TBWA\HAKUHODO’S Chief Creative Officer Kazoo Sato turns his hand to designing a public toilet as part of ‘The Tokyo Toilet’ project
TBWA\HAKUHODO, Chief Creative Officer, Kazoo Sato has designed ‘‘the most hygienic public toilet’’, as part of THE TOKYO TOILET project, an initiative sponsored by the Nippon Foundation that sees 17 unique facilities designed by leading local and international designers and architects.
The public toilet designed by Sato in collaboration with TBWA\HAKUHODO Disruption Lab, distinguishes itself via its “Voice Command” operational capabilities. While public toilets have traditionally been considered “dirty,” COVID-19 amplified this perception, and increased concerns around infection through contact of surfaces. The voice command allows users to open and close the door, to flush, to activate the hand washing, even to play the music. With this technology, Sato’s toilet provides a sense of comfort, cleanliness and fun.
Located in the heart of Tokyo’s commercial and financial center, Shibuya (Nanago Dori Park (2-53-5, Hatagaya)), Sato’s toilet has recently opened to the public. The bright white spherical building will feature a ceiling height of up to four meters, which is also shaped to control air flow and prevent odors from stagnating. A 24-hour ventilation system that combines natural air supply and mechanical exhaust is installed for air control.
THE TOKYO TOILET builds 17 public toilets that can be used by anyone in Shibuya, Tokyo, as a way of moving toward the realization of a society that embraces diversity. The facilities are gender-inclusive, accommodate the elderly, parents of young children, and those with disabilities. While toilets in Japan are recognized as some of the most innovative designs globally, the perception towards public toilets are dark, dirty, smelly and scary. The project also aims to dismiss these perceptions by collaborating with 16 leading creators from Japan and abroad, including Sato to showcase the endless power of creativity and design. The Kazoo-designed toilet will be the 12th toilet that is open to the public.
Sato said: “My inspiration to design a fully voice activated toilet came about after much research and reading around users’ behaviours in public toilets across Europe and the US to avoid contact with the surface; 60% stepping on toilet levers to flush, 50% opening the door with toilet paper, 40% closing the door with hip, 30% avoiding hand-contact as much as possible by using elbow.
“After three years of research, planning and designing, we came up with the concept of the VOICE COMMAND Toilet, “Hi Toilet” where all commands were activated by voice. This idea has been in place long before the arrival of COVID-19, but COVID accelerated the acceptance of this unique user experience in terms of “toilets being contactless”. If this toilet could deliver a “Clean City Tokyo” image to the world, I would be extremely happy.”
Yuhei Ito（TBWA\HAKUHODO Disruption Lab）
Tetsuya Umeda（TBWA\HAKUHODO Disruption Lab）
Assistance on Structure Design: Kubo Tsushima Architects
Assistance on Voice Command: Birdman
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