Enjoy the ride!
by | Mar 10, 2015
"Shit happens": Design by Margarita Kolesnikova for a student project at Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Photo © Margarita Kolesnikova

The toilet is a place that doesn’t really get talked about a lot. Not that it has always been like that: In Ancient Rome everyone sat next to one another on a bench, and chatted while going about their business. Going to the toilet has always had something to do with customs and religions, with economic and infrastructural development. While we ask ourselves whether we need an especially comfortable WC with a shower function, in developing countries the issue is precarious, as in some places there is not yet even a sewage system. At present, over one billion people have no access to a toilet at all.

Given this fact, interior design students at Oslo’s National Academy of the Arts have developed ideas for a toilet. Prof. Sigurd Strøm who led the “Shit happens” project started out from the premise that the ergometric aspects needed to be emphasized and a global perspective taken. The result were ideas that transform the orgingal idea of the closet, lending it an optimized handle or an additional benefit .

As like as it is shown by Margarita Kolesnikova’s ergonomically shaped toilet (picture above). The seat is conceived such that the user automatically adopts the right seating position. Because sitting in a low crouch is especially relaxing, reduces pressure on the bowels and thus prevents hemorrhoids. And to keep things fun, too, Kolesnikova’s sanitary unit doubles up as a rocking horse.

Photo © Emilie W. Løkkeberg

Timeless support: hold-you-in-place WC

On the basis of personal experience, Emilie Witsø Løkkeberg designed a WC seat for senior citizens. Bands hold the user’s hands and feet in place on the stainless steel structure, preventing him or her from losing balance when going about their business. On top of being timeless and minimalist, the chair is especially easy to clean.

Photo © Anja Elise Granlund

Moral business: toilet with drinking-water flush

To highlight how toilet flush systems waste a lot of water, Anja Elise Granlund has installed a drinking water canister on the toilet cistern. After every second or third flush, you have to replace it with a full canister. This toilet may not be very user-friendly, but it certainly makes sure that not too much water is wasted.

Photo © Martine Scheen

Perfect fit: the WC sculpture

The toilet Martine Scheen designed boasts an ergonomically shaped seat and rounded surface to snugly fit your derriere. It is especially low, meaning the WC guarantees you are very relaxed – and the sculptural shape enhances any boring restroom.

Photo © Stine Helen Sletvold

Beyond the basics: the high-tech toilet

Illuminated toilet bowl, sensor-controlled toilet lid and a “flush melody” for every use. Stine Helen Sletvold’s WC is made of polystyrene, fiberglass, epoxy resin and polyester filler – and is completely automatic. In fact, you can control it from your smartphone or tablet PC. It’s all too much, quips Sletvold, who created the high-tech throne to mock Japanese WCs. In her opinion, much technical gadgetry simply distracts us from the essentials an unnecessarily prolongs visits to the restroom.

Photo © Vilde Rapp Riise and Sara Gretteberg

Legitimate escape: a rear exit

Seldom can you enjoy tranquility in public toilets. Especially if there’s already a queue forming outside the booth. To avoid this embarrassing situation, Vilde Rapp Riise and Sara Gretteberg have included a rear exit in their booth. Enabling the user to swiftly and invisibly escape through a second door without having to squeeze ashamedly past a long queue of desperate persons.

Photo © Mads John Thomseth

Fabulous flush: Western sewage systems

One of the most interesting pieces is that by Mads John Thomseth: A square basin with two planks on top, attached to which are two drainpipes facing skywards. With his abstract installation Thomseth wants to draw our attention to the discrepancy between Western WCs and those in Third World countries, and not least the brilliant invention of the sewage system, which has been a safeguard for health in the West ever since the beginning of Modern timesra. Where sewage systems have not been introduced, for example in Third World countries in Africa, a hole in the ground out in the open simply does the job. Everyone is invited to test the installation, for which Thomseth looked to German artist Franz Erhard Walther for inspiration.

Photo © Mads Hauge

Going for green: the 3-in-1 bath tube

How can design positively impact on the way we use drinking water, is what Mads Hauge asked himself. His answer is a “3-in-1” solution that effectively combines the shower cubicle and washbasin with the toilet. The idea: The wastewater produced by the shower and washbasin is collected and then used to flush the toilet. It goes without saying that with such a decidedly green invention, the bathtub is configured to use rainwater.