John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Also, public bathrooms learn to text and soccer fans make a toilet-paper Niagara Falls.
Welcome back to Toilet Tuesday:
A SUITCASE SINK FOR CLAUSTROPHOBIC HOMES
As urban apartments become more and more cramped, some visionaries (like this guy) believe that bathrooms and kitchens will go the way of the dinosaurs. You won't need to cook anymore because you're always eating out, the thinking goes. As for taking a tinkle, that can be outsourced to the commode at the gym or the neighborhood coffee shop.
In such a bleak, bathroomless future, this folding sink could become a hot home accessory. Made by Giulio Gianturco, an Italian designer stationed north of Venice, the "Hidden" sink replicates the compact-yet-stately appearance of a nautical washbasin. When folded, it looks like a wooden block you might use for a laptop stand or slightly painful yoga pedestal. Gianturco explains its various features at Designboom:
consisting of functional components, a corian® washbasin is equipped with integrated stainless steel taps, a mirror with a magnifying lens, lowered shelves, object holder drawer, light and plug. when closed ‘hidden’ becomes a seamless case that can be transported from place to place. the structure and the drawer are thermo-treated in a wood hemlock finish, and it is equipped with electrical devices that are supported by a stainless steel mechanism to enable it to be easily opened and closed.
There's no indication of what's supplying the water. Presumably you can fill an interior tank with something like a drinking fountain, and not have to run the building manager's garden hose through your window to screw into a valve. Here's the sink opened:
THE INCREASINGLY SELF-AWARE TOILET
Public-bathroom users in southern Norfolk, U.K., never again have to worry about running out of wiping material. That's because the government is paying big money to install high-tech loos that sense when the toilet paper is nearly depleted, and then bug municipal workers with SOS texts for a resupply.
The texting toilets were inspired by a nearby shopping mall whose popularity with shoppers was ascribed to its clean toilets. Council leader John Fuller wanted to recreate this pristine-potty magnetism throughout Norfolk's commercial districts. "Toilets are an essential part of the shopping centre," he told EDP24, "and we feel that keeping our market towns up to scratch with modern facilities that are convenient and comfortable to use and are always available when people need them is an important investment."
Anybody about to make a joke about a tweeting toilet should know it's already been done; when flushed, the "hacklab.TOilet" blasts Twitter with messages like "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" and "blue?! WHAT were you eating?".
A NIAGARA OF TOILET PAPER
To see what a virtual waterfall of flying TP looks like, review this footage from a recent Belgian soccer game. In a coordinated prank that the announcer was in on, an entire side of the Maurice Dufrasne Stadium in Liege launched thousands of unspooling rolls onto the field. Cleaning up the mess took seven minutes. All in all the stadium staff got off lucky, considering that other missiles launched by soccer fans have included batteries and firecrackers: