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09. 07. 2007

Cool bathrooms at New York's Bar 89


If you go looking for the restrooms at Bar 89 in SoHo, instead of a private room for women and a separate one for men, you'll encounter an open area upstairs with a row of hi-tech looking stalls. Through the glass doors, you can see the toilet and sink lit up in red and blue. I observed someone going into one of them, and when they closed the door, after a second or two, the glass door became opaque and the word "occupied" lit up at the top of the door. I entered a stall, saw that I could still see the guy sitting on the sofa across from me, and assuming that I was no more invisible to him than he was to me, quickly exited. But I went back to investigate and take some photos with my cell phone camera (my Helio Ocean).


Just as I was thinking that I need to get out more in order to keep up with bathroom technology, I realized that everyone in the place was talking about the crazy doors - it's quite a conversation piece. I never did get to the bottom of how they work; it's either the lock or some kind of motion sensor that causes the door to fog up.

I complain about auto-flush toilets (which often flush at random) and automatic faucets, but this is much worse. What if it malfunctions while you're in there?

Posted by Hoyun    Category: design
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Comments (12)


The only way it can malfunction is if the power goes out. The way these doors work is when you close the door it completes the electrical circuit causing something to happen in the glass. And if you're in the bathroom and the power goes out, you've got a much serious thing to worry about than see through doors.


If it malfunctions while you are in there, the door becomes more or less transparent and people can see you with your pants down. They are likely strangers anyway, you can have a quick laugh and say, "You saw me nekit, buy me a beer." They will either buy you a beer or be horrible human beings.

ben chadwick:

there is a gas trapped in between two glass panels. they pass an electric current through it to make it "fog" it happens when you latch the door closed these doors are rly old. prada store in ny has the same thing for the changing rooms.


Polyvision� panels are a revolutionary breakthrough in display technology which can transform from a cloudy white translucent barrier to an optically clear state with the flick of a switch. The panels, produced by laminating polymer-dispersed liquid crystal film with architectural grade PVB between two layers of glass, are offered in sizes up to 56 X 120 inches. From custom residential to the most high-tech commercial applications, Polyvision� creates visual effects that are just outta sight!


it works by using electrical current to turn the glass opaque when the circuit is closed (i believe). Some sneakey little bastard could slip in a device to prevent the circuit from closing if they really wanted to see someone drop a deuce.


I've been in there plenty of times, if it malfunctions you know before you sit down. You can tell if it hasn't gone opaque 2 seconds after you lock it, it is unlikely to turn off while you are on the can. Also, they check them regularly and if the door is malfunctioning they will mark it as out of order.


We have this kind of Glass door in one of our hotels in Hong Kong. They are activated when electricity goes through the glass. (thats what I've heard and never actually seen one)

Some Person:

There are dozens of places with stalls like that in Miami Beach, and have been for years.


The natural state of the door is opaque, only when electricity is applied it turns transparant. No worries...


The dormant state of Polyvision glass is *cloudy*, not clear. The only thing to fear in the case of a power outage is that all stalls will appear occupied!


well... it is a bar. I saw a bathroom like this on the travel channel and the restaurant owners said they have a problem with people assuming that no one can see in when you CLOSE the door, not when its locked, and they just go.

now...imagine how often that happenes when the people are drunk?


Anyone know where I can purchase doors like this or what company has this technology? I would like to use it on windows.

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