The Chit-Chat Restroom was part of the Casas Project 2022 annual event where Cosas Magazine brings together architects and designers with new visions and proposals in architecture and interior design.
Each designer creates an ephemeral space in an old abandoned house that is open to the public for a week. The challenge was creating an innovative proposal within the restrictions that come with restoring a house without changing its structure.
Our studio reinvented the restrooms of the project using products from Briggs, a brand specialized in construction finishes and bathroom accessories.
Applying neuroarchitecture techniques is a pillar for Side FX Architecture thus, besides their functional use, these restrooms became a social and fun experience where visitors could interact freely and discover new sensations in each cubicle. The concept of Chit-Chat (informal expression for a light and casual conversation) was taken to inspire these interactions with the space’s configuration.
The main feature of the project was its inclusive approach. The men's and women's restrooms were unified in a single space allowing anyone, regardless of their gender, to choose any cubicle to use. The ease of access to any cubicle resulted in a fairer and more equitable bathroom for all.
To encourage social interaction, the sinks were the focal point where all users met. The use of mirrors created a visual connection between the areas and the visitors and washing hands became a moment of community and connection between unknown people.
Color is a unifying tool to reinforce free use and movement. A monochrome space was proposed with orange as the protagonist to create a vibrant and energetic atmosphere. Upon entering, the color changed the mood of the people, stimulating exploration and inviting visitors to discover the sensory experiences of the bathroom.
Seeking to change the way we perceive a restroom, SideFx explored new possibilities and ways of using common restroom accessories. The tubs became comfortable seats where visitors could sit back and relax while they waited their turn, enjoyed conversations, or charged their cell phones. From the ceiling emerged showers that functioned as faucets for the sinks which transformed them into playful and interactive elements where users controlled the flow of water. The limited height of the space required an unconventional lighting proposal, indirect light sources such as strip wall sconces and mirrors with LED light or LED strips on the ceiling were used. This created depth and texture in the space that contributed to an immersive and futuristic atmosphere where traditional conventions of what a restroom should be were lost.
The visual appeal of each cubicle turned the space into a kind of ephemeral art gallery. The themes of each one made visitors interact with the space, taking pictures and sharing their experience on social networks, as if the restrooms were an art installation.
Thus, the Chit-Chat Restroom fused functionality, design, and social interaction, offering a space that defied convention, inspired creativity, and provided a memorable experience.
José Pedro Vásconez