Thursday 14 August 2008

Style and Utility Don't Inspire at National Museum

National Museum Singapore
93 Stamford Road,

Where is it?

Parking at Caning Walk take the back entrance heading over the footbridge. Once in the building proper see the mural – pictured – to your right and head left. The entrance to the toilets is on your left. Follow the arrow at the end and the toilets will be right there.

What’s it like?

You know this particular day had turned wet and was disappointingly cool for an otherwise pleasantly humid time of the year in the city. What do you do when the weather turns bad? OK you shop. But what do you do once you’ve looked at a whole mall full of computers and gadgets…? You find a museum of course!

I passed through the museum and took the opportunity to use the facilities as I was on an informal walking tour of the city highlights. It’s an impressive place and a great space for showing art and coping with the many visitors that must come here. There was also a exhibition of furniture on that showed some pretty innovative, funky furniture that was comfortable and utilitarian at the same time.

The toilets make a good first impression as well. You are greeted with sleek black counter white tile and steel fixtures. All perfectly utilitarian: all perfect robust for the many visitors. But…

These toilets were uninspiring and pretty uninviting. I wanted to take my time and rest my feet a little before the next stage of the walk but the fact was these toilets were uncomfortable and just wanted you to move on your way. Rather like McDonalds’ seats they were designed to allow you to do you stuff in comfort but ust at that point they become so uncomfortable.

That said they had clearly put the effort in to keeping these toilets clean with the rota up to date! a great automatic paper dispenser, but given we’re getting used to the Dyson hand driers in the UK that can’t save these toilets.

So, the designers of these toilets were skilled in meeting their brief. Shovel people through clean, functional, moderately stylish toilets as quickly as possible. That just doesn’t make for the best toilet experience. Maybe they should enlist the young designers to do a better job?

Marks out of 10:

8. Perfectly utilitarian but certainly not comfortable with it.

Comments to the management:

Clean but mean.

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