2014 may have been the year of the booty, but it took me six cold and less-than-sterile more (plus 2020’s lockdown) to get mine into the warm seat of a Toto Washlet C200, my top pick in this rotund—or rather, well-rounded—assortment of bidet toilet-seat attachments—and love-letter the form.
Let’s start with the basics. Bidet is French for “pony”—ride it, indeed—but it was an American, Arnold Cohen, who invented the rump sprinkler in the early 1960s. In ’67, Cohen licensed his patented design to the Japanese toilet manufacturer Toto, which in turn, in 1980, debuted the Washlet series I know and adore.
An incredible marketing campaign ensued throughout the ’80s and ’90s, and now, approximately 80 percent of Japanese households plop down on the furniture. They really do do it better in Japan, where the devices are increasingly common (and in China, and in Korea… The list, like that megapack of TP that may last forever if you get a bidet, goes on). A good bidet attachment slides right on top of your toilet. You can (as I did) install it yourself, and its features range, depending on your model’s price point, from a cold jet of water with missile-like precision to a warm and ionized oscillating spray. Other features include heated seats, hot-air dryers, bowl-wetters, self-cleaners, deodorizers, lights, automatic seat-raisers, and digital music or sounds of the natural world (think: rain) to mask one’s earthly human business.
The result is no less than a revolution in self-hygiene, and, frankly, a better way to move through the day. Besides the extra confidence you’ll gain from perma-clean buns, you’ll save on toilet paper. (Bidets are good for the earth, too: The bidet manufacturer Tushy estimates that the water used to produce one roll is equivalent to 296 bidet squirts).
For those ready to hop on the bidet bandwagon, there are several models to compare. Consider the Omigo Element, a non-electric (i.e., powered by water pressure), bare-bones but functional apparatus that provides front and back washes, adjustable water pressure, and a self-cleaning function. (Heated water is available on the Element+ version.) There’s also the Tushy Classic 3.0, another basic, nonelectric perch that inflicts an ice pick of pain; or BioBidet’s BB-600 Ultimate Bidet Seat, a low- to mid-range model that is operated via a side control panel instead of a remote. Offered in two sizes, for round or elongated bowls, it has a wash for him and her with adjustable positions, warm water and air dying, and a heated seat.
My favorite, as mentioned earlier, is the Toto Washlet C200. It has all the features of the BioBidet, plus others that include a pulsating spray, an automatic air deodorizer and wand cleaning, a soft-close lid, and a “pre-mist” that wets the bowl before each use. A comparable but slightly pricier second is the remote-controlled Lotus ATS 2000, which is made only for elongated bowls and offers a soothing “oscillating/massage” function.
I’ll never forget my first encounter with a Toto Washlet, at a family friend’s place in Japan’s Saitama prefecture, when I was six years old. The memory is recorded on a Sony mini-cassette from my parents’ long-dead camcorder. From behind it, I explain (to an American audience) each feature of the wall-mounted remote control system: “This one heats the seat. This one dries with warm air. This stops it.…” I wavered for a moment, my finger gliding over the “Front” wash button, too much for a small boy’s brain to bear, then descended, “And this one washes your butt.”
Almost three decades later, I’m still enamored with bidets, and less shy about singing their praises. In fact, I encourage all guests to rest their weary cheeks immediately upon entering my house. But don’t let this final word of advice wash over you unheeded: Invest—lest the ice pick hit you where it hurts—but there’s no need to break that (big) bank. A mid-range model with core features (warm water and seat, adjustable nozzle and pressure, and ideally a dryer) will keep your best end warm on the coldest winter nights, squeaky clean on sticky summer days, and veritably excited for one of life’s less-enthralling duties.
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Green thumbs have long extolled the value of raised garden beds for their weed-reducing and water-retaining abilities, nPlanted—a New York–based company that provides resources and materials for cultivating your own food, including seedlings sourc
In recent decades, art has steadily expanded into the digital realm, thanks, in part, to copious new apps, tools, and tuForest Crayons, a series of prism-shaped drawing implements that are made from natural materials and that use wood as their sole sourc
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Despite being among the most abundant tree species in Finland, pine has been largely overlooked and underutilized as a fVaarnii seeks to revive the use of pine in furniture making, and with it, forge a new era in Finnish design that celebrates the
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Before fast fashion became the norm, children typically learned how to make their own clothes, often from their parents Almaborealis, a line of D.I.Y. sewing kits that teach kids the value of creating garments that last.
A Digital Museum Tells Time-Honored Stories of the Indian Subcontinent Through Everyday Objects and Family Heirlooms
A gold dial Titan quartz wristwatch with a worn-out brown leather strap. A 32-caliber Colt pistol. A dekchi, or brass cooking pot for cooking the traditional rice dish biryani. A signed letter from Mother Teresa. An Imperial Bank of India checkbook. These are but five items in the collection ofMuseum of Material Memory, an online repository of objects from across the Indian subcontinent, dating from or before the 1970s, including books,
Those who have come to embrace CBD—short for cannabidiol, a chemical abundant in the cannabis plant that, unlike its sibEpidiolex, to treat rare seizure disorders; the majority of scientific studies on the chemical have been conducted on animals.) T$16 billion by 2025, fueled by users who report relief from afflictions including anxiety, depression, and stress. So it seems only natural
For Lorne M. Buchman, president of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, the creative process rarely conYves Béhar, Paula Scher, and Frank Gehry, as well as companies such as Apple and Tesla, attest to such experiences in Buchman’s neMake to Know: From Spaces of Uncertainty to Creative Discovery (Thames & Hudson), as archetypes that demonstrate the value of embracing the unknown as a way to unleash new ideas.
A Fashion Designer Transforms Deadstock Textiles and Upcycled Sleeping Bags Into Wearable Life-Saving Shelters
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At a Los Angeles Exhibition, “Almost-Dysfunctional” Japanese Pottery That Conveys the Circle of Life
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According to a 2016 report by the World Economic Forum, a full garbage truck’s worth of plastic flows into our oceans almost every minute. While e
The ingenuity of the Parentesi lamp, first released by the Italian lighting brand Flos in 1971, is most evident when it’s handled: Slide the nickel-plated
Elyn Zimmerman Created a Memorial to the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing—Then It Was Destroyed on 9/11
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“This is a new world,” says Cyrille Vigneron, president and CEO of Cartier, during a gala dinner he recently hosted on tSixième Sens (“Sixth Sense”), the luxury house’s newest collection. He continues, “High jewelry belongs to the world of sensory stim
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Earlier this month, a stately structure covered in angled white bricks opened its doors in the East Williamsburg area ofAmant Foundation, a nonprofit arts organization that values a slow, focused approach in making and viewing art. (It has a sister locatio
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In his 1982 book Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives, the late futurist John Naisbitt predicted that people employed by technology companies would crave real-world social c
One year ago, entrepreneur Jaé Joseph and creative director Brianna Wise released a survey that doubled as an applicatioBlack Apothecary Office (BAO): a three-month-long accelerator program designed to help Black- and Latinx-owned beauty and wellness start-ups reBAO Universe, a digital marketplace offering goods such as velvety face oils, silky moisturizers, and hydrating shampoo from some of
“I don’t just look at stones. I need to touch them, and feel the life inside them,” says Lucia Silvestri, who sources geBulgari and serves as its creative director. “There’s sensuality in the energy of gems born in the depths of the earth.” Such v most exquisite pieces designed by the Roman jeweler to date. (Some 200 other items will be added to the collection later
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When Louis Cartier designed the Tank watch, in 1917, its rectangular dial was a bold departure from the round cases of the era. Inspired by an aerial view of the
Kintsugi, the time-honored Japanese practice of using powdered precious metals to repair broken ceramics, has steadily gained poKintsugi: The Poetic Mend (Bloomsbury). In it, she interviews kintsugi masters, details various techniques, and considers potential grounds for the custom’s development. Here, Kemske discusskintsugi’s origins and why it resonates so strongly with people today.
A New Film Highlights Fashion Designer Margaret Howell’s Admiration for Understated Japanese Objects and Materials
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Yolande Batteau’s Latest Body of Work Reflects a Passionate Personal Investigation of Materials and Self
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Since ancient times, people have looked to the sun, moon, and stars to create a sense of rhythm and order in their livesLittle Lange 1 Moon Phase watch elevates the poetic movement with a copper-flecked, midnight-blue silver dial that shimmers like the night sky, a
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Vietnamese-American Stylist Beverly Nguyen Pays Tribute to Her Family and Friends With a New Pop-Up Shop
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For many diners, using “biodegradable” or “compostable” takeout containers is one way of doing their part in protecting don’t break down in a backyard composting bin and require special conditions to degrade. The Canadian company Case has a better solution: a circular system for food receptacles.
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As the vaccine rollout continues, previously closed galleries and museums have, thankfully, continued to steadily reopenWhen Practice Becomes Form: Carpentry Tools from Japan,” on view through July 11, presents an ode to the tradition of Japanese architecture and handcraft. On display are an atōryō. The collection of beautiful saws, chisels, and planes demonstrate the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Japanese joiner
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East Fork imbues traditional clay tableware with a sense of delight, resulting in pieces that are instantly recognizable. The commonth)—while its expansion into the lifestyle realm, with online recipes and carefully culled pantry items, such as black gar Your products often immediately sell out. A few months ago, an article in the New York Post called your passionate fans the “new potheads.” What makes East Fork’s pieces so covetable?
Recent studies attest to what the crafters among us have known for a long time: that the rhythmic, repetitive nature of knitting, crocCelia Pym, working with her hands is more than a stress-relieving pastime—it’s instinctive. She grew up in a family where repairi
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Hand-wringing and hand-washing seem to be defining this time warp of a pandemic. When it comes to the latter, we’re partSlowdown hand-wash set from the New York upstart Dally Goods—not just for its name (which, to be clear, we’re not connected to), but its ethosExperts say fantasy can provide a way through difficult times; if harmless daydreaming can get us through this moment, we’ll happily indulge in a bit of wanderlust where we can find
Technology and industry often get much of the credit for fueling the United States’ development, but for curator, writerCraft: An American History (Bloomsbury), out next week, Adamson shows how skilled laborers shaped the nation, telling remarkable, often surprising
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The culture of wellness tends to focus on trends, like meditation hacks or CBD gummies. But a new app devotes itself to Kama turns to leading neuroscientists, psychologists, somatic therapists, and other experts to help us better our bedroom hasaid in an interview with Forbes that she sees the company as a response to a “sex and intimacy recession” that’s happening around the world. “Our body
Wood boxes are something of a national treasure in Japan, where Buddhist monks began tucking stoles, prayer beads, and okiribako—boxes handcrafted from paulownia, a native tree with lightweight, durable, water-resistant timber—into the mainstream. Masuda Kiribako, which has been skillfully producing traditional receptacles since 1929.
Three years ago, French furniture and object designer Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance—whose clients include Baccarat, Bernhardt Made in Situ that champions the traditional crafts, techniques, and materials of the region through objects he designs and makes witsoenga. How did the idea for Made in Situ come about?
Imagine shopping a trove of objects that are at once elegant and ethically made—no post-purchase consumer guilt necessarGoodee, an online marketplace of homewares and clothing that make a positive impact on people and the planet. Founded by Montrundulating Pakurigo baskets handwoven by artisans in Ghana from locally sourced vetiver grass, vegan seaweed soap that cleverly uses coriander seeds and peppercorns as exfoliants, and the sought-after Goodee Hoodie, recently released in three new colors (dusty rose, Egyptian blue, and alabaster) and made from Egyptian cotton by the Kotn. There’s also a handsome German Douglas pine daybed from Danish B Corp Skagerak, topped with Kvadrat upholstery, and a Japanese windmill palm fiber “corner brush” designed to dust the undustable. Feel like decking the halls? Try these multihued Jipi Baubles tree ornaments, handmade from Jipijapa palm tree leaves by Colombian artisans in the Andes. For those on our gift lists, including the
That we’ve all likely considered relocating to another planet at some point this year may be no bad thing, according to In a recent study published in the journal PLOS One, the group describes their experiments with the organic polymer chitin that demonstrate its viability as a building matEp. 16 of our Time Sensitive podcast)—with a mineral equivalent to Martian soil. They used it to successfully construct an array of objects, including a worProject Olympus, a research initiative looking to develop structures that can be 3D-printed out of lunar dust. Working with the Austin-he recently told Fast Company. “It’s actually going to make construction on Earth even faster, even cheaper.”
Fashion brand Kilomet109, headquartered in Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi, is reviving the country’s textile traditions with each piece in its men’s
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“Many people think play is just for children,” says London-based designer Michelle Rinow. “But it’s necessary through alTransforming Touch, a series of knitted lights that encourage users of every age to engage in a bout of old-fashioned fun. Rinow cleverly
Wonder Valley’s hinoki body oil—a cult favorite among beauty and wellness bloggers—is formulated around a simple moisturizer that’s been embraced by va
There are roughly 2,000 species of cacti found around the world. The speciality plant store Hot Cactus, run by a collective of creatives in Los Angeles, stocks some of the rarest breeds online and at its shoebox brick-and-Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia), is made expressly with the elongated napiform root of peyote in mind. For $70, you can nab one of Morris’s Peyote Pot grow kits: Each comes with four seeds so you can germinate your own Lophophora fricii, a cactus species that’s native to Mexico and commonly referred to as “false peyote.” That is—sorry to disappoint you—n
By now, it’s a well-known fact that the multi-trillion-dollar fashion and apparel industry ranks as a top polluter world10 percent of annual global carbon emissions. It is also the third-largest consumer of the planet’s water supply—exceeded only by the oil and paper industries—and is set to double its consumption rate by 2030. Much of this water is Living Colour, the duo experiment with pigment-producing bacteria as a sustainable alternative to artificial textile dyes, which are Design to Fade, the very first bacterial-dyed sportswear collection. “We see it as a collaboration with the organism,” Luchtman says,
Japanese culture is known worldwide for its meticulous approach to hospitality—and, ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, thTokyo Toilet project invited 16 world-class designers to rethink this humble, often overlooked, piece of public infrastructure.
Abby Bangser, founder and curator of the art and design fair Object & Thing, shook up the New York scene last spring with a refreshing debut that freely mixed online commerce with curated, exhibi
Toilet paper, like so many everyday items, has become a political point of contention in this maelstrom of a year, one t$31 billion tissue-paper industry in North America, as designers Benjamin Critton and Heidi Korsavong, co-directors of the Los Angeles art and design galMarta, point out. And with their latest installation, “Under/Over,” on view through Nov. 1, they’re addressing this dark underlayer of the Big T.P. industry with a group show examining thPlant Paper (which makes toxin- and tree-free toilet paper using only fast-growing, FSC-certified bamboo), Critton and Korsavong in
When New York Fashion Week announced its anemic lineup for this month’s showings, the writing on the wall was as plain aEp. 69 of At a Distance, the fashion and apparel industry is a known top contributor to environmental pollution worldwide—and, as it grapples w
To an industrial designer, plastics and metals are typically a native language while natural materials are a foreign tonBradley Bowers didn’t touch them until graduate school, at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and discovered an approach to manipHalo, debuted this past spring. Bowers’s flair for transformation shines through each fixture, where sheets of cotton paper,
Getting a full-body exfoliating treatment is an experience, to say the least—one that will leave you feeling silky smootGoshi towel, made in Gunma, a prefecture of Japan touted for its textile and silk manufacturing, is no mere loofah. Woven wit