10 of The World’s Most Unique Restrooms: Understanding the New Toilet Culture
Next to eating, drinking and sleeping, going to the restroom is something that we all do quite frequently. Most of the time, we tend to forget that the design of a restroom, especially public bathrooms, have an impact on the individual and on society as a whole. Come witness a worldwide initiative designed to educate society and to improve the designs and structures of public restrooms.
In shaping a good toilet culture among today’s society, there are initiatives underway to improve the design and structure of public restrooms.
THE JOHN MICHAEL KOHLER ARTS CENTER RESTROOM, USA
The Kohler art centre houses arts exhibits in Sheboygan, WI, USA. The Kohler fund sponsored six artists to design artwork using the facilities and sources from Kohler- a company that sells bathrooms and accessories. One of the restroom units entitled “The Social History of Architecture” features the development of architecture from ancient Egypt until the current time. One restroom unit features “The Many Uses of Water” using beautiful ceramics in blue colours.
SOCCER BALL SHAPED RESTROOM, KOREA
In 2002, both South Korea and Japan became the hosts for the football World Cup finals. A former Korean mayor came up with the idea of having soccer ball shaped restrooms around the football stadium as part of a campaign to develop clean and comfortable public restrooms in Korea during the big event.
“POP UP” RESTROOM, UK
This is actually a “pop-up” urinal for use during the nighttime. The durable, cylindrical stainless steel urinal, which is called the Urilift will be lowered into the ground during the day or when it is not needed. Healthmatic, a Wiltshire, UK based company has been given rights to distribute the Urilift in the UK. The Urilift can be used by 3 persons simultaneously.
SEMI-TRANSPARENT TOILET, UK
This public toilet was built in front of London’s Tate Britain Gallery as an art exhibit by an Italian born artist. What is special about this restroom is that it is made up of semi-transparent glass. The “visitors” of the public toilet (who need to defy their own fear and embarrassment) can see through the one-way mirrored glass but passers-by can’t see the person inside the restroom.
THE “TOILET BAR” RESTROOM, AUSTRIA
The “toilet bar” of Vienna is actually a public restroom situated in an underpass near the Austria National Opera. The restroom features several units of urinals shaped like thick lipsticked lips with teeth and a tongue. Patrons were charged 75 cents for each visit. Eventually, the urinals were removed after facing public and political pressures as they were said to be offensive and sexist objects.
WORLD’S LARGEST RESTROOM, CHINA
Quite recently in July 2007, a Southwestern Chinese city in Chongqing opened up a free of charge, four-story public restroom. There are more than 1,000 toilets in this 30,000 square foot restroom. It features an Egyptian-themed interior with soothing music playing in the background. Some of the urinals are uniquely shaped, including crocodile’s mouths and busts of women. The government officials in Chongqing are currently preparing to submit an application to list this facility as the world’s largest public restroom in the Guinness World Records.
3-D GOLDSTORE, HONG KONG RESTROOM, CHINA
The gold store owner in Hong Kong was inspired by Lenin’s vision of building public restrooms made of gold. Everything in the restroom including the toilet, sink, tiles and doors are all made of solid gold.
THE CHAMBER POT GALLERY RESTROOM, USA
The Chamber Pot gallery is a public restroom located in Yellow Springs, Ohio, USA. What’s special about this restroom is that it acts as a showcase for art works by local artists. The paintings will hang for a year in the restroom and there is a log book in the office that highlights the artists and their art work as well as contact information.
SINGAPORE ZOO RESTROOM, SINGAPORE
This spacious and airy restroom has won many awards locally and internationally for its cleanliness and practical design. A big section of the restrooms are located outdoors, resembling a beautiful garden.
THE JUNGLE JIM’S RESTROOM, USA
The Jungle Jim’s restroom is located in the Jungle Jim’s International Market in Ohio, USA. The Jungle Jim’s is actually a shopping initiative which provides all sorts of products from international cuisines to pet supplies. The entrance to the restroom is rather unique, as it looks like “port-o-lets” or “porta-potties” and may confuse new customers. The walls inside are decorated and the restroom units are spacious and clean.