A larch wood and movingui bathtub from Italian designer Rapsel, priced at $23,200 at AF New York, represents a serious business initiative as well. 3D AutoDesk Inventor files are offered for architects who want to build it into their plans.

Rapsel spokesperson Valeria Provini says the soaking tub, designed by Mattheo Thun and Antonio Rodriguez, celebrates Japanese bathing culture.

"The idea the idea was to celebrate the Japanese millenarian ritual of bathing through this bathtub (that’s where the name Ofuro comes - from the Western sounding of the Japanese お風呂 - "the bath.")

The movingui (also known as African Satinwood) and the larch wood was dried, formed and brought together "in an elaborate technique." To celebrate the ritual of purification of soul,"The designers decided to use a natural element, and chose Larch wood," says Provini. The bathtub is available in 2 versions : with or without overflow.

The wood tub is maintained by periodically alowing it to dry, sainding it with a fine abrasive sponge or Scotch Brite, then seasoning it with vegetable oil. After the oil absorbs, drafting and polishing the bathtub.

In recent years Rapsel has developed a contract division, researching "new shapes, technologies and materials in order to create atmospheres, to suggest sensations and welcome human beings in a space, the bathroom, which is becoming more important inside public areas."

Rapsel has also developed a rosewood vanity and larch wood shower, toilet and sink cover designs.