“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…” (Can you see the ruby slippers clicking together? Well, if you haven’t seen Wizard of Oz you probably don’t know what I’m talking about, but back to the point). There’s no place like home… for using the toilet. Using a public bathroom never feels as private and safe as home, but “when you gotta go you gotta go,” (that one’s from Jurassic Park) and sometimes a public bathroom is where you need to take care of business, so to speak.
Public bathrooms usually try and accommodate privacy with stalls, urinal partitions, etc., but there are a few public bathrooms out there that are pushing the envelope on people’s privacy-comfort-zones by using smart glass (Smart glass can be frosted and private when off, or clear and transparent when on). Some of it’s for fun, and some of it, believe it or not, has a more practical purpose.
On the just-for-fun side, when smart glass first started to gain momentum in the market, a club in New York called Bar 89 used smart glass on their unisex bathroom stalls. A unisex bathroom may be awkward enough for some, but Bar 89 took it to the next level with each stall door installed with smart glass. The smart glass on the stall door was in the transparent state by default and only frosted over when a user locked the stall door. So for many using the bathrooms for the first time may have been a bit of a challenge. But as news spread of the smart glass bathrooms, many came to just try them out.
Another public bathroom project using smart glass was recently completed in Japan. It was designed by Shigeru Ban, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect. He used smart glass to create a transparent effect for each of the bathrooms.
But instead of using smart glass just for fun or novelty, these public bathrooms used it so that potential users can easily see if the bathroom is occupied (because the smart glass would be in its frosted or “off” state when occupied), and in the transparent state they can see the cleanliness and safety of the bathroom without having to walk inside.
Whether it’s for fun, novelty, or for more practical use, smart glass is making its way into public bathroom design and functionality.... but I think most would agree, when it comes to using the toilet, "there's no place like home."