Last year, we featured seven unconventional public restrooms in Shibuya ward designed by world-renowned architects and designers for The Tokyo Toilet project, an initiative aimed to replace public squat toilets with new state-of-art designs for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Now the project continues with a new restroom from Japanese streetwear designer NIGO, titled The House.
The restroom block occupies the corner of Jingumae 1-Chome, which is one of the designer’s favorite crossings in Tokyo. NIGO drew inspiration from the Washington Heights Dependent Housing, a large housing complex built by the USA in 1946 in the area of present-day Yoyogi Park. The development had a significant impact on Harajuku’s growth into the cultural town it is today and greatly influenced the post-war lifestyle changes in Tokyo.
Today, very few of these houses remain. “I was raised in Harajuku, and my life in this town has shaped me into what I am now,” says NIGO. “I chose the concept of ‘learning from the past’ for the design of this toilet and challenged myself to create a copy of the Dependent Housing because I wanted to preserve some of the designs that are beginning to disappear in my favorite town of Harajuku.”
To create a friendly house-shaped facility that feels casual and inviting, NIGO paid attention to its details. For example, he recreated the rustic garden fence and the inward-opening door that appears to be always open. He also carefully considered the hygienic aspects of the facility by providing ample washing space and installing contactless faucets and fixtures.
NIGO: “In contrast to the ever-changing city of Tokyo with its sky-high buildings, I envisioned a toilet that feels like a good old home that stands quietly on a corner of Harajuku. The toilet may feel nostalgic to some and new to others, depending on their age and generation.”