Tokyo Toilet Project reveals public toilet design with transparent walls

An initiative from the Nippon Foundation called The Tokyo Toilet Project has launch three of 17 planned public toilets in Tokyo's Shibuya district, including two with a very unique design: transparent walls. People on the outside of the facilities can see within, showing off the toilets' clean, bright interior. When someone claims a stall, however, the walls transform as if by magic.

If you've been in any higher-end office buildings lately, you may be familiar with a type of privacy glass that is transparent at times when privacy isn't necessary, but that transforms into an opaque design to conceal those within at other times. This privacy glass involves a low-voltage electrical current that makes the glass transparent when turned on.

Most of these privacy rooms are very simple to use — when the door is unlocked, the glass is transparent; when the door is locked, the glass turns opaque. That's how two of the three newly launched Tokyo Toilet Project facilities function, both designed by Shigeru Bann.

The third public toilet features a more contemporary, permanent design involving multiple concrete walls and warm accent lighting. The design comes from Masamichi Katayama who was inspired by classic 'kawaya' huts build during the nation's Jomon period.

The goal of this new renovation project is to get rid of old stereotypes about public toilets in Japan and to ensure that anyone can use the facilities, including people who are disabled. Additional renovated public bathroom facilities are scheduled to launch in coming days, including one at Ebisu Station on August 31 and another in Jingu-Dori Park in early September.

The full Tokyo Toilet Project details, including destinations and launch schedules, can be found on the Nippon Foundation website.