Arts and Culture

Extreme Bathrooms: The Best in the Number 1 and Number 2 Business

Filed Under: New York, San Francisco

 

While you might think of the bathroom as a place solely to conduct business, there are certain people who look at these rooms as voyeuristic playgrounds, ecological milestones and artistic galleries. Read on to discover some intriguing ways people have taken the bathroom to an extreme level.  J.C. Decaux Automatic Self-Cleaning ToiletsSan Francisco, California

 

While the terms "cutting edge" and "porta-potty" don't often appear in the same sentence, San Francisco's J.C. Decaux thinks they ought to. The self-cleaning toilets were invented France in the 1970s, but found their way stateside when the City by the Bay installed 25 of them -- for $250,000 each, a cost that would have bought about 500 standard porta-potties.

 

You're probably familiar with the feeling of not wanting to touch anything inside a public toilet, and here you actually don't have to. The touch-free sink area has an optical sensor that will dispense soap, water and start the automatic dryer. The toilet will even clean itself after you've left; the bowl and floor are cleaned, disinfected and dried. While this might seem like porta-heaven, make sure you don't overstay your welcome. After 20 minutes, an automated voice will warn you that the door will open in two short minutes. So whatever your business, make sure you go about it quickly.  Glass LoungeNew York, New York

 

To experience the next extreme bathroom, you don't even need to enter New York's Glass Lounge. That's because the mirror over the bathroom sink is actually a 2-way mirror that peers onto New York's bustling Tenth Avenue. Checking your hair, applying lip gloss or just washing your hands, you'll be staring at your reflection while nosy New Yorkers on Tenth Ave. will be watching your every move. However, it's very easy to forget about the 2-way mirror. After a few cocktails at the bar you may even forget the revealing glass is even there. So whether you're a pedestrian or a customer, you'll love this hidden secret of Glass Lounge.  Ninja New YorkNew York, New York

 

This themed restaurant in New York transports diners back to a 15th-century Japanese village teeming with a waitstaff dressed as ninjas. While they may have some lethal moves, it's their toilet that will knock you dead in your tracks. This bathroom is outfitted with a control pad that operates seat warmers, a water spray (that oscillates or pulsates), a built-in deodorizer and blow driers. That's right -- blow driers for your bottom. Ninjas mean serious business.  John Michael Kohler Arts CenterSheboygan, Wisconsin

 

At the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, you can do more than touch the art. You can pee on it. In 1999, the Arts Center commissioned 6 local artists to extend the collection from the gallery into the lavatories. It's now home to 6 unique art-inspired bathrooms that make up the only permanent art collection at the museum.

 

The largest of the 6 is the Atrium men's room designed by artist Matt Nolen. It features a floor-to-ceiling tile mural titled "The Social History of Architecture" chronicling periods from ancient Egypt to the present. While most public bathrooms take about 1 week to build, this project took Nolen 5 months working 14-hour days in a factory. It truly is a labor of love and artistic expression -- and a public bathroom.  PeepNew York, New York

 

Returning to New York City and its love of extremely voyeuristic bathrooms, next on the list is Peep. The bathroom here is almost completely constructed of 2-way mirrors; from the inside you are free to spy on everyone else in the restaurant. And this isn't like Glass Lounge -- it's not the mirror over the sink that's 2-way, it's the entire bathroom stall.

 

With so much to see, it's no wonder that Peep guests have been known to spend up to half an hour in the bathroom -- that's compared to average public restroom visit lasting between 2 and 3 minutes.  Habana OutpostBrooklyn, New York

 

Habana Outpost is New York City's first eco-eatery and its commitment to eco-responsibility extends far past the kitchen. Their greenhouse-style bathroom features a toilet and sink rainwater recycling system that saves an estimated 4,000 gallons of water a week. The bathroom is also a working greenhouse; looking overhead, the outdoors loom as a reminder that environmentally conscious steps can be taken on a daily basis ... during any type of activity.  Shoji Tabuchi TheaterBranson, Missouri

 

A theater showcasing a country-music-inspired show, the real draws of the Shoji Tabuchi Theater are the elaborate, ornate and sweetly scented bathrooms. The men's and women's rooms are each approximately 1,800 square feet; the men's room features a $15,000 marble fireplace, and each stall is constructed of imported marble and oak doors. Men can also rack up at the bathroom's $35,000 billiards table.

 

The ladies' room is fashioned to look like a 1920s Renaissance-style New Orleans courtyard. The fireplace is imported from Paris, and every single week the room is filled with fragrant exotic flowers -- making it quite possibly the sweetest-smelling bathroom on the planet.  The Madonna InnSan Luis Obispo, California

 

In 1958, Alex and Phyllis Madonna built The Madonna Inn, and since then it's been known for its funky restaurants, over-the-top décor and, yes you guessed it, the bathroom -- more specifically, the hotel's men's room. The urinal is actually a waterfall. The 8-foot-high waterfall is motion-activated; stand in front of it and the waterfall erases any stage fright you may have had.  Urban EcologyMilwaukee, Wisconsin

 

Another amazing bathroom with an eye towards environmental protection is located at the Urban Ecology education center in Milwaukee. Every single detail in this ordinary-looking bathroom seeks to do the extraordinary: the paper towels are composted by earthworms, which turn it into beautiful black soil for plant growth. Over 1,000 plants a year are grown thanks to these worms and the toilets here use almost 1/3 less water than the average toilet -- saving more than 450,000 gallons of water a year.

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