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Give the Gift of Pure Nature

Hinoki Esential Oil is both calming and uplifting. Like the scent of a forest on a warm summer day, the scent of Hinoki is earthy, lemony, fresh.

Our original Bartok design Hinoki Essential Oil is the purest you will find. We extract the oil ourselves from off-cuts, shavings and wood chips – all real wood. There are no twigs, leaves or bark in our product resulting in a pure clean scent that is unparalleled. The complexity of our oils is exceptionally deep.

Hinoki Essential Oil
Hinoki Essential Oil made by Bartok design
The Bartok design Pocket Onsen set is a gift box ready for holiday giving

The Bartok design Pocket Onsen Set contains a choice of two oils:

  • Hinoki Cypress is extracted from trees roughly 40 years old. A ‘young tree’ used in construction, for decorative items, religious artefacts and furniture. Our bath accessories are made from this wood which gives us a good supply of offcuts from which to extract the gorgeous essential oil.
  • Special Reserve Hinoki 250 is extracted from mature growth trees, usually at least 250 years old. The wood from older trees is compacted tightly which makes it ideal for use in wet zones such as the bathroom. Therefore we use this wood to make our Japanese ‘ofuro’ soaking tubs. Like a fine wine, cheese or whiskey, the aged product has a complexity and depth not seen in younger wood.

    *It is also possible to order a ‘compare set’ with one of each oil.
Instant onsen
Instant Onsen
special reserve hinoki 250 years oil made in japan
Hinoki Japanese Cypress extracted and bottled by Bartok design
Each Pocket Onsen set comes with three orbs made from hinoki.

September Academy

This is the third time I am going to talk about the project of starting a program to teach traditional construction techniques to japanese and foreign nationals: a “Craftsmen Academy”.

There are some organizational, legal, financial and study curricula issues to be sorted but we are finally planning to get started!
We are going to start with an experimental phase, here are the main conditions:

  • term: September 1 – September 30 (extension is possible)
  • content of the course: mainly wood carpentry techniques
  • fee: free of charge

    Please note:
  • lodging and food: at your own expense
  • transportation costs: at your own expense
  • tourist insurance: at your own expense (compulsory)
  • VISA: not provided by the Academy, at your own expense

We will receive applications up to August 25 so if you are interested please hurry. If you have questions or other requests regarding the schedule etc. please contact me. We have some flexibility and I will try to accommodate your needs.

About the lodging, there are few Airbnb in Kameoka and they are quite expensive. The low-cost alternative would be to stay at a guest house in Kyoto downtown and commute by train (about 30 minutes one way)

It would be great if students find shared accommodations. I will try to connect those interested but cannot take any responsibility for the organization/jury in case of problems etc.

About the legal issues: we are not yet established to be able to sponsor students to obtain working or study VISA. Please come with a 3-month tourist VISA or a working holiday VISA if your Country has an agreement with the Japanese Government. You must make this application yourself and we are unable to assist you with this.

The experience we intend to make available at the Academy is officially an “experience tourism” program so it is not in conflict with your VISA status.

About legal issues, liability issues etc. we are preparing a simple contract of agreement that will regulate our relationship with the students.

The Contract will be kindly compiled by my long time friend and Bartok design fan Frank Lanza who runs a law office in Cairns (Austalia) and is partner in the CCEB center for language studies and technical skills courses.

In due course we also would like to develop Japanese carpentry courses in the Cairns (Australia) with a specialization practical term in Kameoka but this is still at a planning stage.

I will attach the contract draft to this page as soon as available so please stay tuned. I just wanted to start posting the official start of the course as we already entered in August.

please contact me directly by email at japan@bartokdesign.com for applications and questions.

italian wabi-sabi

This post is not about the bio-ryokan “WABI SABI” in the Marche Region (which by the way features a large bartokdesign knotty hinoki bathtub and other japanese architectural details such as tatami/shoji etc. – and which of course(!) I strongly recommend).

I have an American friend living in Switzerland and she is really my secret muse (well, no more secret now…)
I never met her in person but her prose is so experimental, so strong and inspiring that every mail I receive is like being struck by a 10,000 Volts lighting bolt. I am not saying it is painful. Of course it is pleasant, but every other perception is obfuscated by the absolute power of the message.
I do not know exactly her age but I would say he is not in her twenties.
When I thanked her for her insight in the last email she signed herself:

Your co-conspirator (in radical creativity)

Maybe her magic only works on me, I do not know.
But I would like to share some information she gave me about a wonderful reality in Italy that I did not know.

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Awaji Island – a quick hop and a jump from Kobe

If you’re in Japan this summer and are craving some time away from the city then we highly recommend Awaji Island. From the city of Kobe, it’s just a short drive or bus ride across the world’s longest suspension bridge, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge.

Once on the island, you can hire bicycles, hire a car or use public buses to explore. The island is a lot bigger than you might expect, so don’t think you’ll cover it all in one weekend. However, you can easily plan your trip around one or two tourist attractions then finish your day with an evening swim before heading back to your hotel for a soak in the hot onsen bath.

Food highlights include an abundance of fresh seafood and world-famous Awaji Beef (similar to Kobe beef or wagyu with marbled fat throughout). Onions are also grown locally so don’t miss the local speciality onion tempura.

Sleepy fishing towns on Awaji Island

There is plenty of information about Awaji Island on the official tourism website. For accomodation, there are quite a few options listed on sites like Booking.com. We are lucky to have a friend there to stay with but our hotel choice would be the Westin, designed by Ando Tadao.

As far as it being a tourist mecca, it’s far from it. We observed a lot of young people enjoying time on the beach, driving to the local cafes that are popping up along the coast and riding rented bicycles while enjoying spectacular coastal views. Everything felt leisurely and stress-free.

For the ultimate in stress-free relaxation, we would start trip planning with a visit to a hotspring. Find a few on this page.


Made in Awaji

Our Su~ Daybed is made on Awaji Island. The slow pace and relaxed lifestyle there really lends itself to creating a quality product with attention to detail. See more about Su~ Daybed here.

Stunning minimalist piece of handcrafted Japanese furniture

kimono bottle covers!

Japanese kimono style bottle cover (fit the vast majority of bottles from wine to champagne to sake! – a part for magnum bottles) smart idea for an unforgettable present.
Witty and original! 100% reusable. To amuse the guests at your home party or to surprise your friends, you will find your favorite color and style within the 30 items collection.
Easy to apply, fun to play with, can be stored to be used again in its exclusive pauwlonia wood box!

coming soon!

The Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage

Introduction

In the Wakayama area of Kii Peninsula, there are a number of ancient walking trails which are collectively known as the Kumano Kodo. Traversing mountains, passing through lushly forested gulleys and crossing racing rivers, you’ll see some of the most spectacular nature Japan has to offer. But enjoying nature is just a side benefit. This area is deeply spiritual and is steeped in history. For more than a thousand years pilgrims have used these trails to reach the three Grand Shrines of Kumano: Kumano Hongū Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha and Kumano Hayatama Taisha (source wikipedia).

We love being close to nature so took a couple of days off work during rainy season (July 2019) to visit the Kumano Kodo. Here is our account of the trip.

View of mountains in Nakahechi

Day One

My travel companion joined me from Tokyo so my first stop was Kansai Airport to pick her up. From there we got directly onto the ‘Hanwa Highway’ which is the direct route to Wakayama and the Kii Peninsula. It’s an easy drive of about an hour and a half to Nanki Tanabe Interchange which is where we left the highway.

Are you planning to drive in Japan? Here are a few things to remember:

  • the speed limit on the highways is a maximum of 80km per hour but on rainy or windy days it can be reduced to 60km per hour, this is indicated by round electronic signs reading 60 or 80. You might not see many police cars or speed cameras but this highway is patrolled by unmarked vehicles and hidden cameras so for your safety and to avoid a ticket, stick to the limit.
  • along the highway, you will encounter toll booths. If your car is fitted with an ETC machine you can drive through the electronic reader lane, usually purple signage. If you don’t have the machine you’ll need to go through the manual payment lane, indicated by a green light. You can pay using cash or credit card. The amount due will be displayed on a sign next to the toll booth after you hand over your ticket.
  • toilet breaks and snack pitstops are possible at the many ‘rest areas’ which you can enter freely without having to exit the highway. Use these because you’ll save money by staying on the highway until your final destination.

Nakahechicho Area

Nakahechi Trail Kumano Kodo
Tondagawa River

We were booked to stay at a mountainside cottage which we had booked through AirBnB. It was raining heavily on and off all day so after a quick lunch at a local noodle place, we grabbed a few groceries and headed to our accommodation.

The purpose of our trip was not hiking given that it is rainy season. Landslides and flooded rivers are a real possibility at this time of year so rather than hike we simply planned some R&R. Our cottage was just perfect for that and I highly recommend it.

It has a hinoki clad bathroom with a view over the mountains! Gorgeous.

If you are planning to hike the Nakahechi Trail and are starting at Takijiri-oji then this cottage is a great location for that. Link to more info.

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Su~ Daybed

The world’s first daybed made entirely of wood, with no metal parts


Oder this stunning piece of furniture for your home.

A stunning minimal daybed handcrafted from Japanese native wood

Minimalist Japanese homes typically don’t have a lot of furniture in them but when they do, it’s a simple yet stunning piece such as the Su~ Daybed.

A classic piece such as a daybed is at home in a modern environment where wood adds warmth to the room. The leather cushion is timeless and can be a little bit edgy and unexpected in a family home.

Place the Su~ Daybed in your office to greet clients over coffee and sneak in an energizing nap after a long evening at the desk.

Imagine lazy afternoons in front of a picture window, perhaps overlooking a Japanese garden, cozy with a throw rug and the newspaper.


Japanese Craftsmanship

You have an appreciation for fine craftsmanship and attention to detail.

The Su~ Daybed is made according to centuries-old Japanese furniture-making techniques and does not include even one metal part – incredible! It’s definitely a talking point. No nails, no bolts or screws, just beautifully shaped wood.

Each Su~ Daybed is handcrafted from a piece of lumber chosen for its beautiful grain. No two are alike due to the unique voice that is lovingly coaxed from the wood. The wood from which it is made is somewhat rare – keyaki (Japanese Zelkova) and is chosen for its beauty.

The process of assembly requires precision and attention to detail as each piece must slot together perfectly. It requires the patience and training only a master craftsman displays.

Each Su~ Daybed takes about 7-8 weeks to make and a week for delivery, via seafreight. The Su Daybed is made to order.


Beautiful grain is unique to each custom-made piece
Our passionate furniture maker partner, Kitajima san

The product specs

Product Specs for Su Daybed
Product specs

The Su~ Daybed has a keyaki frame (Japanese Zelkova) a native hardwood prized in furniture making.

The slats are soft yet durable, aromatic hinoki (Japanese cypress).

The external frame size is the same as a “kyoma” size (Kyoto-module) tatami, the golden ratio of tatami mats is 1910 x 955mm.

The daybed is a comfortable 410mm high which accommodates all heights of people when seated.

The leather mattress is 1810 x 755mm. The leather is joined with simple double stitch quilting and through stitching to keep the tufting in place.

The mattress is finished with fine full-grain leather (other versions with Japanese traditional fabrics etc. may be available upon request).  The filling consists of 90mm of hard chip urethane and 20mm of low repulsion urethane. The whole thing is wrapped with acrylic non-woven fabric which allows the leather to move smoothly. The mattress side is tightened at 90mm thickness while the filling is more than 110mm. This results in a sharp and tight edge and a soft yet supportive super comfortable mattress.



Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or problems.


About Us

I am Iacopo Torrini, an Italian architect and designer living in Japan. My company, Bartok design, custom-builds interior furniture items such as wooden bathtubs, sliding doors and the Su~ Daybed. My passion lies in sharing the history and traditional craftsmanship of Japan with the world.

We have been in business for more than twenty years and have an established reputation for superior quality and exceptional customer service. I invite you to get in touch with me directly so we can get to know each other and I can understand what you are looking for in a daybed.

Get in touch today to start the order process. Or order directly from our online store.


mail: japan@bartokdesign.com
whatsapp/phone: (+81)90-8205-1200
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/itorrini


…enjoying life, japanese style!

Brought to you by Bartok design, Japan.

Sweet and Compact – outlet tub – (sold out)

(sorry, sold out)

A part for its sweet aroma and for the options (removable bench, traditional cover) probably the most notable feature of this tub is to be compact.
With a height of 580mm, if you turn it sideways you can even make it pass trough a 600mm opening!

So, for all of you who gave up installing an ofuro for dimensional problems, take out your measuring tape…and check again!

This tub was order-made for a client. Then the client had to change dimensions and we made a new one.
This outlet tub is sold at 80% of its value. Also considering the included options (removable bench, traditional cover) it looks like a deal too good to believe!

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Refined Elegance: Contrast and Texture

Our friends at Nora Studios sent us a few of the preliminary photos of a recent bathroom installation. It’s stunningly beautiful. The contrast of warm wood and cool stone is magnificent.

Ofuro specs: japanese Knotless hinoki wood bathtub (quarter-sawn)
dim L1060 x W660 x H629mm (ext. dim.) 570mm(deep)
nat. oil @ apron, wood dowels. Iron brand at front side top-right
(Accessories are available from our shop)

It is difficult to understand it from the pictures as the sizes are so laser-perfect… but the tub feet are recessed in a ditch which collects the drain water as well as the overflow. Amazing detailing!

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