Art In A Japanese Bathhouse

We all dream of traveling again soon, and Japan is definitely on my list right on top. I remember a few visits to a bathhouse and enjoying my first experience with their bathing and wellbeing culture very much. That’s why I was immediately drawn to this project submitted within the current FRAME Awards.

This small project for a bathhouse in Kumamoto, built into a house for public and private use, aims to revisit the notion of viewing art objects and their architectural context. Art is projected onto a canvas of rotated triangular hinoki (Japanese cypress), which disrupts the original, seamless work of art by appearing and disappearing at different angles. The disruption evolves perpetually in multiple variations as the bather circulates in space: walking in, sitting down, stretching, soaking in water, immersing in steam.

The materials were chosen based on their local ability, ease of assembly, and environmental impact. Japanese cypress is abundantly available in the region. It is durable and has natural moisture control and good dimensional stability.

The walls and floor were poured with terrazzo, enriched with limestone and black sand fragments, creating an even surface for ease of cleaning and maintenance and an organic texture and color that complimented the warmth of the lumber used in the building. Brass-colored faucets and handrails offer accents to the muting effects of the terrazzo-covered surfaces.

Project by wAtelier | Illustrator: Toshinori Yonemura


The history of bathing in Japan dates from the 6th century; we are discovering the many benefits in the Western world much later now that we start taking care more of ourselves and redefining what wellbeing means. You can discover more in the trend report The New Care Economy.

IT'S TRENDING / New Report

The New Care Economy

Care and wellness have expanded to more industries than you might think since we’ve gained a more holistic perspective of its meaning.

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