tokyo or Kyoto were coated in white several times.

But spring will come.
In the TV news they started to show the first sakura buds from Okinawa, to reassure the people sensitive to cold (like me…) that indeed spring will come sometime soon!
While waiting for the spring, I recommend the 3 following actions:

1) warm up in hot water! If you have an ofuro, you know what I am talking about.

2) enjoy the last spurt of winter lethargy on the SU~ day bed!
You can check the video on how it is built here:

or just jump to the indiegogo page to order one while the 25% OFF conditions last ->

3) prepare for a fresh start with new fragrant hinoki business cards!
more information at ->

With the 3 tips above, I am sure you will be able to cut thru the last icicles and fully enjoy the coming spring!
In any case, if you still feel cold or cannot sleep because of a creative idea, or a craving for a bowl of miso soup, please write me!
I am looking forward to do something together!

All the Best//
iacopo torrini

new branding for the day-bed project. SUU SUU …

As you probably know, I am running a crowd funding campaign on indiegogo to produce at lower cost the wood and leather bed I designed for an English client (of course with his approval and encouragement!)


The prototype came out really nicely: the balance between the materials, sizes, colors is very stylish and above the expectations. I uploaded the photos into the crowdfunding page, but when I tried to change the status from “concept” to “prototype”, the system did not allow me to.

As a coincidence in that very timing, a friend contacted me with the greeting: “I have to pull your ears…!”

He told me he just found the campaign through the link on the bartok design blog.

●PROBLEM #1: Looking at the banner and title, his first impression was that the campaign was a charity! (to buy a daybed for Michael…)

After reading the description the scope and the story behind the naming becomes evident, but here comes another pulling of ears…

●PROBLEM #2: The branding as it is now is too personalized. The person buying it doesn`t want Michael`s bed: he/she wants it to be his/her daybed, not somebody else`s.

●PROBLEM #3: Additionally, being a daybed, it is too easy to associate it with the image of “your friend Michael” asking to stay over for a couple of days sleeping on the sofa (and eventually ending up staying for months eating popcorn and camping in your living room…!!)

These are the reasons behind my decision to re-launch the campaign, with the same product
but with a different branding.

While I still have to add some photos and description, the new campaign page is live!
Please take a look at the link below to see the video of the completed prototype.

Thanking you in advance for any advice you may have, please find here my Best regards!

Kihada ichiban water repellent

Where can I get Kihada Ichiban?
You can purchase from us.
It comes in 3 sizes:
a) 7,000. JPY / 1kg + 4,500. JPY (Packaging + EMS) = 11,500 JPY
b) 26,000. JPY / 4kg + 9,100. JPY (Packaging + EMS) = 35,100 JPY
c) 97,000. JPY / 16kg + 27,000. JPY (Packaging + EMS)= 124,000 JPY
If you let me know your preference, I can send you a paypal payment request.
After sanding, apply in 2 coats before the first one is completely dry.

difference between shapes

Can you tell me the advantages and disadvantages of using an oval shape vs. a rectangle shape, in terms of comfort? And how many people could comfortably fit? Also wondering about the various heights of the different tub options you sent, If I used a seat, it doesn’t seem like the water would cover my body up to my neck. How does one do that?
Many questions I know! If I keep the water in the tub and just heat it up, how is that done? do you provide a water heater?
The weight when full of water…can you give me an approximate figure? Will my construction framer need to make the floor extra support to hold it?

I wish there was an ofuro I could try in my area! If you know of any public ones in the pacific northwestern area of USA, please let me know!

Japanese bathtubs originate from the technology of boat building. (which are actually build to keep the water outside and not inside!)
About the shape, the rectangular tubs evolved from the method of building boxes.
The round and ingot shape tubs from the manufacturing of buckets.
Therefore the shapes are different in their origin not only in the design but also in their functionality and purpose.
Ofuros have not been designed. They have been shaped by everyday use.
I think this is a splendid example of the expression “the form follows the function” expressed by the architectural modernist movement.

Said that, here I will mention some DEMERITS of the two shapes:
1) round, ingot shape: as the planks are orientated vertically and have their cross section (which is more porous) facing up: they are more prone in becoming stained on the section by black mold (but this is not always true out of the extra humid japan)

2) rectangular tubs: the corners unnecessarily hold some a larger amount of water..!
I am not sure I answered your question…

What is your budget? If you want to use it in 2 people you need at least 1500 of length.
But if you make it deeper and add internal seats… it becomes quite expensive.

Therefore I recommend to use it without seats – which enables to have a shallower tub and also use less water.

For the weight, consider that water weights 1000 Kg per cubic meter.
Therefore it depends on the sizes but a 1500x750xD600mm will hold 670 liters (670 Kg) when filled to the rim.
This translates in 120 p/sf so I think you would need some reinforcing if the bathroom is on the 2nd floor.

Sorry, we do not know of any public ofuro in the US (we supplied ofuros to Singapore and Hong Kong spas.)
For the question about re-heating the water, please check FAQ 71.

All the Best//


wood sealing

We recently installed a cedar Ofuro that was sealed on the outside only. Because it is on radiant heat it is beginning to check. Is there a sealer that you have or can recommend that would remedy the problem? Thank you.
Please note:
1) A wooden bathtub placed on a radiant floor will dehydrate and crack. No matter if the wood is coated or not.

2) Besides this, coating only one side only is never a good idea as the wood will be unbalanced and start to warp

3) In case of a japanese bathtub, we never coat it as it would lose its aroma. To make the maintenance easier we suggest to use a full penetration water repellent product (Kihada ichiban)

to solve the problem in your case I recommend:

A) to sand the outside of the tub to remove the coating completely

B) To keep the tub always full to the rim while the radiant floor is on. Even when you are not taking a bath

C) If you want, we can sell the water repellent. It prevents stains and the formation of mold.

Please let me know if you have additional questions.

about reheating of the water

Our client was mentioning wanting the ability to fill his tub in the evening and soak, and then be able to use the same warm water in the morning. Is there a system that re-heats the water or maintains a higher temperature?
In Japan most of the hot water heaters are equipped with a re-circulation circuit and have a small pump built into the system.
But of course we cannot export a HW heater with the tub (you would not be able to do maintenance or find spare parts) so the only way is to build a system ad hoc.
This can be easily achieved by putting together some machines used for spas such as a pump, cartridge filter and post-heater (gas, electric or heat pump).
US is the land of private pools and spas so you have the best selection of equipment with makers such as certkin, jandy, pentair, waterways etc. If you prefer a low tech approach, you could cover the tub to avoid heat loss due to evaporation and in the morning you can add 10 liters of very hot water (60deg. centigrade) to raise the temperature.
Please let me know if I answered your question.

day-bed completed!

Here is the leather mattress and cushion completed. As you can see two full cow hides have been used for the left/right side without joints.
The frame is also complete and the graphic keyaki wood grain is providing the perfect accent for a very simple and classic design.

click below to see the other 6 photos with details of the frame and mat.
Check also the crowdfunding campaign page:


finishing the daybed frame

Here are the photos of the finishing phases of the “Michael” day bed manufacture

The legs pegs are positioned to take advantage of the thickest section of the frame


click below to see the other 13 photos of the manufacture!

Alternatively, check the crowdfunding campaign page for more details and to purchase keyaki daybed:


update about the daybed!

The manufacture of the keyaki daybed is proceeding smoothly. Here are the pictures of the progress with comments.

1) hinoki slats, 15mm thick, cut to size
click below to see the other 9 steps

new year card 2018!


like a walk with your best friend,
like the smile of a child,
like a japanese ofuro,

may the New Year be “round” and “square” for you
and … filled with aromatic hot water!

All the Best//
Bartok design Japan Co.

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