more japanese than any house in Japan!

Message from the client:

Dear Iacopo-san,

Please be informed that I just forwarded some photographs you of our bathroom.
If you want, you can use these photos in your testimonial.
Kind regards,

A. from Holland

Thank you for the nice news and for all the pictures!
At first, I was in doubt about which to choose for the homepage.
Then I thought that not only the bathroom atmosphere is top-notch, but more importantly, you offer many hints about the day-to-day use of the tub. With cover and without. With an inner seat and without.
The photos from different angles really help us understand.
I see now your plan about using shoji for the overhead storage and spare toilet paper storage.
Really lovely and definitely more Japanese than any Japanese house I saw in the past 20 years!!!

usage of the tub-cover

Dear Iacopo,
After a long wait we could finally install the Ofuro yesterday and also tested it immediately ; )

We are very happy with the result!

I need you help on a couple of issues:

  • When do we close the covers? Immediately after draining the water or should we let the inside of the ofuro dry a little before doing so?
  • I have put the hygrometer inside the Ofuro. What is the best moisture range?
  • How do we keep the moisture range? Do we put a bucket inside? What is the “normal way to do so?

Thanks a lot for your help. When I get to it, I will send you a couple of pictures.

Have a good week,


Dear M.

This is great news!!I hope you enjoy it!
About the cover, let me share some tips about normal usage in Japan (anyway you are free to think about your original usage !)

1) in case of extended families, the cover is placed after one family member is done with the bath (in between baths, to keep the water in temperature)

2) alternatively, for saving energy, the cover is placed on the full tub for 24 hours to the next day the water can be reheated (or a small amount of very hot water can be added)

3) if you drain the water and refill the next day, you do not need to use the cover.

4) you can use the cover while you are away for an extended period. Place a basinette with some water inside into the tub and cover so that the humidity can be trapped inside.

5) If you want to use the cover to prevent dust etc. to enter inside overnight, I recommend to let the tub dry for 30 minutes.

Also, note that the hygrometer should be attached on the wall or kept somewhere in the bathroom.The relation between a wooden bathtub and humidity is not simple arithmetics, but keeping an eye on the relative humidity from time to time helps entering in the mindset that dry air (below 50% relative humidity) created by heating equipment and air conditioners may damage the tub overtime.
Let me know if it make sense!


Bartok design Japan Co.
iacopo torrini

seat, lid, drain, maintenance etc.

Dear Iacopo,

Thank you for your quick follow-up! For discussion purposes, please find below a few pictures showing the setting in which the Ofuro would be installed.

There is a drain present at the moment in the space which would seem to arrive at mid length in the Ofuro. The interior dimension of the drain under the blue capping seem to be approximately 45 mm. Do you think that could work?

A few other questions :

  • do you recommend a seat inside?
  • do you recommend a lid?
  • could you send me a link for information on how to maintain and use an Ofuro?
  • the Ofuro would be installed on a floor of Carrara marble mosaic. Do you recommend putting the Ofuro directly on the mosaic or should we install something in between the wood and the marble?

Best regards,

Dear L.

I suggest you use the drain as a floor drain and let the ofuro evacuate onto the floor and from there towards the floor drain.
Consider the ofuro like a large baby bath that can just be placced onto the floor without plumbing connections.

We usually do not recommend a seat inside: it would make it feel smaller and more difficult to clean (wipe occasionally with a towel)
A seat may be convenient if you want to alternate periods of deep soaking (up to the shoulders) with periods of half-body-bath (water line below the heart)
The seat itself does not make the tb more comfortable, as the hydrostatic thrust acts in such a way that the water itself is like a soft cushion adapting to your body.

You can use a lid if you want to hold the hot water for other family members or possibly for the next day.
That said, because the ofuro is not so large, I think it will be more convenient to empty and refill.

Mainenance info:
download documents 3) and 4) from this page:

We recommend placing some packing under the 4 corners of the tub.
This is meant to:
1) avoid direct, prolonged contact between the wet floor and the wood.
2) adjust the tub to make it flat even if the floor has a gradient.
3) adjust the height under the tub for piping etc.
As packing material, you can use slices of tiles, stones, bricks, concrete blocks, plastic wedges, etc.

Please let me know if this answers your questions.


Bartok design Japan Co.
iacopo torrini

lovely reward!

Message from the client:

Dear Iacopo,

Well, it has been so long since you shipped our tub that you may have wondered what had happened to it. After a number of contractors backing out, and one quitting half way through the project; I was able to finish it off myself.
The tub is certainly the centerpiece of the modestly sized room but the look of it snd the scent of the wood riding on the steam are intoxicating!
We are really so happy with the tub.
It was worth the wait!
Thank you so very much for making it for us!

Thank you for the update and lovely photos!
It sounds like your construction process was bumpy, but I am sure it was worth it!
The simple volumes of the vanity and the ofuro go wonderfully with the lovely geometric pattern tiles.
Other details such as the shower glass partition or indirect lighting are functional and make the bathroom feel even more spacious!

february 2023 newsletter

happy Valentine from Japan!

Well, it is not the love that you think… (;゚Д゚) … anyway, for sure a feeling of profound respect and enthusiasm to work together blossomed among us…(⋈◍>◡<◍)。✧♡

And receiving the mandate to distribute Shinichi Murayama`s amazing KUMIKO shoji products WORLDWIDE is even better than a box of choccolate candy hearts!!!


Collaboration with Shinichi Murayama

A common friend introduced me to a genial wood craftsman from Western Kyoto…
And it was love at first sight!

Bartok design Japan Co. will be the official distributor for the products of Murayama Mokko worldwide!
-> to the shop page

Shinichi Maruyama is specialized in the “Kumiko” technique which is used to create shoji and other traditional interior items. (See below for more details)
But Maruyama-sensei pushed the technique towards new unimaginable horizons with curved kumiko, three-dimensional kumiko, and stunning interiors for leading hotels such as Ritz Carlton, Prince Hotel, ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel, FAUCHON L’Hotel, and others.


lights and shadows in London

Message from the client:

Dear Iacopo,
Also, I’m pleased to share a first photo of the completed bath room with you. It’s taken on my iPhone only so not the best quality, but it should give you an idea of what I designed around it in yellow cedar slats which match the ofuro perfectly 🙂

Hope it finds you well x

Well… this photo is already incredibly beautiful and communicative!
I cannot imagine a better one!

When I opened the email, at first I thought that by mistake I downloaded a photo from the internet… (;^_^A
I did not imagine that our traditional Japanese bathtub was transmuted in such a cutting-edge zen masterpiece!

I think this image is the quintessential vertical slit bathroom interior that all minimalist architecture lovers are dreaming of. I think that experiencing this space in person, with the five senses, must be even more powerful.

The edges of the room are sharp but immaterial at the same time, traced by shadows that are originated by the contrast with the bright cedar slats that form walls, floor, and ceiling.
I also love the well-balanced dialogue between symmetries and asymmetries.

december 2022 newsletter

yoi o-toshi wo o-mukae kudasai!

The phrase above is used towards the end of the year to wish a “good approach to the new year”, while once entered in 2023, “shin-nen akemashite omedetou gozaimasu” is used, which means: “the new year started to shine, congratulations”
In any case, everything that has a start will also have an end.
But the end is also the launching pad for a new start!
And we wish that 2023, the year of the rabbit will make you jump into wonderful new stories, new experiences, and maybe also in a new ofuro!

(You can scroll towards the end of this email to see my rabbit-themed proposal for the “haiku-yu” model with ceramic plates made by Nanzan Itoh)


slice of Japan in Bangkok!

Message from the client:

Dear Iacopo & team,

I wanted to share two photos of my installed ofuro tub at my place – see attached.
I’m delighted with it and use it almost every day, it’s a slice of Japan in the urban jungle of Bangkok.

Looking forward to returning to Japan next year when I visit.

Arigato mille,



I am speachless…
blinded by the pure beauty of this installation, and mesmerized by the witty prose!
I still never met H. in person but we have been indirectly connected for several years as his family is also using a bartok design Ofuro since 2015 back in the UK.
I hope to meet soon in Japan (or in Bangkok?) and thank you again for sharing with us this juicy slice of Japan!

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