Designed on the Hill is a new series reflecting on good design, as observed by Greg Janky and Treasure Hinds of Anvil Studios, a product design firm based on Capitol Hill.
Though the many design subtleties may not be noticed right away, even casual visitors know right away they are interacting with a special space. Optimism Brewing Company made a very conscious choice to create a welcoming and innovative space for everyone by designing a gender neutral bathroom that’s not just a huge leap forward for gender equality, but also a demonstration of beautiful design.
For example, rather than using standard gendered iconography, these bathrooms have icons of a toilet and a urinal, allowing the patron to choose which fixture they prefer to use, rather than the one implied for their gender. The lack of mirrors also sends a message that this is a place of simplified utility, and not vanity.
The layout is also family-friendly: fathers can take their daughters to the restroom, and a couple can both change a diaper. Casual conversations can also be continued over a central community sink, which is also eco-friendly.
In addition to making a statement on the purpose and politics of a trip to the bathroom, the design is also efficient. Allowing all people to use all facilities makes sense: why dedicate three toilets just for men in a brewhouse, where they’ll primarily be using a urinal?
The progressive, eco-friendly, and cost-effective use of space in Optimism Brewing Company is proof that integrating universal design and creating a space that works for all people, where everyone feels comfortable, means a universally better experience. Now that’s optimism!
Special thanks to Jocelyn and Gay at Optimism for spending time chatting about design and sharing a beer. Additional thanks to Olson Kundig Architects who designed the space.