'If you flush it, does it fly to the moon?' SF unveils 'spaceship' public toilets

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They’re “sleek, shiny” and “spaceship-like,” complete with eco-friendly planters and roof gardens. Also, they’re public toilets.

San Francisco officials on Monday selected the look for future public toilets in the city from among three finalists in a design competition, reported The San Francisco Chronicle.

The design concept, by SmithGroupJJR, replaces the current forest-green, mock-Parisian art nouveau toilets deployed on city streets since the mid-1980s, according to the publication.

Described by the Chronicle as “sleek, shiny and modern,” the reflective metal toilets include a planter and a rooftop garden for shrubs, flowers or possibly even a tree. Ideally, the toilets also will recycle water, possibly to water the plants.

The city, which has 25 public toilets and 114 public advertising kiosks, which also are part of the redesign, picked the design from among three finalists, reported The San Francisco Examiner.

Now SmithGroupJJR will work with the vendor who runs the toilets and kiosks to come up with a functional final design, according to the publication.

“So if you flush it, does it fly to the moon?” asked the Examiner.

Dubbing the shiny new toilets “spaceship-like,” SF Weekly said “our city infrastructure is finally catching up to our sleek, tech-centric aesthetic.”

The selection process for the design included input from more than 200 participants in an online survey along with design experts, arts commissioners, historical experts and public works staff, according to the publication.

“The design blends sculpture with technology in a way that conceptually and literally reflects San Francisco’s unique neighborhoods,” Bill Katz, a design principal at SmithGroupJJR, told SF Weekly.

In an earlier review of the design as one of the three finalists, The Bold Italic online magazine took a sharper tone, saying the futuristic toilets resemble “suicide machines” found in some science fiction stories.

The publication also pointed out the toilets may be “nicer than many people’s apartments” and said the city is “taking the ‘flushing money down the toilet’ euphemism to new heights.”

“Nevertheless, while you’re mulling over what the odd shaping is meant to evoke, you can relish in the images of the street trash and foot traffic the (toilet) reflects back toward you,” wrote The Bold Italic.

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