2016 - 2017

Dutch for: Home and Hearth
On cold winter days in Japan, one comes home and sits down around the Kotatsu. One after another family member joins the gathering. Since houses are not insulated the Kotatsu is the central spot of the home: a place where it is warm and where social activities take place. Other examples of a combination between a heater and a table are to be found in Afghanistan (Sandali), Iran (Korsi) and Spain (Mesa camilla).

They are similar in their principle; a table with a heating device, but they are very different in how these elements are put together. You could say that the layering is specific for each country. Such as they also vary in materials and colours. But it is not only in their appearance in which they differ; each table is used in an own way. In Iran, the Korsi became a symbol for the celebration of the Yalda Night, which is the longest and darkest night of the year in late December. During this night the whole family gathers around and has a feast, after dinner poems are read out loud.

This social importance of heating is something we recognize from fireplaces and stoves. A lot of them have disappeared over the years and with them their social cohesion. Nowadays radiators are the main heating source in our homes. With a fireplace, heating is the central point of the living environment. Radiators are along the borders of the living environment. Heating became less local and more divided. A lot of the heated air gets lost in space, where there is nobody who makes use of it. The idea of these heated tables is to heat people, not spaces.

Last November it was stated that in 2050 all Amsterdam houses should become without natural gas. So it is not only for social purpose, but also for environmental reasons we should start to rethink our way of heating in the Netherlands.

© 2019 Vader Jacobse