Meet The Throne, an elegant portable 3D printed toilet »3D Printing Media Network


Often at festivals, campsites, construction sites or any other situation in which the installation of portable toilets is required, we find ourselves faced with polyurethane “boxes” (a material that is difficult to recycle) that focus on functionality, completely neglecting aesthetics and comfort. Last August, a new fully 3D printed toilet was installed in Gstaad which aims to revolutionize the concept of the portable bathroom, and the name “The Throne” immediately makes us understand, with a touch of irony, nature of the initiative. Commissioned by To.org – a foundation that creates, funds, and crosses initiatives that address the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges – and built by Nagami, a Spanish studio specializing in computer design, its streamlined form vaguely resembles a rocket and, most importantly, most of the design was 3D printed from disposable plastic discarded by medical facilities, supplied by Reflow, a Dutch company.

To.org co-founder and CEO Nachson Mimran, on the birth of The Throne project, said: these kinds of places. I didn’t enjoy my few minutes in this cabin and walked out wondering if we could do something different ”.

To.org has already worked on the African continent, particularly in Uganda, in the poor neighborhood of Kyebando in Kampala. Through his Shadowman Van project, inspired by a work of art by Richard Hambleton that Mimran bought at an Amfar auction (a 1977 Chevrolet ice cream truck, painted by the artist and transformed since into a creative conversation space), set up replicas and vans with video conferencing equipment. The vans are connected to each other and to the original, which can be found at the Alpina Gstaad, the hotel where Mimran is president and creative director (the Alpina won a Wallpaper Design Award in 2013 as’ Best Refuge for ‘winter “).

“It was a way to have a remote dialogue with our friends, using the vans as a hub to advance ideas and discuss the challenges they face,” says Mimran. Among the most obvious problems was the lack of a sanitation service in Kyebando; Thus in 2018, To.org organized the creation of a toilet building based on plastic bottles filled with discarded polyethylene bags. The Bottle Brick Toilet, as it was called, ended up including 13,356 bottles and over a million bags, employing over 400 people during its construction and providing a safe and private place for residents to break free and meet their needs. their needs. “By doing something in a more creative and obviously recycled way, we could enter popular culture both locally and internationally and spark a wave of inspiration and imitation,” Mimran added.

Meet The Throne, an elegant 3D printed portable toilet made from recycled disposable medical plastic, reinvented by To.org and Nagami

The hype that sparked the bottled brick toilets enabled To.org to partner with a non-profit organization called GiveLove to build a more sustainable and hygienic public toilet in Kyebando. “The Throne” shares the same spirit as these early toilets, although its sleek, futuristic design places it in the opposite direction. One of the main goals of the new project is undoubtedly to explore additive manufacturing, which has the potential to revolutionize construction, especially in developing countries.

Mimran and Nagami CEO Manuel Jimenez García joined their mutual interest in the technology at an event in London in 2019 and since then have brought their ideas to life, including a 3D printed pavilion inspired by a igloo which could play a similar function to the Shadowman. vans. Also, another reason for working on portable toilets was to allow the pavilion to be placed in remote locations without a toilet.

The shape of the “Throne” nods to the shell shape of the pavilion, which is currently under construction. The choice of color, a bright white, serves to align their aesthetic; the enlarged shape instead gives the user more room to move around, while an almond-shaped sliding door helps to minimize physical clutter and add a sense of ceremony and elegance during the the entry and exit of this futuristic bathroom. A skylight provides natural lighting and, in good weather, also provides a vertical view. Inside, there is a built-in shelf for storing toilet paper and there is space for the user to place the phone. Separate containers for solid and liquid waste facilitate any composting while an additional container accommodates wood chips to remove unwanted odors.

Meet The Throne, an elegant 3D printed portable toilet made from recycled disposable medical plastic, reinvented by To.org and Nagami

Using a seven-axis robotic 3D printer manufactured by ABB, Nagami was able to print the main components of “The Throne” in three days (the body, the door and a bucket for solid waste; the base and a few. small accessories were injection molded or ordered from third parties). Certainly, a quick turnaround, although Mimran is aware that there is still a long way to go before a similar structure can be produced in Uganda. While To.org, in collaboration with the local NGO You & I Foundation, runs a fab lab in Kyebando with an advanced 3D printer, Nagami’s printer has higher energy and maintenance needs and requires more training for a larger team. There are other design challenges as well: Unlike traditional portable toilets, “The Throne” is not stackable, making scaling more difficult.

“The Throne” currently exists in a single edition, but instead of treating it as a centerpiece, Mimran commissioned it on the same site where he had the idea for its creation and made it accessible to everyone. all. “A public toilet is a public toilet. If our team on the job site enjoyed this moment, as much as I enjoyed testing it, they would probably be in a better mood to do the job they are doing ”.

Mimran’s intention is for “The Throne” to act as a provocation: it sparks an “unsexy discussion” about sanitation and also encourages mass additive manufacturing vendors to accelerate the path to “Throne” existence. in the most remote places. He added: “We believe that this technology has to go through the same type of process as photovoltaics: it used to be a luxury to harness the sun for its energy, and now it is probably one of the least sources. dear. We hope to be able to set up a coalition to reduce the costs of distributed digital production, therefore not only in the hands of privileged creators and designers but also of those who design objects that are essential and vital for their survival ”.

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