The power of design: Fun in funny places
Recently, while traveling with friends we reconsidered a question posed some years ago via questionnaire about how to increase the traffic flow in public restrooms, particularly womens' rooms.
A variety of suggestions were put forward at the time based mostly on dark humor and the assumption that people move more quickly in places that they don't like.
My son suggested that if you really wanted to shake things up that you could significantly change the traffic in mens rooms by putting the urinals back-to-back so the patrons faced each other. Alternatively, one could place them in a circle facing inwards.
All men present agreed this was a potent idea that would have far-reaching effects (none that they were in support of). Some predicted that such a design would create a restroom that no one (man) would use.
The inquiries of the curious women were met with curt certainty and unusual concordance among the men but, no details.
Thus, much giggling ensued.
Tonight I found this wonderful picture by Wim Wiskerke a photographer based in Holland. He has been a great help to me as I learn the ropes in stock photography and seek to expand and share Gay's available images . His image that I've included in this post is available at Alamy Stock or from him directly. It provides a similar innovative culturally-based approach taken in a REAL mens room in Brussels. The caption reads "Mens bathroom; urinals at a Brussels restaurant featuring 4 women onlookers, amused, making jokes".
The anthropologists among us want to assess the response to the design and its impact on use, demand, and time spent. We are intrigued.
In truth, the actual solution to the long lines outside the womens loo is probably to double to number of womens bathrooms available or make all public restrooms unisex.
Then again if some of the ideas proposed here were tried it might be that certain mens rooms could be documented as underutilized and therefore, candidates for renovation into womens rooms.
Please, share your response to these far-fetched notions-- the actual pictures from a Brussles resturant and their loo, or the facing urinals design, how would these affect the situation or environment we know now?
And, thanks Wim for a great shot.