John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The eternal dream of humankind – to enjoy room service while on the toilet – has finally come to fruition.
The eternal dream of humankind – to enjoy room service while on the toilet – has finally come to fruition. Japan has debuted a small but luxurious hotel that's built around a fully functioning public bathroom.
The Nakanoshima Hotel is located in downtown Osaka on a sandbar fenced by two rushing rivers. It is a one-room facility with an ivory-sheeted bed, a spare-but-stylish desk, fresh-cut flowers and a prominent opening in the wall marked with a male figure on the right and female on the left. Through this opening a steady stream of citizens flow, looking to empty their bladders in rows of urinals and squat toilets.
Intrigued by the romance of waking up to a uniformed maid swabbing urine-splashed tiles with a mop? Too bad: The auberge's reservation system doesn't appear to be working. That might be because the hotel is less a place to spend an uncomfortable night than a piece of tongue-in-cheek public art. It was crafted by Tatzu Nishi, the same guy who recently put a room six stories in the air around New York City's Columbus Statue.
Nishi lives to enclose public spaces in swanky, private-seeming abodes. Japanese Design Collective has a few more details on his celebration of the everyman's commode:
It is a public toilet at Nakanoshima park in Osaka, Japan. Nishi turned it into a twenty-two square meter hotel room, which is equipped with a shower room. Specially trained college students welcome guests. It is thoroughly disinfected and designed to be comfortable even though you can still hear people using the toilet in the other side of the wall.
The hotel is part of the annual Osaka Canvas Project, a public-arts bash that also featured these towering heads and phone-booth goldfish tanks. Here are a few more views inside the World's Worst Honeymoon Idea:
Photos courtesy of Fukuhen Lammfromm except where noted otherwise.
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