Marc Newson unveils “trustworthy and sincere” public toilet in Tokyo

Tokyo Toilet by Marc Newson

Industrial designer Marc Newson has created a public toilet topped with a traditionally shaped copper roof in Shibuya as part of the Tokyo Toilet project.

Located under a raised highway to the north of Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Newson’s structure is the latest to be completed as part of the project that has seen toilets designed by architects including Tadao AndoFumihiko Maki and Shigeru Ban.

Marc Newson toilet in Tokyo
Marc Newson is the latest designer to create a toilet as part of the Tokyo Toilet project

Made from concrete, Newson’s simple structure was designed to be highly functional, with men’s and women’s toilets placed on either side of a central disabled toilet.

“For me, it’s important that this toilet has a design that feels trustworthy and sincere, both inside and out,” he said.

“The bright interior is seamlessly and hygienically finished in one of my favourite colours, green. The design of this toilet focuses on functionality, simplicity and a comfortable and lasting space.”

Topped with a pitched copper roof, Newson’s design was designed to feel familiar and was informed by traditional Japanese temples and tea rooms.

“My designs centre around references to traditional Japanese architecture, including the copper ‘Minoko’ roof,” he said.

“Even though the toilet is in a busy and ultra-modern place, I wanted to make this roof shape, which is often found in shrines, temples, tea rooms, and rural areas, subconsciously feel comfortable and peaceful,” he continued.

“The patina of the copper pyramidal roof will, over time, allow the building to blend into the city and become part of the fabric of Tokyo.”

Green public toilet interiors
The functional toilet has a light green interior

The toilet is the 14th to be completed as part of the Tokyo Toilet project, which is run by the non-profit Nippon Foundation.

Previous toilets include structures by three Pritzker Architecture Prize winners. Shigeru Ban created a pair of transparent blocks that are illuminated at night , Tadao Ando designed a circular toilet, while Fumihiko Maki topped his block with a “cheerful roof”.

The photography is by Ken Nagare.

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