Designer dunnies get first flush

LUXURY LOOS: Wellington's new designer toilets will be open for use today.
LUXURY LOOS: Wellington's new designer toilets will be open for use today.

Wellington's newest public toilets, dubbed the lobster loos, will be christened this afternoon with the first flush.

The $375,000 designer dunnies have taken three years to come to fruition on Queen's Wharf at the rear of Foxglove Bar.

Once the toilet rolls are installed and finishing touches complete they will be ready for use today, Wellington Waterfront chief executive Ian Pike said.

Architect Bret Thurston's winning design was chosen from 28 entries.

The two concrete tentacles encased with orange steel each contain a unisex toilet with wheelchair access.

"The brief for the toilets called for designers to be creative, practical, and for the structure to take on a sculptural form that will be locally and nationally recognised," Mr Pike said.

The fancy flushers will be closed from dusk to dawn to prevent vandalism and unsavoury behaviour inside the spacious toilets - in which at least six people can comfortably stand.

The inside and out have been protected with anti-graffiti coating, making it easy to wipe off taggers' scribbles.

A bog standard toilet facility, that would have cost half the price, would not "fit" with the space, Mr Pike said

"They're functional and sculptural ... they certainly function as toilets but they clearly have an artistic flair to them."

The colour was deliberate to fit in with surrounding heritage buildings, he said.

Wellington City Council approved the cost of the toilets under former mayor Kerry Prendergast last April.

In the past 24 hours, since the hoardings came down, they have attracted interest with some people labelling the loos armadillos, ant eaters and crayfish, project manager Andrew Howie said.

"The funniest thing the boys heard yesterday was a woman walking past and her husband said, 'what do you think they are?', and the woman said, 'I think this is the main entrance to the underground subway system'."

There are no more designer dunnies planned for the waterfront however, toilets in Shed 1, Shed 6 and under Frank Kitts Park will be updated, modernised and better sign posted.

But signs will not be put up by the lobster loos, Mr Pike said.

"The element of surprise in finding out what they are we quite like."

The Dominion Post