To celebrate World Toilet Day I thought I’d post a photoblog of what must surely be the most beautiful toilet in the world. It has to be – it’s been designed by Austrian artist Frederick Hundertwasser, one of the most controversial Central European Artists. Jewish, Catholic, member of the Hitler Youth (for his own safety) and totally unique, you will find him sometimes called Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser, weird German names he chose equivalent to Moon Unit Zappa or Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof.
On 10 December 1999 the first building designed by Hundertwasser in the Southern Hemisphere opened at 60 Gilles Street, in the small town of Kawakawa, Northland, New Zealand, about one hour by bus from the tourist hub of Paihia, Bay of Islands. Typically for such a maverick, it was a public toilet.
Funded by the Kawakawa community board, it soon became a tourist attraction with busloads of tourists making the obligatory stop between Paihia and Auckland.
The irregular bright tiles were constructed by students from the Bay of Islands, while recycled products such as throwaway glass bottles and bricks make up the whole, supervised by builder Mike Browers with assistance by Richard Smart and Foug Shepherd. A tree is incorporated into the building and the roof is full of vegetation.
Hundertwasser lived in Kawakawa as a recluse from 1975 until his death in February 2000; thankfully, he lived to see the inauguration of this toilet with which he put his adopted town on the map.
Nowadays tourists flock to Kawakawa to take pictures, so having a wee there is impossible for someone who is pee-shy, like I am, as almost everyone wants to snap you standing at a urinal. But as you can see from my pictures, it is possible to avoid the crowds if you stay a bit longer in the town and use the toilet for the purpose it was built for. I certainly did.
Hell, I’ve always wanted to pee at a work of art.