There is no doubt that Japanese culture has influenced virtually every aspect of European lifestyle. And more than any other cross-cultural movement, its effects could legitimately be described as having an entirely beneficial effect on our day-to-day routines: from the way we decorate our living spaces to the food we eat and the way we travel.
If there are four key areas in which Japanese culture shows us the way forward – technology, design, luxury and well-being – then TOTO is their complete embodiment. When you enter a TOTO bathroom, you are engaging with a history of proud traditions. TOTO has been developed to create harmony between body and spirit, realising a perfect bathroom experience.
While other major economic powers poured investment into space exploration after World War II, Japanese scientists concentrated on making everyday life more comfortable. They created commercial products that employed computing and robotic technologies for the first time. From televisions through to VCRs and digital cameras, Japanese companies have been the pioneers of innovation, putting increasingly complex electronics within the reach of consumers in domestic settings. By bringing this spirit into the bathroom, TOTO has become established as the leading bathroom design company in Japan. TOTO promises to do to washing what technology has done to home entertainment: to make one inconceivable without the other.
It has been said that in the West a bath is where you clean your body, but in Japan it is where you cleanse your soul. It’s a maxim that encapsulates how the Japanese enshrine the bathroom as a place for achieving both physical and spiritual well-being. In the home, Japanese architects and interior designers are generations ahead of those in Europe when it comes to creating spaces where time spent in the bathroom can be the relaxing, meditative core of each day. And in the ryokan – traditional Japanese inns – bathing is an integral part of the experience of retreat and restoration. TOTO promises to bridge the gap between European and Japanese bathroom cultures, taking the more enlightened attitude from the East and making it available to a whole new market with an unprecedented degree of quality and authenticity.
In Japan, highly trained artisans making everything from kimonos to traditional swords are greatly respected, and their wares highly valued. The appreciation and desire for these items has propelled Japan into the epicentre of the global luxury market. It is hardly surprising that Japanese consumers are among the leading purchasers of the world’s luxury goods every year. This is the culture in which TOTO has established itself as the leading producer of bathroom products, proving that in the home of luxury it is the brand of choice. TOTO represents the emphasis on tradition and craft that is so important to the Japanese notion of luxury. But it also embodies an innovative spirit needed to keep it at the pinnacle of its sector over a long period, with standards of excellence constantly rising.
If contemporary Japanese design can be summed up in one word it is ‘refined’. Every superfluous aspect is eradicated so that the appearance of a product never obscures its function. The Shinkansen train is iconic in appearance, but the main reason it looks like a bullet is to make it faster. Many Japanese architects use construction materials to astonishing visual effect in their work, but their primary intention is to design successful buildings that invigorate their users and their surroundings. TOTO takes this design philosophy into the bathroom, with products that incorporate highly sophisticated technology but which never draw attention to it. TOTO prefers to engage with the lineage of classic product design, combining an inherently Japanese approach to balancing form and function with an elegance and beauty perfectly suited to the European bathroom.