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 (gb.toto.com; 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 (cphart.co.uk; 0845 600 1950).
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The Toto in a suite at London’s Rosewood Hotel
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The Toto Neorest AC Washlet wand
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The W+W all-in-one washbasin and WC from Roca (from £3,220). The loo uses waste water from the basin to fill the cistern
Roca Sanitario S.A 2011 Barcelona
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The water is heated as soon as you approach an AquaClean WC
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A wall-mounted AquaClean shower toilet (about £2,800), by German bathroom firm Geberit
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A Burgbad range wall-hung WC (£523, from Ripples)
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 (westonebathrooms.com; 020 7324 0780).
The German Geberit AquaClean, a shower toilet (ripples.ltd.uk; 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 (laurencepidgeon.com; 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 (grohe.com/uk; quietmark.com).