The cultural history of sanitation

The newly opened TOTO Museum in the Japanese city of Kitakyushu gives visitors insights into the company’s history and values.

TOTO’s 100-year anniversary is approaching – which is why TOTO built the TOTO Museum at the company headquarters in the Japanese city of Kitakyushu. The new, futuristic building gives visitors insights into the company’s origins, present day activities and future. The exhibits and the green architecture of this group of buildings effectively transport the technology leader’s values: hygiene and respect for the environment.

 

The cornerstone for success

Founded in 1917, TOTO was the first company to bring Western sanitary ceramics to Japan. This laid the cornerstone for the company’s success and formed TOTO’s guiding principle – elegantly summed up in the tagline “Clean Technology”. Even today, TOTO is inspired by lifestyle, environmental protection and hygiene in developing its products.

 

TOTO built the TOTO Museum on the grounds of the company headquarters in the Japanese city of Kitakyushu (Fukuoka Prefecture) to mark its centennial. Open since last August, three-storey building complex spans over 11,000 square metres. It houses the company’s showroom, archive and training centre.

 

Bathroom products from over 100 years of company history

Pioneering bathroom products and bathroom furnishings from the company’s nearly 100 years of business are on display, including the first WASHLET from 1980. The exhibition also includes the first prefabricated modular bathroom, developed for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. This became a bestseller in Japan following the event.

 

The Global Gallery is where TOTO displays all of the bathroom products it currently sells in regions around the globe, including North and South America, Asia, Oceania, Europe. Selected documents from the company archives illustrate the role TOTO has played in the cultural history of sanitation. The TOTO Museum is an essential part of the preparations for the company’s centennial celebrations next year.

 

Green architecture

The architecture of the TOTO Museum reflects just how significant environmental protection is to the company. Two Japanese architectural firms, Azusa Sekkei (architecture and building supervision) and Tanseisha (interior design) created a futuristic, environmentally friendly building with solar panels to generate electricity. The design brings as much natural light as possible inside the building, which is also illuminated with efficient LED lamps. The timber used in the construction comes from native forests. The building also has a green roof and outdoor paths paved with remnants from TOTO’s ceramic production.

 

The sustainable structure is also outfitted with water-conserving toilets and faucets in the bathrooms, which are naturally designed by TOTO. Another remarkable ecological feature is TOTO’s HYDROTECT technology, a self-cleaning coating for facades and building materials applied to the building envelope. When used outdoors, the HYDROTECT surface reacts to both light and water – triggering an efficient process which cleans the material itself as well as the surrounding air. TOTO has patented this unique technology.

 

Images

1. TOTO built the TOTO Museum on the grounds of the company headquarters in the Japanese city of Kitakyushu (Fukuoka Prefecture) to mark its centennial. Two Japanese architectural firms, Azusa Sekkei (architecture and building supervision) and Tanseisha (interior design) created a futuristic building. 2. Visitors can explore TOTO’s historic developments in a special exhibition. 3, 4. The Global Gallery is where TOTO displays all of the bathroom products it currently sells in regions around the globe.