Dezeen Magazine

Tokyo Toilet by Kazoo Sato

Kazoo Sato designs hemispherical public toilet for Tokyo

Designer Kazoo Sato has created a public toilet that uses voice commands to control functions including the door, toilet flush, taps and ambient music as part of the Tokyo Toilet project.

Situated in Nanago Dori Park in the heart of Tokyo's Shibuya financial district, the design of the hemispherical toilet was led by TBWA\Hakuhodo advertising agency chief creative officer Kazoo Sato.

Hemispherical toilet in Tokyo
Kazoo Sato's toilet has a hemispherical shape

Japanese toilets are globally recognised for their technical innovations and Kazoo worked with experts in architecture, acoustics and toilet manufacturing to harness the latest technologies in his design.

Responding to the project brief set by Japan's largest public-sector charitable group, the Nippon Foundation, the design seeks to overcome traditional perceptions of public toilets as being dark, dirty, smelly and scary.

Voice-controlled public facility
Its functions are voice-controlled

The Hi Toilet also responds to increased hygiene concerns around the spread of infection through contact with surfaces, which were heightened during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"After three years of research, planning and designing, we came up with the concept of the voice-command toilet called Hi Toilet, where all commands were activated by voice," explained Sato.

"This idea has been in place long before the arrival of Covid-19, but Covid accelerated the acceptance of this unique user experience in terms of 'toilets being contactless'."

Hemispherical toilet
It was designed to be hygienic

An accessible toilet is housed in one side of the structure, with men's urinals located in the other.

The toilet building features a hemispherical form that was chosen to enhance internal airflow. A 24-hour ventilation system also helps to prevent odours from building up.

Users entering the toilet are greeted by an automated message explaining that they can use voice commands to operate the door, to flush the toilet, to turn the tap on or off, and to play music.

Japanese toilet manufacturer Toto provided one of its high-tech Washlet toilets that includes a cleaning water jet nozzle and automated lid for hands-free operation.

White public toilet in Tokyo
The accessible toilet contains an advanced toilet supplied by Toto

Kazoo Sato worked on the design with members of the TBWA\Hakuhodo Disruption Lab, which develops innovative ideas that involve brands in cultural projects.

The toilet is the twelfth in a series of seventeen public toilets planned as part of the Tokyo Toilet project, which has invited leading Japanese and international creatives to contribute unique designs.

Previous facilities already installed throughout Shibuya include Toyo Ito's mushroom-like toilet pods and a circular toilet by Tadao Ando that is located in a park surrounded by cherry trees.

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Tokyo Toilet by Kazoo Sato
Tokyo Toilet by Kazoo Sato
Tokyo Toilet by Kazoo Sato