Japanese Toilets are globally known for their technical innovations and stand as a symbol of Japan’s hospitality culture. With Collaboration between Nippon Foundation and local officials, a project named The Tokyo Toilet imagines an unpleasant necessity as an interacting and inviting opportunity for modern designs. A total of 16 designers, architects and artists were asked to redesign 17 public restrooms throughout the Shibuya district in Tokyo, Japan.

The Project Brief designed by Japan’s largest public-sector charitable group and the Nippon Foundation seeks to overcome the image of traditional perceptions of public toilets as being unhygienic, dark, smelly and scary.

Hemispherical public toilet for Tokyo by Kazoo Sato: A New Take on Hygiene - Sheet1
View of the Hi-Toilet _©tokyotoilet.jp

Situated in the heart of Tokyo’s Shibuya District in Nanango Dori Park stands a hemispherical shaped toilet led by TBWA\HAKUHODO advertising agency’s Chief Creative officer Kazoo Sato. Kazoo Sato worked on the design with his team and experts in architecture to develop extremely innovative ideas and develop acoustics.

This Public toilet stands twelfth out of seventeen public toilets as planned to be a part of the Tokyo Toilet Project. Let’s look at Kazoo Sato’s design in detail:

Design Philosophy & Design Solution 

The inspiration for Hi Toilet or a contactless toilet emerged through reading and research about the user’s behaviour in Public Toilets. The human behaviour across the public toilets in The US and Europe were studied in detail only to realise that 60% of the users would step on toilet levers to flush, 50 % opening the door with toilet paper, 40% closing the doors with hip, 30% using their elbows to maximize the elimination of hand-contacts.

The Japanese Designer Kazoo Sato proposed a public toilet with the usage of voice commands to control most of the functions like – opening the door, flushing toilets, using water taps and ambient music as a part of the toilet.

The research, Planning and designing were executed for 3 years before the proposal of the Hi Toilet. Although the idea was initiated before the arrival of COVID-19, COVID seems to have accelerated the acceptance of increased hygiene concerns through this contactless toilet.

Hemispherical public toilet for Tokyo by Kazoo Sato: A New Take on Hygiene - Sheet2
exterior view at Evening_©tokyotoilet.jp

Planning and Construction

The toilet block features a hemispherical form and a semi-circular plan with an approximate area of 24.83 sqm (all dimensions in the plan shown below are in mm).

Hemispherical public toilet for Tokyo by Kazoo Sato: A New Take on Hygiene - Sheet3
toilet floor plan_©tokyotoilet.jp

An Accessible toilet or Universal Toilet is housed on one side of the structure and the men’s urinal on the other. The toilets consist of a semi-circular ventilator that provides light and ventilation on either side of the external wall. The Universal toilet consists of – A WC with a hand wash area and adequate space and a facility required for ostomy. Whereas the Urinal Booth consists of – 2 urinals, a WC and a hand wash area.

Extremely high-tech toilets that include an automated lid and cleaning water jet nozzle for hand-free operations are provided in the structure by a Japanese toilet manufacturer named Toto.

Hemispherical public toilet for Tokyo by Kazoo Sato: A New Take on Hygiene - Sheet4
inside of universal toilet_©tokyotoilet.jp

The clear height of the structure is 4 meters which support enhancing the internal airflow along with a 24- hour ventilation system with a combination of natural air supply and mechanical exhausts are installed which prevents odours from building inside the toilets.

Hemispherical public toilet for Tokyo by Kazoo Sato: A New Take on Hygiene - Sheet5
the spehrical shape for adequate air flow_©tokyotoilet.jp

The users are greeted by an automated message before entering the toilet instructing them about the voice commands to operate the toilet. Several microphones are installed inside the toilet for voice recognition.

Hemispherical public toilet for Tokyo by Kazoo Sato: A New Take on Hygiene - Sheet6
the voice recognition system on the left_©tokyotoilet.jp
Hemispherical public toilet for Tokyo by Kazoo Sato: A New Take on Hygiene - Sheet7
microphones inside toilet_©tokyotoilet.jp

Also, extreme care is taken to avoid any misunderstanding or confusion by using adequate

Hemispherical public toilet for Tokyo by Kazoo Sato: A New Take on Hygiene - Sheet8
pictograms for better understanding_©tokyotoilet.jp

The toilet is made sure to deliver facilities like – accessibility for everyone, accessibility irrespective of gender, facility for ostomy.

In addition to all the Hi-tech facilities, the toilet also delivers extremely pleasant aesthetics in a monochromatic scheme with different textures merging in white along with the paving. The hemispherical shape of the toilet attracts the attention of civilians as well as tourists and draws them towards a better user experience of a public toilet.

the white paving stone around the toilet_©tokyotoilet.jp

Public toilets stand the test of time. In addition to the focus on designing and providing impressive facilities, the Tokyo toilet ensures regular cleaning and maintenance of the toilet. The Nippon Foundation, the Shibuya City Government and the Shibuya Tourism Association will work together to maintain these facilities and promise to work with professional toilet inspectors to periodically survey the toilet to deliver the best user experience.

The hemispherical toilet Design by Kazoo Sato does not only deliver Hi-Tech Facilities to provide a better and a hygienic experience to the user but also helps in changing the perception of traditional public toilets and delivers through the design that the public toilets can be hygienic (as contactless), odourless and aesthetic.

References

 tokyotoilet.jp. (n.d.). THE TOKYO TOILET. [online] Available at: https://tokyotoilet.jp/en/

[Accessed 13 Sep. 2021].

‌Tech News. (2021). Kazoo Sato designs hemispherical public toilet for Tokyo. [online] Available at: https://world-technews.com/2021/08/29/kazoo-sato-designs-hemispherical-public-toilet-for-tokyo/

 [Accessed 13 Sep. 2021].

reddit. (n.d.). r/Tokyo – More exciting public toilets: Kazoo Sato designs hemispherical public toilet for Tokyo. [online] Available at: https://www.reddit.com/r/Tokyo/comments/pebxvm/more_exciting_public_toilets_kazoo_sato_designs/

[Accessed 13 Sep. 2021].

Author

Disha is an architecture graduate from Nagpur University, 2021. Being an avid traveler, she has always tried to connect the city’s art & culture with architecture. She is a keen learner & an extremely creative individual who always seeks opportunities to enhance knowledge & experience in the field of architecture.

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