New York-based Japanese designer Nao Tamura has fitted a red public toilet into a triangular plot in Tokyo. It was one of the toilet designs that were finalized for Tokyo Toilet project, an effort by The Nippon Foundation to renovate seventeen public toilets in Tokyo's downtown Shibuya district. Surfaces Reporter (SR) has also published a story on Transparent Public Toilets designed by Shigeru Ban, which was also one of the designs selected for Tokyo Toilet project scheme. Keep reading Surfaces Reporter to keep yourself abreast of all other projects under this scheme.
A Spirit of Hospitality
The project launch was, therefore, coincides with the now postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a part of an effort to improve the look of the city and especially the city’s public toilet ahead of the games. This red toilet by Nao Tamura onto a triangular base took its inspiration from Origata- a traditional Japanese method of decorative wrapping- a motif that represents the spirit of hospitality.
Designs by Pritzker prize winner Tadao Ando and Takenosuke Sakakura will open in the next few weeks while the remaining projects by other leading Japanese architects will be completed by spring 2021.
According to the architect, “A symbol of gift-giving, this motif embodies the spirit of hospitality towards Shibuya ward’s multinational visitors and carries my vision to create a safe space that envelopes all users. This design represents my hope for a society where people from all walks of life feel safe and can thrive.”
"In order to replicate the Origata technique and the precise folds of paper that embody it, I chose steel plates to create the exterior's structure and façade,” She adds.
Three Partitions, Including Wheelchair-Accessible Bathroom
This red toilet is sectioned in three parts- one for male, second for female and the third is a wheelchair accessible bathroom. Each toilet contains a closing door. Alongside that, there is a basin for washing hands and a mirror.
All three toilets are covered with a bright red metal shell. The brightness and high intensity of the colour allow anyone to easily Spotify it, especially during urgency. According to Tamura, "The colour red for me represents safety and immediacy and my feeling is that a public toilet is simply a utilitarian structure with one purpose only – it is not a place to linger or gather."
She also explained, “I believe that addressing the safety and privacy of users is most essential to a comfortable experience for everyone including LGBTQ+ community."
Designs by Pritzker prize winner Tadao Ando and Takenosuke Sakakura will open in the next few weeks while the remaining projects by other leading Japanese architects will be completed by spring 2021. The Tokyo Toilet project scheme by the foundation is to substitute old facilities with clean and innovative designs.
As per The Nippon Foundation, Toto Ltd. And Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd building these toilets while advising on the toilet layout and equipment. While the maintenance of the facilities will be performed under a three-party agreement between the Shibuya City government, The Nippon Foundation, and the Shibuya City Tourism Association.
Photography by: Satoshi Nagare