Tatami mats have long been part of the traditional design of most Japanese houses and establishments, but this new version of the rice straw mats have been given a “cyber” makeover. A picture that has been making the rounds on Twitter show a tea house with illuminated mats, giving it a look like something out of a science-fiction movie.
Called “hikari tatami”, this new design has been around for some time but just recently caught the attention of netizens. A translucent material is woven on the traditional straw-made tatami mats and then LED lights are put under the mats to produce that eerie but cool effect. Some restaurants have been using the new kinds of mats to attract customers with its glowing, sci-fi look and judging by the reactions of people to the pictures circulating social media sites, it seems to be working.
The “cyber” mat teahouse from the original post has been identified as “Shuhally” in Yokohama. Customers can rent the teahouse for the entire day for around 100,000 yen (about US$1,000). Aside from the cool lighted tatami mats, the design of the teahouse is different from other usual tea houses in Japan. In fact, it has won several design awards, including the Good Design Award back in 2010. However, it really is expensive to be stylishly cool as the hikari tatami mats costs around $2,000 per mat.
[ via Kotaku ]