On the periphery of a busy city park in Tokyo is a transparent bathroom that offers a few forms of alleviation. Although it seemingly provides little privacy, the translucent facade is designed to let people peer inside to inspect the cleanliness before they venture in. Once users do open the door and step into the structure, the walls turn into opaque, illuminated stalls that hide the person from view. As public bathrooms have shut down and been a source of fear since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the new structure ameliorates multiple issues of accessibility.
The sensitive facility is part of an ongoing project called The Tokyo Toilet, which tasked 16 designers—including Kengo Kuma (previously), Tadao Ando (previously), and Shigeru Ban, who created the two transparent structures—with conceptualizing the public facilities throughout Shibuya. Five of the 17 locations are currently operational, with most of the remaining scheduled for 2021. The result is a diverse series of public facilities designed to be more accessible and attractive to those who need them.
To calm any further worries about cleanliness, The Tokyo Toilet also has extensive plans for maintenance. The Nippon Foundation, the Shibuya City Government, and the Shibuya Tourism Association will work collaboratively to ensure the spaces don’t live up their “dark, dirty, smelly, and scary” reputation, a project coordinator tells Fast Company.
Check out some of the open facilities below, and take a deeper look into the unique designs and their locations on the project’s site. You also might want to take a look at GreenPee’s hemp urinals that were installed recently around Amsterdam.
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Lacking the traditional sport and tournament themes of previous years, the official posters for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are taking a different approach to championing the celebrated contests. Organizers gathered work from Japanese and international artists with a range of styles and methods, from calligraphy to photography and manga to cubism, saying the posters are “regarded as the icons of their age.” Some pieces gesture toward the renowned competition more explicitly—“Olympic Cloud” by graphic designer Taku Satoh features rings in red, blue, yellow, green, and black that mimic those in the olympic logo—while others, like Tomoko Konoike’s “Wild Things – Hachilympic,” considers human subjectivity in an evolving world with a multicolor portrait that fills nearly the entire work.
If you’re in Tokyo, head to the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo before February 16 to view all 20 posters. You might also want to check out the cherry-blossom inspired torch that will mark the beginning of the 2020 games. (via Kottke)
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The JSK Lab at the University of Tokyo has designed a modular flying robot that propels itself through the air with several small fans. The entire device is built to autonomously alter its shape during flight, allowing the robot to maneuver its way through obstacles that might obscure its path. The robot is named DRAGON, which is a simplified way of saying “Dual-rotor embedded multilink Robot with the Ability of multi-deGree-of-freedom aerial transformatiON.
The project’s researchers imagine the robot to eventually act as a flying arm, moving its way through the air as it picks up and moves objects with a two-fingered grip. The linked modules that compose DRAGON’s body are connected via hinged joints and the entire structure is driven by an Intel Euclid which allows for a 3 minute run time. The above video shows the robot shape-shifting from a circular configuration to a snake-like object in order to pass through a small hole in the grid that lies above.
DRAGON was presented as a part of the paper “Design, Modeling and Control of Aerial Robot DRAGON: Dual-Rotor Embedded Multilink Robot with the Ability of Multi-Degree-of-Freedom Aerial Transformation,” by researchers Moju Zhao, Tomoki Anzai, Fan Shi, Xiangyu Chen, Kei Okada, and Masayuki Inaba at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2018 in Brisbane, Australia in May. (via The Kid Should See This)
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Poland-based watercolor artist and architect Maja Wronska has wowed us before with her vibrant depictions of urban landscapes. Whereas most of her previous work highlighted architectural features from centuries past, recently the artist has found new focus and energy in the dense environments of more contemporary cityscapes. Hundreds of windows hover above gridded streets and prism-shaped buildings rise above bridges and freeways, while water and earth offer a subtle topographic frame. Wrońska’s confident, consistent hand and imaginative use of color capture the organic energy that makes cities come alive.
Colossal has partnered with Maja Wrońska to create three archival prints from her Modern City Series: Tokyo, Chicago, and Frankfurt. Working with the experts at ioLabs in Rhode Island, we’ve matched the artist’s original color and paper for a print that looks like it’s fresh off Wrońska’s easel. Each city is available in two sizes; all include a two inch border for convenient framing, and are printed with Moab Entrada Natural Textured 100% rag 300 gsm archival paper. Available only in The Colossal Shop.
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In celebration of The National Art Center of Tokyo‘s 10th anniversary, French architect Emmanuelle Moureaux was commissioned to fill the institution’s 6500 square foot exhibition space with her vision of the decade to come. Unsurprisingly, Moureaux, whose practice often involves layering color within space, decided to transform the white cube into a rainbow forest filled with more than 60,000 multi-colored numbers arranged in three dimensional grids.
The installation, Forest of Numbers, is composed of 10 layers, each to represent the next 10 years. Figures 0 through 9 create the 4 digits needed for each year. The numbers are also divided into 100 shades to align with Moureaux’s 100 Colors installation series which she has installed around the world since 2013. You can see previous installations from this series on her website. (via My Modern Met)
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Earlier this summer, Archi-Depot opened within Tokyo’s Shinagawa district, a warehouse museum dedicated to the storage and display of Japanese architectural models. Created by the company Warehouse TERRADA (previously), the cavernous space houses rows and rows of dramatically-lit miniature designs, many of which serve as the tiny precursors to some of the city’s top attractions such as the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo International Airport, and the Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center.
Each of the models stacked within the museum’s 17-foot-tall interior contain a QR code, a feature that provides quick access to further information about the architectural works. Digital details include blueprints, photographs of the finalized building or structure, and examples of other projects the head architect has completed during their career. One architect in particular, Kengo Kuma, has been selected to design the 2020 World Olympics stadium. Although this project is still within its planning stages, a few of his completed projects’ models are stored within the museum. These works include the China Academy of Arts’ Folk Art Museum and the Asakusa cultural center mentioned above. Other architects included in the museum’s collection are Jun Aoki, Shigeru Ban, Wonderwall, Torafu, and many more as the collection is continuously expanding.
In addition to this growing permanent display, Archi-Depot also hosts rotating exhibitions of newer models or more conceptual pieces in its exhibition area. Currently the museum has an exhibition of works by Japanese architecture firm Wonderwall that will be on display through the end of the year. Last month we had a chance to visit the museum, and were blown away by the immense detail put into each of the tiny pieces, especially considering they are often stored away from the public eye. You can have a chance to browse the collection by either visiting the museum Tuesday through Sunday from 11 AM to 9 PM, or visit digitally on their website and Instagram.
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.