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Japan Takes Bathrooms to The Next Level with Transparent Walls

The public toilets are open to everyone regardless of gender, age, or disability for an inclusive society.

Japan Takes Bathrooms to The Next Level with Transparent Walls
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Renovation of a basic public facility with aesthetics is often a hard-to-find concept as the beauty is not considered necessary. In a different understanding, Japanese designers just added their touch to public "toilets", where people do not really prefer to spend much time in.

Sixteen designers, seventeen locations

Titled as The Tokyo Toilet Project, The Nippon Foundation is on its way to renovate seventeen public toilets in Shibuya, Tokyo with the help of the Shibuya City government. 

The project stemmed from the limitation of public toilet uses due to their inhumane conditions, despite Japan's being one of the cleanest countries in the world, as reported by the foundation. The current toilets open to the public are considered dark, dirty, smelly, and "scary."

The toilets designed by sixteen artists vary in design, unique to their location. But it is no doubt that the most interesting of those designs is probably smart walls that change from transparent to opaque according to whether it's occupied.

RELATED: THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION IS GETTING A NEW FUTURISTIC TOILET

Japan Takes Bathrooms to The Next Level with Transparent Walls
Source: Satoshi Nagare/The Nippon Foundation

The inspiration behind these transparent/opaque walls is of two concerns. While the first one is explained as the cleanliness issue, the second comes from the presence of anyone inside the cabinet. When the door is locked, the transparent walls go opaque so that people will know that the toilet is occupied. 

Japan Takes Bathrooms to The Next Level with Transparent Walls
Source: Satoshi Nagare/The Nippon Foundation

There is also another version of these cabinets that differ in color. And even though the locations are also different, the designer is the same: Shigeru Ban.

Japan Takes Bathrooms to The Next Level with Transparent Walls
Source: The Tokyo Toilet

You'll notice the interior design is way more modern than that of a basic, plastic installed cabinet, as well as its exterior.

Japan Takes Bathrooms to The Next Level with Transparent Walls
Source: The Tokyo Toilet

The cyan, lime green, and blue painted ones are located in Haru-no-Ogawa Community Park; however, you may find the warm pastel-like versions in Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park.

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Japan Takes Bathrooms to The Next Level with Transparent Walls
Source: The Tokyo Toilet

At night, you can see colors light up the surroundings. They are like giant fireflies with no intention of hiding.

Japan Takes Bathrooms to The Next Level with Transparent Walls
Source: The Tokyo Toilet

Historical inspirations here!

Japan Takes Bathrooms to The Next Level with Transparent Walls
Source: Satoshi Nagare/The Nippon Foundation

Some of the designs have more concrete constructions made up of beige separators. This design, by Masamichi Katayama, is reportedly originated from kawaya, old huts built over rivers in the prehistoric Jomon period.

Japan Takes Bathrooms to The Next Level with Transparent Walls
Source: Satoshi Nagare/The Nippon Foundation

The beige separators pave the way towards three different toilets: men, women, and unisex, welcoming all. 

Japan Takes Bathrooms to The Next Level with Transparent Walls
Source: Satoshi Nagare/The Nippon Foundation

"The design creates a unique relationship in which users are invited to interact with the facility as if they are playing with a curious piece of playground equipment," explains The Nippon Foundation.

Last but not least, people in wheelchairs can use not only the toilet design above but all of the designs in the project. 

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