Innovation and Inclusivity Shine in Tokyo’s Public Toilets

Tokyo appears to be cornering the market on high-concept public toilets. Tadao Ando, Shigeru Ban, and Kengo Kuma have recently designed a series of them across the Shibuya ward. Now, Chiyoda follows suit with a pair of glowing, inclusive-oriented water closets by I In inside the city’s Shin-Marunouchi Building.

I In founding partner Yohei Terui’s aim for the two-restroom commission was to use “color to blur the boundaries between genders.” He and cofounding partner Hiromu Yuyama did away with the typical “boys are blue, girls are pink” binary, instead selecting hues that sit next to each other on the rainbow—yellow for women, green for men—a subtle acknowledgement that many people, too, sit closer to the middle of the spectrum. They were then applied to LEDs that, since each 690-square-foot restroom is enveloped in pristine white mosaic tiles made in the Tajimi region, rebound and saturate the spaces in the shades. “It softens the division,” Terui says of the palette.

Also gentle is I In’s use of rounded corners rather than right angles. “They create a continuous floor, wall, and ceiling,” Terui continues, “for a sort of unrealistic experience.” So that it’s also a hygienic one, each custom stainless-steel sink sleekly incorporates faucet, soap dispenser, and dryer for a super-clean look.

The Design of These Public Toilets in Tokyo Wows

a green futuristic-looking public toilet in Japan
gender signs to a public restroom in Japan
a woman opens the door to a yellow hued public toilet in Japan

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