Tokyo’s new transparent public toilets have a brilliant reason behind them

When world-famous architect Shigeru Ban pitched the idea of installing transparent public toilets across Tokyo parks, any investor would be mortified immediately, until he explained the reason behind.

It’s all about assurance, according to Ban, which these transparent bathroom walls deal with deftly — you can safely survey both cleanliness and occupancy before you even step into them.

“There are two things we worry about when entering a public restroom, especially those located at a park: the first is cleanliness and the second is whether anyone is inside.”

And don’t worry, the transparent walls turn into opaque barriers once you turn the lock inside. It looks even more stunning at night-time too. Once it gets dark, these cubicles turn into “beautiful lanterns” in shades of pastels that illuminate the park, as shared by Ban.

The Tokyo Toilet project, spearheaded by Nippon Foundation, recruited the most accomplished architects to re-imagine the design and of public restrooms. This is an effort to promote Japan’s most notable fortes: dedication to both cleanliness and design as a means to improve public utility.

These innovative and dazzling restrooms can now be found in two parks within the busy business district of Shibuya: in Haru-no-Ogawa Community Park and Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park.

And this is just the beginning — Tokyo locals can expect more public restrooms with pioneering design sprouting across parks in Japan in the following months.

(Images from The Nippon Foundation/Satoshi Nagare)


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