Demonstrating its latest technovation while keeping up with the Japanese reputation for maintaining public hygiene, Tokyo parks are introducing the rather unusual, transparent public toilets.
WAIT!!! “Transparent loo? But, why???” If that was your first reaction to the title, don’t worry you aren’t the only one. We had the exactly same response when we heard about the concept. Just so that we are clear; don’t worry nobody watches you when you are going around your business in there.
The above toilets are designed with a special smart glass. The transparent walls allow users to see the restrooms from the outside and ensure it is clean before actually using it. But, the walls quickly turn opaque as soon as the washroom door is locked. These toilets are a part of thelarger initiative called the “Tokyo Toilet Project” under The Nippon Foundation. The project particularly aims to change general perception around public washrooms.
The innovative public washrooms have been designed by Shigeru Ban Architects. In the initial phase of their installation, two sets of these new public toilets have been installed in the Haru-no-Ogawa Community Park and YoyogiFukamachi Mini Park in Shibuya.Both the transparent washroom sets currently comprised of three restrooms; one each for men and women, and an additional multi-use toilet.
New Transparent Tokyo Toilets take Public Hygiene to Next Level
The Tokyo Toilet Project official websitenoted that the see-through restrooms effectively take care of both our primary concerns while using a public restroom, namely cleanlinessand whether anyone is inside. At a public toilet, we often waste several minutes wandering whether anyone is inside or not when the door apparently seems closed. But, with the new smart toilets, one will easily get to know if there is anyone inside or not by looking at the see-through walls that will turn opaque when the washroom is locked.
Furthermore, besides ensuring hygiene in the public toilets, they’ll also add on to the parks’ night view. The newly installed transparent washrooms in the Tokyo parks beautifully light up like lanterns at night further adding on to their charm.
DON’T FORGET TO LOCK THE DOOR!
However, with the mirror view inside it can be a little difficult to guess if the glass is frosted or not (which implies if the washroom walls are currently transparent or opaque) when you yourself are inside. Notably, several YouTubers showing the new transparent public washrooms in Tokyo also shared anecdotes of people embarrassing themselves as they forgot to lock the doors. Thus, although you should always lock the door while using restrooms, you definitely don’t want to make that mistakeinside these transparent walls.
Redesigning Toilets for an Inclusive Society
The Tokyo Toilet Project aims to re-invent public toilet facilities. Notably, some of the biggest names in the architecture and creative industries including the likes of Tadao Ando and Toyo Ito are already collaborating with the government authorities to create 17 new public toilet facilities around Shibuya.
TheNippon Foundation said in its statement, “The use of public toilets in Japan is limited because of stereotypes that they are dark, dirty, smelly and scary. To dispel these misconceptions regarding public toilets, The Nippon Foundation has decided to renovate 17 public toilets located in Shibuya, Tokyo, in cooperation with the Shibuya City government.”
Furthermore, the new innovative washroom facilities also attempt to make public toilets accessible to all irrespective of age, gender, or disabilities. The new park designed under the project also include Origata inspired toilet and a Squid Toilet.
Origata is a traditional Japanese decorative wrapping and the new public toilets inspired by the Japanese wrapping particularly aimto raising awareness around the LGBTQ+ community. Several more of such public toilet facilities, specifically 12 more will be coming up by the next spring.