The universal toilet designed by Kim and Changduk Hong Youngki:
The concept is a curve, WC friendly, allowing wheelchair users and everyone was sliding forward directly into the toilet. An independent commission to build the chest adds stability. It removes the social stigma while improving lifestyle.
In the words of the designer:
Taking the “Dis” Out of Disabled: the Universal Toilet
By Changduk Kim and Youngki Hong
Although various public amenities for disabled people are available, they are not always helpful. For instance, some disabled toilets are hard to use for those in a wheelchair even though the toilets are within the law’s guidelines. The Universal Toilet aims to make public environments more accessible and more inclusive. It incorporates universal design principles in a way that creates a toilet equally useable by all members of society and prevents people from feeling singled out for their disability.
The Universal Toilet considers all requirements for a toilet, such as target users, space and facility expenses. The design also incorporates a sink. Its major feature is its adaptability to both the disabled and non-disabled through the dual-function backboard and chest board. It also offers considerable space efficiencies, requiring only a quarter of the space of a standard disabled toilet. In addition, it conserves water by recycling the water used in the attached sink.
One for All
Disabled people don’t want dedicated facilities. What they really want is to live seamlessly with everyone. The Universal Toilet is a flexible toilet design concept that prevents the disabled and the aged from being self-conscious about their limitations. It eliminates the need for public facilities to have both handicapped-dedicated and standard toilets—a significant step that would go a long way in better integrating all people in to society.
While the current requirements for handicapped-accessible toilets are an improvement over past conditions, these facilities can alienate the people they are trying to help. For instance, the signage on these toilets showing a person in wheelchair may lead to feelings of rejection. Disabled people who are not in a wheelchair may feel that the facility is useable by wheelchair-users only, leaving them to struggle with a standard toilet. Such signs also earmark users as separate from mainstream society.
The requirement that public places need to have facilities for the disabled is a narrow interpretation of the law that has negative undertones, suggesting that concessions are being made. A broader, more inclusive interpretation would classify handicapped facilities as ones that the disabled may use without any discomfort—a more eloquent solution.
The designs of most toilets for the disabled have been concerned with functional and mechanical considerations, but none of them address the emotional components of a disability. By creating a toilet that is equally useable by everyone, there is no longer a need for special signage or for disabled people to feel singled out by dedicated facilities.
The Universal Toilet delivers innovation by accommodating the needs of the disabled and able-bodied in one design. We envisioned a toilet that extends beyond a simple concept to meet everyone’s needs—and in the process brings harmony to all.
The form of the Universal Toilet is similar enough to a standard toilet that able-bodied people feel comfortable using it. And because the design doesn’t scream “disabled,” disabled people don’t feel embarrassed to use it.
With the Universal Toilet, wheelchair users don’t need to turn or twist but can simply slide forward off the wheelchair directly onto the toilet. There is a chest board they can lean against for added stability and comfort. Handles on the chest board can also be helpful when standing or transferring to and from the wheelchair. For people that have limited dexterity or strength and the able-bodied, the chest board becomes a backboard to lean against.
The places where the wheelchair would come in contact with the toilet are wrapped in steel to prevent damage to the toilet’s finish. And the surfaces on the toilet that come in contact with the human body are treated with a special coating to mitigate coldness.
The potential market penetration of Universal Toilet is increasing. With the increasing number of larger companies, many are looking for specific business ideas for this group. The Universal Toilet is ideal for this demographic. In Japan, where low birth rates coupled with rapidly increasing age of the population, the size of high-end market is estimated at 40 billion yen in 2001 and should grow to 100 billion yen in 2015. Consequently, many Japanese companies are working hard to develop strategies to take this group.
Beyond their direct economic potential, to allow integrated toilets as Universal toilets more efficient use of space savings and water, helping businesses reduce costs and provide better service to their customers. Any device that helps people feel more a part of the company is sure to win hearts.