The wooden bath renaissance
The wooden bathtub has become popular once again as home owners and spas rethink their bathroom designs. Hansjakob Wetli was the first person in Switzerland to start manufacturing wooden bathtubs again. His own workshop (Schreinerei Wetli) took on the development and production of the wooden baths.
The pioneering work of Hansjakob Wetli is reflected in his own words:
“In 2001 I was looking for a new product to make us less dependent on the pressures of cost and competition.
One day on-site, the owner of a plumbing business asked me if it would be possible to produce a bath from wood. My first thought was: water and wood don’t go well together. But the idea took root. After two months of thinking I decided to create a prototype. The first important question was about how to get the surface of the bathtub right. Should we use a two-part synthetic varnish, oil or wax polish? After some long drawn-out experiments I decided to go for an oil-wax mixture. This allows the wood to breathe and provides a good balance for the different levels of moisture. This varnish also simplifies the task of applying new coats to the wood.
Next, a variety of types of wood were subjected to bonding and glue tests. Finding a suitable drainage system presented another difficulty. Around the middle of 2002 the first bath “Yanik” was created out of solid ash wood for an exhibition in Zurich.
2003: I produced another bath made of cherry tree wood for an exhibition, as well as a Columbus bath for my own use made of beech.
In 2005 I sold the first round “Rondo” bath.
The first “Syna” bath was produced in 2006.
By the end of 2013, 39 baths and 55 washbasins in completely different forms and made of various types of wood had been sold and installed.
The take-over and establishment of Traumbad.
In 2014 Norbert Lohrer took over responsibility for the company, as Hansjakob had retired and sold his workshop. Norbert has created his own highly creative workshop over the past 20 years. Hansruedi Büchler, a self-employed carpenter and craftsman, completed the team. He had already worked in collaboration with the Lohrer workshop for many years. Despite the fact that Hansjakob is retired, the team still benefits from his considerable know-how and expertise. The three of us decided to establish a new business and to name it Traumbad (Bath Dreams).
As a master carpenter and designer Norbert has developed a highly creative business over the past twenty years. His love of wood has produced countless works over this time.
Hansruedi has constantly been involved in art and handcraft movements, in particular working with natural, organic shapes and forms.
Hansjakob has established his own creative workshop and is the pioneer of the modern wooden bathtub. His experience is a great source of support.
The Lohrer Workshop
is a creative enterprise consisting of artisans, interior designers, master builders, restorers, architects and artists. In addition to wooden bathtubs, our team also manufacture interior fittings.
This comes from three sources:
• Shapes and materials direct from nature, which then take on their own heavenly forms.
• The handcraft tradition, with know-how and expertise passed down over thousands of years.
• The people themselves – their wishes and desires for their own bath.
These three sources of inspiration flow together to help inspire the creative process.
We decided to develop baths with a new, organic shape which would enhance our range. We envisaged a form of sculpture which also provided a comfortable bathing experience: a fusion of art and function. The idea of a shell shape came up, but it soon became clear it would be difficult to achieve with the traditional, horizontally layered construction methods. Almost all modern solid wood baths are layered horizontally. This style seriously restricted the design possibilities, as the natural form of the wood itself came into conflict with the concept of the bath which we were looking to create.
Our first shell-style bathtub, the “Muschel”, was well received. However, made up of 350 separate pieces it was very complex to build. So, the following year we developed a simplified model, the “Nautilus”. With only 12 curved pieces it dramatically streamlined the manufacturing process.
Vision and Values
The design and hand-crafted production of the highest quality wooden bathroom fittings - Swiss from start to finish.
A holistic approach: Design, testing, production, environmental sustainability and marketability all come to together to help shape the creative process.
Christian values are at the heart of our work: people working for and with each other from our apprentices, right through to customers.