The Nippon Foundation
Designed as part of THE TOKYO TOILET project by the Nippon Foundation, Hi Toilet is a public toilet that distinguishes itself via its “Voice Command” operational capabilities. With this technology, Hi Toilet aims to provide a sense of comfort, cleanliness, accessibility and fun.
How do you design an iconic public toilet that represents the “new normal”?
Public toilets have an image problem—even in Japan, home to some of the cleanest restrooms in the world. According to research, 64% of people would push the flush lever using their feet, 60% would use pieces of clean toilet paper to open the stall doors, and 39% said they would do anything and get creative in many ways just to avoid hand contact with surfaces… and these results are from before the start of the pandemic!
When the “THE TOKYO TOILET” project by Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, put out a call to reimagine public restrooms, TBWA\Hakuhodo was inspired by these insights and put themselves on mission to create the world’s cleanest and most accessible toilet experience.
Hi Toilet is the world’s first contactless toilet – a voice-activated experience that is 100% hands free. The public installation was designed to be universally accessible as a physical and interactive experience. And the final design was completed through repeated trial and error in order to create the most user-friendly public restroom.
The circular design was developed from an aerodynamic engineering perspective that keeps odors from lingering. A high-powered fan automatically replaces the air in the room in 60 seconds after each use.
The system is equipped with multi-directional microphones designed for acoustics, a PC connected to the Internet, and proprietary software that uses Google and Apple APIs so the user can speak voice commands from any position in the restroom, easily turning on and off water, closing the door and more.
As soon as it was launched in 2021, the campaign saw positive sentiment from users on social media in Japan and abroad, as a unique and new toilet experience with its hands-free and safe UI and the impactful white dome design. When Tokyo was ranked 10th in TimeOut magazine’s “2021 World’s Best Cities”, Hi Toilet was named as one of the contributing factors.