It may be a functional space, but that hasn’t stopped designers and architects from turning the humble toilet into a room of surprises. With breathtaking vistas, wacky themes or lavish materials, there are rest rooms out there that’ll make you feel like a million bucks each time you spend a penny.
SAPPORO Take a comfort break on top of the city’s highest building. Toilets at the JR Tower’s observation room are 160 meters above street level and walled with glass. According to the designer, “one is supposed to do it as if one is taking a leak into a river from the top of a bridge.”
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CHICAGO Located on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building, the women’s toilets at the Signature Room restaurant offer a spectacular panorama of downtown Chicago through floor-to-ceiling windows. Meanwhile, at the city’s Voyeur nightclub, women using the bathroom can operate a closed-circuit surveillance system that shows pictures of the dance floor outsideperfect for tracking a cheating date or possible catch.
TAICHUNG In Taiwan’s third-largest city, the Chung Yo department store boasts 13 themed toilets, incorporating everything from pop-art and Baroque motifs to toilets designed to resemble a jungle or aquarium. Each toilet cost a cool $30,000 to install.
NEW YORK A local landmark, the 120-year-old P.J. Clarke’s tavern is renowned as much for its onetime clientele as for its men’s room, which features two-meter-high period porcelain urinals. These are famous for having ice at the bottom. Co-owner Philip Scotti explains that before air-conditioning and ventilation systems were invented, ice helped keep odors under control.
HONG KONG They don’t come more opulent than the facilities at the 3D-Gold Storeofficially the world’s most expensive toilet and bathroom. Every fixture, from the two commodes to the sinks and toilet-roll holders, is made of solid gold. It’s all in working order, but nothing is actually usedvisitors must content themselves with perching on a toilet and having a Polaroid taken for $2.50. With construction of the bathroom having cost $4.9 million, it’ll take a lot of photos to recover the cost.