On the periphery of a busy city park in Tokyo is a transparent bathroom that offers a few forms of alleviation. Although it seemingly provides little privacy, the translucent facade is designed to let people peer inside to inspect the cleanliness before they venture in. Once users do open the door and step into the structure, the walls turn into opaque, illuminated stalls that hide the person from view. As public bathrooms have shut down and been a source of fear since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the new structure ameliorates multiple issues of accessibility.
The sensitive facility is part of an ongoing project called The Tokyo Toilet, which tasked 16 designers—including Kengo Kuma (previously), Tadao Ando (previously), and Shigeru Ban, who created the two transparent structures—with conceptualizing the public facilities throughout Shibuya. Five of the 17 locations are currently operational, with most of the remaining scheduled for 2021. The result is a diverse series of public facilities designed to be more accessible and attractive to those who need them.
To calm any further worries about cleanliness, The Tokyo Toilet also has extensive plans for maintenance. The Nippon Foundation, the Shibuya City Government, and the Shibuya Tourism Association will work collaboratively to ensure the spaces don’t live up their “dark, dirty, smelly, and scary” reputation, a project coordinator tells Fast Company.
Check out some of the open facilities below, and take a deeper look into the unique designs and their locations on the project’s site. You also might want to take a look at GreenPee’s hemp urinals that were installed recently around Amsterdam.
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!