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Big changes are taking place in lavatory design

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The Independent Online

The charity WaterAid is mounting a campaign to raise money for the 2.5 billion people, or nearly one in three of the world’s population, who do not have access to a safe, private lavatory. The United Nations has even set up a World Toilet Day.

Big changes are taking place in lavatory design, including the “shower toilet”, which turns a loo into a bidet. Press a button and a neat little “wand” pops out at the back with a cleansing spray at your chosen pressure/temperature. It costs from about £1,500 to an astounding £10,000 depending on the features. The lid may lift of its own accord thanks to a motion sensor, and the seat can be warmed.

Japanese company Toto pioneered the technology – of the 25,000 people it employs, 1,200 are designers. Its brand is the Washlet (; 020 7831 7544). The pursuit of hygiene is ruthless. Basic models are rimless, with no ledge for dirt, and there’s a supercharged Tornado flush.

Top-end Totos are programmable, have automatic lid lift, cleansing wands and air driers, with special antibacterial water and blasts of UV light to kill germs – so you can chuck out the loo brush (; 0845 600 1950).


The Numi, by US brand Kohler, comes at a fancy price, too, pushing £10,000. Designer Phil Procter says: “This Bluetooth toilet will even play your favourite music from radio, or iPad/iPhone, with a background of colour-changing lights.” It’s got a cleansing wand, heated seat, deodoriser, and a touch-screen remote control with its own magnetic docking station (; 020 7324 0780).

The German Geberit AquaClean, a shower toilet (; 0800 107 0700), has an integrated warm-air dryer and all functions can be adjusted via remote control; it costs about £2,800.

Laurence Pidgeon, a fifth-generation kitchen and bathroom firm, has a bidet toilet with a hose you pull out to deliver a soft cleansing jet of water, or a high-pressure blast to clean the loo (; 020 7610 6166).

Black is the new white

There are basically three different types of lavatory. A wall-hung loo needs a support frame mounted on a solid wall, while a back-to-the wall toilet sits on the floor, with the cistern concealed behind a wall or “duct” – a false wall.

A close-coupled toilet has bowl and cistern in one piece in a compact design that saves space. Crucially, a dual-flush cistern can halve your water consumption. The new Meridian-N In-Tank, from Roca, combines the cistern and pan in one neat, space-saving fitment.

Meanwhile, black loos are in fashion. “They make a great statement,” says Melinda Hill, senior designer at Ripples. Armani has designed one for Roca (Staffan Tollgard, 020 7952 6066).

And a new loo from German company Grohe is claimed to cut the noise of its flush by more than two thirds, compared with an average toilet. It has even been awarded a Quiet Mark (;