Each year, 27 million people from around the world visit the state of Oregon. Many of them come not to experience American culture, but rather for a taste of far-off Japan in the Portland Japanese Garden, considered one of the most authentic places outside the home islands.
The horticultural complex includes eight unique settings — from gardens with a rustic path of stepping stones leading to a traditional Japanese tea house, to a strolling pond garden with a relaxing stream and waterfall, modeled after aristocratic estates during Japan’s Edo period.
Since 2017, the complex has included a cultural village, where visitors can immerse themselves in traditional Japanese arts while growing closer to history and nature. Seasonal festivals and performances educate and entertain the roughly 350,000 visitors who flock here each year.
Creation of this cultural village was part of the Garden’s Cultural Crossing project, aimed at increasing awareness of the complex and helping to bridge the gap of understanding between American and Japanese cultures. Located at the entrance to the Japanese Garden, the Cultural Crossing area was designed by world-renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma for his first public commission in North America.
Part of this project involved partnering with sponsors who might serve as intercultural conduits. The Japanese-headquartered LIXIL Corporation—parent company for North American brands American Standard, DXV, GROHE and INAX—saw this partnership as a perfect fit and signed on to sponsor the Cultural Crossing project. This involved the donation of plumbing fixtures, faucets, accessories, tile and wall coverings to outfit the learning center, gallery, library, garden house and café that are all part of the Cultural Crossing area. The Garden completed construction of this project in the spring of 2017, with various activities occurring throughout 2018 to celebrate its opening.
Inside the men’s and women’s restrooms, DXV SpaLet AT200 integrated bidet toilets combine unique design, advanced technology and thoughtful engineering to transform a bathroom visit into a luxurious experience. Emphasis is placed on providing an enhanced hygienic practice and sense of self-indulgence with an automatic open/close heated seat, a two-nozzle water spray with massage capability and a convenient deodorizer. These features upgrade the bathroom into a relaxing, life-enhancing space, as it is in traditional Japanese culture. At the same time, the SpaLet AT200 is water efficient with its dual-flush ability (1.32/0.92 gallons per flush).
ADA-compliant Serin wall-mount sensor-operated faucets from American Standard reinforce the design theme of clean, minimalist beauty and utility with their hygienic, touch-free operation for Garden visitors. Their durable construction is ideal for high-use applications and their contemporary styling elevates the design of these commercial restrooms. The Serin bathroom sink faucet has an adjustable spout reach, from 6 to 9-inches wall-to-outlet, and features a vandal-resistant metal body. It also includes a self-cleaning solenoid that prevents clogging and run-on, allowing for reduced maintenance and operational costs.
Staff showers at the Garden provide a restful escape from daily tasks. The sleek modern New Tempesta Cosmopolitan 100 shower head from GROHE provides a generous rain shower spray pattern and uses a maximum flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute, providing a soothing counterpart to the surrounding natural landscape. It operates with the Allure pressure balance valve trim, also from GROHE, and features easy single-handle operation and the brand-exclusive GROHE StarLight chrome finish that is soil and scratch resistant for easy maintenance.
Lining the bathroom walls are black and white Izumo and Yuki glazed porcelain tile borders from INAX. Each tastefully designed tile—elongated in shape and placed vertically on the restroom walls—distinctively defines the space. The contrast of light and dark across the complex leverages the Japanese aesthetic of shadow to generate an aura of subtlety.
A trip to the Portland Japanese Garden is a cultural education in every sense. Once visitors step into the enchanting Garden, they are transported thousands of miles away to an authentic Japanese setting. And it doesn’t end there. The exquisite plumbing products provided by LIXIL—from their American Standard, DXV, GROHE and INAX brands—do their part in transforming the trip from a simple visit into a complete cultural experience.