You truly haven’t taken a bath until you’ve soaked within an ofuro – the short, steep-sided wooden bathtubs occasionally still found in Japanese homes and ryokans. These short and deep tubs deliver an incomparable sensory experience compared to the shallow styles generally found in American bathrooms. They envelop bathers in a relaxing, neck-deep experience enhanced by subtle aromatics scents released with the addition of hot water. Luxury bathtub manufacturer Aquatica recognizes the traditional design as a perfect template to deliver a technologically and ergonomically advanced update to the body’s call for rejuvenation.
While the Aquatica retains the recognizable aesthetic and dimensional attributes of the traditional soaking tub, the True Ofuro Tranquility Heated Japanese Bathtub is no mere replica. Taking cues from a heating device known as an oidaki, the True Ofuro recirculates water through an integrated heater and ozone disinfection system via an ultra-quiet pump engineered to keep bath water perpetually clean and at a constant temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit, eliminating the need for refills during extended soaking sessions, saving water and energy.
And how many bathtubs come equipped with their very own integrated Bluetooth stereo audio system, complete with a Class D amplifier rated for 300W peak low distortion output? Bathtub karaoke, anyone?
As if having your own integrated wireless sound system wasn’t enough, the Aquatica also equips the True Ofuro bathtub with a mood lighting system designed to illuminate bathers in a rainbow of underwater chromotherapy light.
Aquatica’s catalog of bathtubs extends far beyond this single design, ranging from sculptural minimalist forms to wildly imaginative options. Curious to learn more about the company behind these innovative bathtub designs, we interviewed Aquatica’s Joseph Burnstein to gain further insight about the design development of these advanced luxury bathtubs.
Where are Aquatica bathtubs designed and manufactured?
Our design office and solid surface casting plant is located in Vinci, near Florence, Italy – near the birthplace of renowned renaissance era Italian scientist, architect, engineer and painter Leonardo da Vinci. We have one dedicated industrial designer and two product engineers. Aquatica is currently studying the feasibility of opening a manufacturing plant in the US.
Beyond the numerous technological features available, your team seems to have dedicated a significant amount of attention to ergonomics.
It might sound shocking but the vast majority of the bathtubs available in the market neglect ergonomics and the body’s relation to water depth. We’ve developed an interactive Body Positioner for this purpose; it’s an online tool that allows customers to virtually see how their body might fit inside any of our bathtubs and evaluate the water depth according to their body position. Anyone can try it out now by visiting one of our product pages. We’re currently working on an update which will render a life-like 3D model based upon gender, waist line, length, body type etc.
The 2016 American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey shows accessibility features in the bathroom ranks high in consumer interest. How is Aquatica meeting this market trend for an aging population?
You’ll note the Aquatica True Ofuro is designed with a wide rim, making it easier to get in and out of the bathtub. The design is also ideal for shorter, older, and physically less fit people to sit comfortably or lean safely on the bath rim while getting in and out.
This year we also introduced our first walk-in bathtub, the Baby Boomer. It features a visually attractive transparent acrylic glass door with a modern overall design which is not seen in any other walk-in bathtubs on the market.
Before that, we created a low-step bathtub called Coletta, which was specifically designed for bathers who have troubles lifting their legs above the bathtub rim. We will keep introducing models prioritizing accessibility balanced with aesthetic designs.
How have materials such as acrylics and composites changed bathtub designs?
New composite materials like solid surface and polymerized concrete have enabled designers to overcome some of the depth and other dimensional restrictions formerly faced when manufacturing with older acrylic thermoforming machines. Our AquateX™ is an advanced solid surface material primarily composed of aluminum mineral derived from bauxite, a deeply weathered volcanic rock. It’s a durable and high performance cast stone material specifically, suitable for high-end bathroom applications.
What’s on the horizon for Aquatica?
We’re making efforts towards reducing the amount of water necessary to enjoy our bathtubs. The idea is to eventually engineer a range of small, yet luxurious relaxation bathtubs with spa-like integrated water filtration and disinfection systems that would produce crystal clean water to reuse for many weeks instead of draining it after every use, the ultimate realization of Aquatica’s values: Function, Form, and Fashion.
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