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Interview with TOTO about Traditional Japanese Bath Design

Apart from color, which is predominantly used in southern regions of the world or Patricia Urquiola's home country Spain, the bathroom is also a culturally loaded topic. There are countries where the traditional bathroom is more than the pure convenient room. Specifically designed and structured bathrooms are a part of the country's culture.It is no secret that the bathroom has a significant meaning in Japan. But how exactly? How does best bathroom design in Japan look like? What is typical Japanese bath design? We talked to bath manufacturer TOTO, three times winner of the iF DESIGN AWARD 2019 and also part of the ISH in Frankfurt!

1. How does the typical Japanese bathroom look like?

In a typical Japanese house, we set up bathtub and toilet in a separate room unlike Europe. Bathing for the Japanese people is not only to sink the body in hot water, but taking daily fatigue away and relaxing as a "peaceful place" to heal your body. For this reason, each set-up has been evolved as an independent space.

2. What does the Japanese consumer expect from designers? How smart and technically equipped must the Japanese bathroom be nowadays?

We understand that customers in Japan look for DESIGN of bathroom products, which are subtle, considering users’ feeling, and not disturbing total spatial expression of own home.

The hot-washing toilet seat "WASHLET™" which is the peculiar approach developed from Japanese culture and the integrated toilet "NEOREST" equipped with WASHLET™ are essential and unique development in today's Japanese bathroom. They definitely play a part in improving the comfort of bathrooms in Japanese houses and hotels.

3. Your company reaches an international market. Americans like their bathrooms differently than Germans and so on. How do you adjust to the different requirements?

Respecting the different bathroom cultures in the world, we at TOTO design our products to harmonize with various spaces by studying the needs of each market. And in order to produce products that are high-quality, functionally designed, and easy to use, we set five design requirements; Originality, Affordance, Sincerity, Integrity and Simplicity.

4. This year, you were honored with three iF awards – among them for the NEOREST AH/RH, which is self-cleaning and eco-friendly. What role does sustainability play in your company in general but also in Japan?

NEORESTAH / RH provides “beautiful design” as well as state-of-art “technologies” born from application of natural energy such as "tornado washing method" with washing water suppressed to only 3.8 L and "ewater" without using chemicals and detergents while having sterilization effect and returning to the original water over time. TOTO will develop products that can protect the global environment for Japanese and world's customers in their daily lives.