When Gridskipper bestowed the honor of Best Toilet of 2006 on Morimoto’s newfangled flushers, the curmudgeon in us wondered, Do all the bells and whistles stand up to the porcelain palaces of yore? Rest assured, as soon as we entered Pritzker-winning architect Tadao Ando’s loos, we made a discovery that was as dizzying as a swirling-cyclone rim wash.
Theme: 2001: A Space Odyssey — minimal design, maximum technology.
Privacy: Complete enclosure in floor-to-ceiling walled stalls, where mirrors reflect moodily lit cherry blossoms and ceiling speakers pipe in house music. However, anyone standing at the giant open doors can see the futuristically molded urinals from the hallway.
Amenities: TOTO Neorest toilets with a sensory flushing and deodorizing system; lids that automatically open and close; comfortable glazed seats.
Drawbacks: In the stall we visited, the toilet’s bidet and oscillating-pulsating massage features were disabled (general policy, we were later told); not only that, but the toilet wasn’t even flushing, much less utilizing its Cyclone Syphon Jet. (The deodorizer didn’t seem to be working either.) The hand dryer — located, confusingly, behind the mirror that’s above the sink — blows paper towels all over the place. And finally, the soap dispenser was kaput.
Strategy: There’s apparently a manual override switch attached to the toilet. Can it be tinkered with in order to activate the fancier features? We leave it to you to find out.
Rating: — Daniel Maurer
Open Water [NYM]