about lacquer

The fantastic and ecological material created from natural sap

Natural lacquer is a fantastic material used in art craft that is created using a natural sap. The history of Japanese lacquer is very old and goes up to the Jomon period (5500 years ago). The “maki-e” lacquer, a product of the first part of medieval period, has fascinated even the courts of Western Europe and the oldest and most representative product of this genre, the Tamamushi, is still conserved in the museum of temple Horyuji and still has its original brightness. The first step in order to create a lacquer art craft is to prepare the base of plain wood: this is an operation made by the “plain wood craftsman”. It is not too much to say that the result of a lacquer craft depends on this first and important step. The next step is to apply the lacquer. Apply the lacquer and sharpen it: this is an operation that must be repeated many times and it requires a really great experience of the craftsman. Moreover, if the lacquer peels off or brakes, to apply the lacquer again in order to use that craft fo r a long time that could even be eternal.

Lacquer is a totally ecological material.

about design

Massage from Yukio Hashimoto

“I have got to go to hot spring more often” or “I would like to have a hot bath”, these words come to mind from time to time. I think that for Japanese people “furo”, the traditional Japanese bath, or “having a hot bath” is something special. Though bathing helps us to relax and make us forget every day’s stress and tension, nonetheless it seems to me that something is missing. If for sofas or other pieces of furniture variations are infinite, when it comes to the bathtub there is not so much to choose about.
Wouldn’t it be nice, for example, to enjoy the bath in a stand-alone fixture placed in the middle of your living room, or in the garden?
My proposal is a bathtub that can be placed everywhere, giving us new ways to enjoy bathing. Decoratively covered with lacquer, this bathtub can be seen as a sort of huge lacquer ware or even as a decorative object, and the aim of this project is to show the furo like a kind of symbol of Japanese identity and not just a place where to keep water.

  • Yukio Hashimoto
    After his graduation from Aichi Prefecture University of Fine Arts and Music he worked several years at Super Potato Co. Ltd and then established hashimoto yukio design studio inc. in 1996. Lecturer at Women’s College of Fine Arts and Aichi Prefecture University of Fine Arts and Music.
  • Biography
    Born in 1962 in Aichi Prefecture
  • “Daidaiya”, ”Kamonka”, ”Beams House”, ”The Peninsula Tokyo”, “Mitsuo Aida Museum” etc. are among his main works. About working as a designer he says “to design not the material but the Ambience: that is his goal”.


The high technique and the patience hidden in a multicolor brightness

The operations of applying a cloth around the body of adjusting the shape when the lacquer gets dry, of applying again the lacquer on that when is ready, have been conducted in day and at night for more than one month in order to create this bathtub in lacquer.“Lacquer is not only beauty, but it has also propriety such as being an inexhaustible material because it can be applied on everything; it is resistant to bacteria; it is resistant to hot temperatures and it does not dissolve even at 800℃. All these peculiarities have been useful even for creating this bathtub”.
The technique used for this bathtub is the one called “dry lacquer” and is famous from ages because has been used in order to create many Buddhist statues. The base is the polyurethane form and, on this, I applied with hands the cloth and the lacquer. The special luster of lacquer becomes lighter than 30kg.
I believe movable bathtub will create your life wonderful !! (Tomochika Saito)

Tomochika Saito
Saito Tomochika Wood craft artist/KISO ARTECH CO., LTD.

Profile of the craftsman
Born in 1945 in Nagano prefecture.
From 1970 studies under his father. In 1990 founds the Wood Altec s.p.a. and start his career as wood craft designer. In 2003 one of his chairs obtains the prize Good Design. He also products works for the NHK Hall of Matsumoto city and “The Peninsula, Tokyo”.


Basin with bending surface
This basin, with a soft streamline, reproduces the typical Japanese container. On the surface there a gradations of color from black to pearl created with lacquer, and expresses a velvety emotion.