(Images via: MSN and Tension Not).
First up, some public toilet designs that you might see moving indoors sometime soon. This design by Monica Bonvicini uses one-way glass to create the unsettling illusion that you’re performing your ablutions in full view of the whole world. If you can fight down the feeling that surely somebody can see you with your pants round your ankles, it’s a fascinating (and deeply weird) way to watch the world go by.
But if a public convenience in full view is seen as a very public inconvenience, why not hide it away? These two toilets take up the challenge by using the y-axis to hide all sins. The toilet at top is normally stored underground, so all you can see is the scenic sculpture on its roof – but pop a coin (1 yuan, in this case) into the slot and hey presto, one toilet. (We’re presuming that it won’t sink down again while it’s still occupied). The Urilift is designed to meet the needs of boozy gentlemen weaving their way back home after an evening in their cups – during the day it looks like a manhole cover, but at night it twirls into view to present urinals in all directions.
(Image via: Whole Wheat Toast).
And for making sure that nobody takes your public toilet for granted? Okay, so this design is a spoof (at the Hunter’s Point Shipyard Studios, SF). But this is guaranteed to make any guy think twice about doing what comes naturally to him. A design that heightens awareness, shall we say.
(Image via: luxurygaze).
And if you want to want your toilet out of sight in your own home, here’s a classy-looking option. This Bench Toilet doubles as an elegant table, thanks to a sliding wood panel. (But there is a catch: it costs over $11,000 – so this is one for when you are really…er, flush).
(Images via: Yanko Design).
For a commode that you’d be proud to display in full view, have a look at Sung Hoon Mun’s Cell toilet. Its polished surface and fashionably curving lines make it look like it was designed within the supercar industry…and under the hood – I mean lid – you would be surprised to find that it doesn’t require a tank, hence the unusually ground-hugging egg shape.
(Images via: Pinny Cohen and Diamond Vues).
So now for toilets that take things a little too far. On the left, the winningly-named Pimped Out John, sporting a frankly ludicrous array of modifications including a laptop, a gaming console, TiVo, a fully-stocked refrigerator and even some exercise pedals to help you lose weight while you…lose weight. This is a one-off item and not available in the stores, and frankly we are glad of it (imagine the effect it would have on kids that already hog the bathroom in the morning). Another distinctly noncommercial example is the Isis toilet, which shimmers because it is studded with $75,000 of crystals. On a practical note, I bet it gets cold in the winter.
(Images via: Propelair and Cooler Solutions Inc.).
The house of tomorrow will hoard its precious water. There are already methods in development to use kitchen sink grey water to flush toilets, but until they’re part of a designer’s standard toolkit, it would be sensible to cap the amount of water available without detracting from the unit’s function. This is what Propelair aims to do – by sealing the bowl and pushing air through it, it uses just 1.5 litres for a full flush (around 80% less than the standard). The Dignity toilet provides a sanitary alternative to a regular water supply in drought conditions – it holds its contents hygienically for a week, and then the top is undocked, augered into the ground in a safe spot, and opened.
(Image via: Collections Etc.).
BAD boy.You know how pets do that really disgusting thing with the drinking of the water in the toilet? This toilet-themes dog water bowl has us in two minds: obviously dogs will love it, and the design makes good sense (automatically refilling as it empties). But isn’t it teaching your dog to drink out the toilet? If you have given up trying to dissuade Fido from his disturbing habits, this is a practical way to concede defeat.
(Image via: Yanko Design).
And while we’re talking about items that give the wrong message – how about a toilet seat that tells you exactly how much weight you’re losing? That is precisely what the Toilet Seat Scale does (precisely). People with a weight micro-management problem form an unhealthy queue here, please.
So we are agreed – toilets can look great. But would you want to live in one? For South Korean Sim Jae-Duck, chairman of the World Toilet Association, the answer is a firm “Yes” – or at least, a house that looks like one until you go inside and see the luxury on offer. This stunning example of ultra-modern designwork (with a touch of eccentricity) is advertised as “a place of sanctuary” – just like its humbler counterpart.
(Image via: The Register).
But if you think a house-sized toilet is faintly ludicrous – what about this building? Could this be the world’s most monstrous porcelain throne – and why?
World’s Most Expensive Toilets and Washrooms
NASA – $19,000,000
NASA announced on July 3, 2007 it they would be investing $19 million on a Russian-design toilet system to be installed on the American side of the International Space Station. Previously, Americans had been using the same toilet system on the Russian side of the space station. What makes this toilet special? All things considered, perhaps the price tag is justified. The toilet comes with leg braces that help position astronauts while they do their business, while the system uses fans to suck everything into a septic tank where it uses a three-step filtration process to make all waste water into extremely pure drinking water. Considering that sending water into space with the astronauts is a very expensive proposition, and that designing a system like this from scratch would’ve cost more, NASA seems to have taken the economical route.
3D Gold Washroom and Toilet – $5,800,000
Built by Hong Kong’s Hang Fung Gold Technology Group in 2001 and located in their “Hall of Gold”, this toilet, called “The World’s Most Expensive Gold and Jewelry Sparkling Environmental Friendly Washroom” is not for public use. Instead it is meant to be a tourist attraction, used to showcase the ‘technological brilliance’ of the company. Among the treasures in the washroom is a solid gold telephone, sink, 24-carat solid gold toilet, and much more. Unfortunately visitors cannot see the washroom anymore after the owner died suddenly earlier this year and the company and his family were embroiled in a huge scandal (watch the video above while you can).
Shanghai’s Moon River Art Park Toilet – $602,000
Though the park has other nearby toilets, visitors have in some cases waited hours to visit this one. And even though the park authorities spent 5 million yuan on its construction, the toilet itself is obscured in a man-made cave surrounded by trees and flowers. Having become somewhat of a legend in the community, visitors come not with expectations of grandeur, but curiosity about what the all the money was spent on. According to the park’s marketing manager, the toilet, housed inside the man-made cave, is decorated like a grotto with stalactite-like water faucets. Certainly not the most luxurious toilet in the city, agrees the founder of the park, but perhaps one of the more artistic ones.
“Dagobert” Wooden Toilet Throne – $14,123
Built completely from ash wood and decorated with hand painted designs inspired by Dagobert, the last ruler of the 8th-century Merovingian dynasty, this wooden throne toilet literally goes ‘medieval on your ass’. As you raise the lid of your throne, the music to ‘Le Bon Roi Dagobert’ plays, helping you ease into position, and in true medieval fashion the flush is activated by the pull of a chain.
Toto Neorest 600 – $5,800
While still not affordable by most of us average people, the Toto Neorest 600 is possible the most ‘value for money’ on this list. At $5,800 for the toilet, it comes with some truly amazing and innovative features including: automatic hands-free lid opening and closing, heated seat, automatic and remote hands-free flush, automatic and self-cleansing system, water conserving dual-flush mode, warm air drier, and air purifier. With all those features and more, not only does the toilet start to sound like a great investment, but the company’s tagline, “calling it a ‘toilet’ is too limiting” also starts to ring true.