Tokyo installed see-through public toilets in a park to let people inspect their cleanliness before using them, at which point the glass turns opaque
- Two see-through bathrooms have been installed in public parks in Tokyo.
- They are made from "smart glass" designed so people can see how clean they are inside before using them. The glass turns opaque when the bathroom is locked and in use.
- The stalls are part of a project that is redoing 17 of the city's public bathrooms with different designers to make them more accessible and appealing.
- The goal is to fight assumptions that public toilets are "are dark, dirty, smelly, and scary," said the nonprofit foundation behind the project.
Tokyo has installed two see-through bathroom facilities in public parks, allowing people to see how clean they are before deciding to use them, at which point they turn opaque.
The bathrooms are made of colored "smart glass," which turns opaque when the stalls are locked, said Shigeru Ban, the architect behind the designs.
You can see how it works here:
"This allows users to check the cleanliness and whether anyone is using the toilet from the outside," he said. "At night, the facility lights up the park like a beautiful lantern."
The bathrooms have been installed in two of the city's parks so far: the Haru-no-Ogawa Community Park and the Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park.
The installations are part of The Tokyo Toilet project, which is redesigning 17 of the city's public bathrooms with different designers.
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The project was launched by The Nippon Foundation, a Japanese nonprofit that said it wanted "to build public toilets that can be used by anyone."
It said all of the designs were "accessible for everyone regardless of gender, age, or disability, to demonstrate the possibilities of an inclusive society."
The foundation said that Japan was known as one of the world's cleanest countries and that its public toilets were cleaner than most others around the world.
"However, the use of public toilets in Japan is limited because of stereotypes that they are dark, dirty, smelly, and scary," the foundation said.
"To dispel these misconceptions regarding public toilets, The Nippon Foundation has decided to renovate 17 public toilets located in Shibuya, Tokyo, in cooperation with the Shibuya City government," it said.
The see-through facilities, along with some other designs, have been available for the public to use since August 5.
Other designs include a stone building that is designed to look good in parks and a bathroom with spaces for "men, women, and everyone."
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