KUALA LUMPUR: The toilet is undoubtedly one of the most important and most private rooms in the home. But despite its main function, toilets don’t have to look crude and basic or downright boring.
And thankfully, some people can get pretty creative when designing these spaces.
In conjunction with World Toilet Day tomorrow (yes, there is one!), FMT Lifestyle compiled six interesting and peculiar toilets from around the world that’ll make you do a double take.
1. 18-carat gold toilet, United Kingdom
Valued at £4.8 million (around RM27 million), this shiny and fully functional toilet named America was part of an exhibition by the Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan at Blenheim Palace, Britain.
It was previously displayed at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum, where more than 100,000 people actually used it. A strict three-minute time limit was imposed to avoid long queues.
Sadly, it was stolen in 2019 after only being on show in the UK for two days. Four men have recently been charged with the theft.
2. Barafu Camp toilet, Tanzania
If you badly need to use the loo while trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, you might require nerves of steel to use the toilet there.
That’s because the toilet at its Barafu Camp, which is over 4,600 metres high, is built right next to a cliff.
While the view is incomparable, this bathroom certainly takes the concept of a long-drop toilet to a whole new extreme. Better make sure you have enough toilet paper in hand before going in!
3. Transparent public toilets, Tokyo
Many people associate public toilets with being dark and dirty, causing many to hold it in until they get home.
Trust Japan to address those worries by introducing colourful and transparent public toilets, made from “smart glass” that turns frosted and opaque when the stall is occupied.
While this feature makes it easier to identify the cleanliness and safety of the stalls without stepping in, it’d be hard not to be nervous about accidentally exposing yourself if the technology malfunctions.
4. Mr Toilet House, South Korea
If you think Japan is the winner when it comes to bathroom designs, take a look at Mr Toilet House in South Korea, a theme park dedicated entirely to, you guessed it, toilets.
Owned by the late Sim Jae-deok, the first president of the Korea Toilet Association, Sim was so passionate about public health that he built a commode-shaped house that was converted into a museum after his death.
It now houses multiple sculptures and different styles of water closets, as well as workshops for children to learn about toilets and hygiene.
5. Lobster Loos, New Zealand
This unusual toilet located in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand boasts two concrete “tentacles” covered over by a red-orange steel shroud.
Iconic and definitely eye-catching, it was built to attract tourists to the city’s windswept waterfront.
With a price tag of NZ$375,000 (around RM1 million), it has a unique and sculptural design that wouldn’t look out of place in the cartoon Spongebob Squarepants, presumably where the nickname comes from?
6. Gdansk public toilets, Poland
Built in preparation for the UEFA Euro 2012, this beautiful public toilet balances modernity with the architectural heritage of the city.
Enclosed within a prefabricated cylindrical form that juts out at the bottom to resemble a raindrop, the exterior is fitted with vertical steel ribs that function as a bicycle rack for cyclists.
Practical and stylish, the roof is transparent, which negates the need for artificial lighting.
And those are some of the most interesting and pretty toilets from around the globe!
While they might not be conventional tourist spots, you can certainly keep an eye out for them when you happen to be in these cities in the future.