Women and men go standing up in new public loo design

The toilets are designed to offer better quality public facilities for both men and women

An experiment with public toilets in Bayonne (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), means that both male and female residents are now able to use a public bathroom while standing up.

The toilets - more specifically, the urinals - from Pays Basque-based company Ves Bat Eco, were designed to be built in just two days and take up a minimum of space, and are aimed at urban towns to allow them to provide good quality public facilities for both men and women.

All customers use the same urinal, with women provided with free, disposable 'urinettes' - specially-shaped cardboard tubes - to allow them to stand up and stay clothed throughout.

The toilets were actually designed with women in mind, as company founder Jérôme Clausse explained to French newspaper 20 Minutes, because there are often insufficient public bathrooms in towns, and those that are available "are often only for men, or aren't appropriate for women to use."

Photo: VesBatEco.com

The toilets do not use water, to make their installation easier. Instead, the pressure of someone urinating into the toilet opens a valve, which takes in the liquid, and then closes again, preventing anything from escaping or splashing.

They can also be clad in metal, wood, or plant-based materials, to allow them to adapt to any surroundings, and their rounded and modern appearance is intended to look attractive in both urban and rural settings, so that the building is not immediately obvious as a toilet.  

Photo: VesBatEco.com

The design provides privacy but the toilets do not lock completely, to avoid the possibility of "illicit behaviour inside", according to Clausse.

The bathrooms are currently in the testing phase in Bayonne, and are aimed at local towns, but could also be used at festivals. Each installation costs around €8 000.

"We're currently doing a customer satisfaction survey," explains Clausse. "This will allow us  to adapt the product as needed.

Ves Bat Eco is planning to make more toilets available to other towns in the region, and is seeking other local manufacturers who could build more of the toilets across the country, keeping their carbon footprint down, and helping to support local businesses.

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