New York City just unveiled its new design for 25Â¢ public toilets, 20 of which will be on the mean streets next year. A unique and seemingly necessary feature is that the door slides open automatically after 15 minutes--so forget about taking the Sunday Times in there with you.
And if you think it is about design, well, again, it boils down to advertising dollars...
The toilets are being installed as part of an agreement with Cemusa Inc., the North American subsidiary of the Spanish industrial conglomerate FCC Group. Cemusa Inc. will also build 330 newsstands and 3,500 bus shelters.
It will build and maintain all the amenities without charge, and pay a fee to the city, in exchange for the rights to sell advertising on them. Last fall, the company outbid four others for the contract, which could be one of the most lucrative ever awarded, as it would generate at least $1 billion for the city over 20 years.
Bruce M. Tharp, PhD is a designer, professor, researcher, and entrepreneur, with degrees in mechanical engineering, industrial design, and anthropology. He and his wife, Stephanie Tharp run an award-winning, design studio, materious.
They have licensed a dozen new product ideas to companies, and currently manufacture several of their own. Materious also produces discursive products and concepts to engender reflection and debate on cultural topics. They are currently finishing a book project on the topic entitled, Discursive Design.
Bruce is a professor of design at the University of Michigan's Stamps School of Art & Design where he teaches a range of undergraduates as well as graduates in the new Master of Design program in Integrative Design.