The Naoshima Bath house was opened on July 26, 2009 under the name of “I♥湯 (I love you).” Conceived by the artist Shinro Ohtake, this charming name softens the hearts of the customers before using the bathroom.
The project is particularly interesting because it blurs the distinction between art and practical daily life (the bathhouse can be used by locals, who pay just 300 yen rather than the standard 500 yen entrance fee to use it), between private corporations and public works, and between inside and outside.
The bottoms of the baths are lined with stones and collages of found images and shunga erotic prints that come in and out of view with the movement of the water.
“The appearance of the bath, located two minutes’ walk from Naoshima Miyanoura Port, is extremely conspicuous. Above the front entrance where we find two palm trees which makes us feel as if we are in a southern land, there is a sign showing a silhouette of a woman’s body, from which extends a fierce red neon sign, “ゆ (hot water)”. On the wall, which was painted using white as its basic color, there are a number of brilliant coloured concrete and unglazed tiles“.
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