Dezeen Magazine

Tokyo Toilet by Junko Kobayashi

Junko Kobayashi tops weathering-steel Tokyo toilet with bright yellow disc

Specialist toilet designer Junko Kobayashi has created a public toilet within a series of weathering steel cylinders as her contribution to the Tokyo Toilet project.

Set under the Sasazuka Station metro station in central Tokyo, Kobayashi's toilet was designed to be fun and distinctive, while having a civic presence.

Tokyo Toilet by Junko Kobayashi
Junko Kobayashi has designed a public toilet in Tokyo

"Like the stubborn old man in the town, I wanted to create a toilet that would have a strong presence and brightly watch over the people in the neighborhood, while at the same time providing a sense of fun," said Kobayashi.

"The opening is wide, and the toilet is solid yet open, and the inside is bright, clean, and safe."

Weathering steel toilet in Tokyo
The weathering steel toilet block is topped with a bright yellow disc

From the street, the toilet block appears to be a series of cylindrical blocks built from weathering steel topped by a bright yellow disc supported on the central cylinder.

This central space contains a disabled toilet along with baby-changing facilities.

It is flanked by entrances to the men's toilets on the left and women's on the right, which wrap around the central cylinder.

Alongside the main block, a pair of cylinders contain children's toilets, while a water fountain is located nearby.

Weathering steel toilet block in Tokyo
Two smaller cylinders contain children's toilets

Kobayashi choose to build the structure from weathering steel due to its durability and strength along with its texture.

To add whimsy to the project, a series of round holes cut into the weathering steel contain graphics of bunnies.

Bunny windows
Cutouts contain bunny graphics

The toilet is the latest in the Tokyo Toilet project, which has seen 16 toilets designed by leading architects and designers built in central Tokyo.

Specialist toilet designer Kobayashi contributed to the project as she believes that public toilets are needed within cities.

Inside of a weathering steel toilet
The weathering steel is visible within the toilets

"The reason why I participated in the project is because I thought that this project would be a challenge to solve the problems that I have had for a long time, and that it would have great social significance," said Kobayashi.

"Over the past 37 years, we have been involved in the design of more than 250 public toilets, and we believe that public toilets are the most difficult and meaningful toilets," she continued.

"This project is trying to create an opportunity to reconsider once again that 'public toilets are the property of all citizens'."

As part of the project Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner Toyo Ito also created a toilet within a series of cylindrical blocks, while fellow Pritzker winner Shigeru Ban designed two transparent toilets.

More images

Tokyo Toilet by Junko Kobayashi
Tokyo Toilet by Junko Kobayashi
Tokyo Toilet by Junko Kobayashi
Tokyo Toilet by Junko Kobayashi
Tokyo Toilet by Junko Kobayashi
Tokyo Toilet by Junko Kobayashi