Someone at the door? a friend? a delivery?
There’s no need to wriggle into a pair of shoes, or perform an awkward stretch manoeuvre to reach the door handle…
Named after the Japanese word for stepping stone, “Tobiishi” creates a designated, comfortable & clean spot to temporarily step upon, so you can answer the door effortlessly before returning to the comfort of your own home.
Designed in collaboration with EntreX Inc. for BCL (Japan).
Soft PU with slip-resistant rubber base.
Dark Grey, Grey, & Light Grey.
Speckled, stone-like surface finish.
∅149mm x 25mm, 158g
Size (in packaging)
154mm x 154mm x 28mm, 199g
Tobiishi is a touch of British design for the Japanese home interior.
Japan is a country full of rules that are taken very seriously and a standard custom is that of taking your shoe’s off when entering a private space.
In the UK, most people also consider it extremely rude to keep your shoes on inside the house, and although a British host may never mention the fact that you are traipsing dirt all over their carpets directly to your face, you can be sure that you will never be invited again! ^^
In Japan however, this ‘unwritten rule’ is taken one step further by embedding it directly into the architecture of apartments, in the form of a sunken porch or ‘genkan’ area by the door, a little lower than the rest of the floor space. A mainstream element of interior design to the Japanese eye, but an interesting and novel idea to an immigrant, that demonstrates how design can be used instead of words to guide human behaviour.
Soon after setting up his design studio in Tokyo in 2012, Duncan found some key flaw’s during his experience of this new ‘space’ and turned to product design to solve them.
The problem is, when answering the door to greet friends or accept a delivery, there is no ‘clean’ area to step on to reach the door, and so the only options are to scramble into a pair of shoes, take a single step, then take them off again a few seconds later, or play a ridiculous game of lean-and-balance-awkwardly.
The solution was inspired by garden stepping stones, especially those in Heian-jingu shrine’s garyu-kyu pond in Kyoto, which Scarlett Johansson doddles over in the film ‘Lost in Translation’. The function of the product mirrors that of a stepping stone, so styling the product on a stone not only a fits poetically, but also helps silently communicate this new invention’s function to users. Echoing the concept of the Japanese genkan space, design is used instead of words to guide human behaviour.