You may think toilets aren’t very exciting. That’s where you’re wrong, my friend. Because in Japan, toilets can be self-cleaning wonder thrones that are energy efficient and even keep your buns nice and toasty. A design gallery at one of the country’s major airports shows off Japan’s restroom innovation.
It’s called Gallery Toto, and it opened earlier this year in Terminal 2 at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, and was designed by Klein Dytham Architecture. Toto is a 97-year-old company and is Japan’s leading toilet manufacturer. At the exhibit’s exterior are colourful panels with silhouettes dancing around toilets with the same vigour as aerobics instructors. Inside the gallery itself are models of Toto’s hi-tech toilets that visitors, by all means, can (and should) use.
The goal of the exhibit was to change the way people think about toilets in order to showcase the amazing design and technology behind them, especially ahead of the influx of foreign tourists leading up to the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2020.
“We were interested in the notion of the most private place being in a most public place,” the firm said in a press release. “We also wanted to spark one’s imagination, something unexpected, something memorable… [something to] share on social media when they are at the airport.”
The soft, textile screens were designed to resemble traditional sliding shoji screen doors. The low-res LED panels behind these fabric screens show a 20-minute performance that mixes choreographed dance parties, cleaning sequences, water droplet animations, and coloured waves. Over 20,000 passengers pass the area every day, with that number bound to increase during the Olympics.
In September, Toto even opened a super modern toilet museum in Tokyo, in celebration of all things related to the futuristic restroom. (Note, in many public places in Japan, you’ll also find more traditional, old-school squat toilets. You’ll also find plenty of Western ones that don’t self-clean or keep your butt warm.)
In Japan, there are many heated thrones with built-in bidets and musical chimes to cover up any embarrassing sounds. And judging by the sleek hardware in this Narita exhibit, in the future, we’re all going to have way cooler bathrooms.
All images courtesy Daici Ano, Gallery Toto/Klein Dytham