Bizarre public toilets from around the world

In the USA, public toilets are called “restrooms”. I can only assume that this is an example of the famous American use of irony, because there’s nothing restful about them. A visit to a public convenience is a frightening experience full of nauseous confusion and, given the option, most people would avoid them altogether. Often though, this isn’t an option. Fortunately, designers from around the world have been working hard to make our inevitable toilet visits just a little bit more exciting…

Most fun public toilet | Japan

Sega Toylet

Do you like video games? Do you like urinating? If you answered “yes” to one or both of these questions, then the interactive urinal is for you!

To some men, trying to keep their liquid waste within the confines of the toilet is a challenging game in itself. For those who’ve managed to master that part, there’s now the Sega Toylet – a computer console powered by urine. The games are controlled by a sensor placed in the urinal, measuring the user’s pressure and volume. It must be tempting to try to influence this, but beware of trying too hard; no high score is worth getting your shoes wet.

Mannekin Pis game on a Sega Toylet

If the Toylet is a success, it’s likely that Sega will want to expand the range – however, there are currently no plans for a version number two.

Largest public toilet | China

If you’re the type of person who finds it intimidating to use a public toilet when there’s someone else in there, stay away from Chongqing, China, home of the world’s largest restroom. With facilities for 1,000 simultaneous users, the building must be an absolute nightmare for those with a shy bladder.

For reasons known only to the designers, the toilet has been given an Egyptian theme. It’s not clear who they’re hoping to attract with this – for most people, the only theme a public toilet needs is the theme of cleanliness and anonymity.

The building features relaxing music and even some television screens to keep visitors entertained (although, if you’re spending any longer than necessary in a public toilet, you’ve probably found your own source of entertainment.)

Scariest public toilet | Switzerland

Lausanne toilet in clear mode

Would you trust your privacy to a technology that you don’t understand? I wouldn’t, which is why I’d steer clear of the glass-walled public toilet in Lausanne, Switzerland. The sides of the convenience are made from liquid crystal glass, which switches from clear to obscure at the touch of a button. They might as well say it’s magic.

Lausanne toilet in opaque mode

Even if someone could explain to me exactly how this works, I’m still not sure I’d be brave enough to use the toilet. In order to feel comfortable, I usually need at least one solid wall between myself and anyone else (preferably two walls, just in case one falls down.) It’s safe to assume that anyone using the Lausanne toilet is either very desperate or an unstoppable exhibitionist.

Most expensive public toilet | Hong Kong

Golden toilet

If you were going to see the world’s most expensive bathroom, valued at 29 million dollars, you’d expect it to be made of solid gold. And you wouldn’t be disappointed – it is made of solid gold.

Visitors can look at the golden toilet but are not allowed to use it, even if they say they’re bursting. Perhaps this is understandable – whenever I own something nice I’m always reluctant to let people use it, just in case it gets marked or damaged. I mean, I’ve got a favourite mug and I don’t let anyone use that (not even for drinking from.)

Most public public toilet | Netherlands

A Urilift may sound like some kind of unpleasant cosmetic surgery, but in fact it’s a pop-up toilet. First appearing in the Netherlands, these nocturnal urinals are now proving popular with shop-doorway owners throughout Europe.

Some people object to having urinals open on the streets, but the Urilift addresses a problem that affects almost every city centre. After all, there are two types of men in the world – those who would never pee in the street and those who would pee in the street regardless of whether or not there was a toilet provided. If you don’t want to see people using a pop-up urinal, just don’t look. If you do want to see people using a pop-up urinal, try logging on to the Urilift YouTube channel, where your specialist interest can be satisfied in the comfort of your own home.

Photo credits: Sega Corporation and cometstarmoon

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About Nick Heady

Nick Heady

My favourite holiday souvenir is a shower cap I brought home from the Luxor casino in Las Vegas. I’ve never used it, though. I’m saving it for a special occasion.

At the Luxor, all the casino games are inside a pyramid. The hotel rooms are also inside a pyramid. And their shower caps come in little pyramid-shaped boxes. It’s fantastic.

Once you’ve been to Vegas, there’s no need to go to Egypt. The Luxor’s pyramid has a giant lamp on top and, from the hotel windows, you can see a medieval castle – the same can’t be said for Egypt’s pyramids. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a model of the Sphinx that’s bigger than the one in Giza. It’s made of plastic, sure, but at least its nose is still intact.

Nick works in our marketing team

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