People, in general, aren’t good at prioritizing. We blow off work to repeatedly refresh our news feeds and bookmark articles we don’t ever finish reading. We eagerly wait an hour for a cheeseburger we consume in under three minutes. Worst of all, far, far too many of us forgo washing our hands after doing our business. Why? Because 15 measly seconds of lathering and rinsing is just too much to ask.
Nearly ⅓ of Americans don’t wash their hands before exiting a public restroom, with men outpacing women in terms of overall grossness (duh). We don’t know what the figures are for Eastern Europe, but they must be similarly alarming. Latvian designer Kaspars Jursons was moved—presumably by disgust and genuine worry for humankind—to find a solution.
He developed a design for a urinal that compels men to soap up after zipping up. Dubbed STAND, the hybrid toilet consists of a shallow sink that’s integrated into the shell of the urinal, just over the basin. The sensor-activated faucet makes the whole operation hands-free, barring the, eh, bar of soap.
Jursons stumbled on the idea for the project after he made several design collages for a study project at the Art Academy of Latvia. One, a mashup of restroom appliances, struck him as surprisingly functional and efficient. He did some Googling to see if any similar products already existed, and when his searches failed to turn up anything, he decided to build some prototypes.
“I did some first mockups in fiberglass to test it and decide details for the continuous shape,” Jursons tells Co.Design. “That’s how the story began.” Soon after, he formed a small design company to develop the product concept and ready it for commercial use.
Now produced in a small-production run, STAND ($590) has shipped to locations in Norway, Germany, and Russia, not to mention Latvia. A line of the urinals are installed at a concert venue in Riga, whose owners have apparently saved thousands of liters of water. Jursons chalks up these big savings to the design’s simplicity: “By washing your hands, the same water rinses the urinal by a simple method. People do not need to use water twice any more, for urinal and for sink—they just simply wash their hands.”
And there’s really no excuse to not do so when the sink is staring you right in the face. Sure, the urinal is vulnerable to sophomoric horseplay, but it’s still a relatively seamless solution—albeit just one—to what really shouldn’t be a problem.