At first glance, urinals do not appear to offer particularly fertile ground for design discussions, especially in the workplace. However, there is a lot to be said about a fixture that was not always ubiquitous in the workplace.

First patented in 1866, the urinal has drastically evolved since Andrew Rankin was credited as its inventor, 151 years ago. And although the benefit of a modern urinal (and a well-kept washroom for that matter) may still be lost to some businesses, the urinal as indicator for quality and innovation is climbing in popularity.

Gloo by Phillip Watts
Gloo: colourful polyethylene urinal by Philip Watts Design

A quick web search shows a wide variety of urinals – corner, stall, through (should these really exist?) sensor and waterless but what about designer urinals?

Pictured above, Gloo is a rotationally moulded plastic urinal which comes in 8 different colours, making for a somewhat fun washroom should different colours be used at once. And if polyethylene does not appeal to your business, you can opt for the stronger and more durable cast solid resin, like the Spoon urinal across.

spoon - urinal design by phillip watts
Spoon: cast solid resin urinals by Philip Watts Design

Spherical urinals may sound like a futuristic feature but Ceramica Cielo's suspended ceramic urinals blend French flair with the quality of Italian craftsmanship to create these minimal urinals fit for high-end, sophisticated offices.

ceramica cielo Ball ceramic suspended urinal
Ball: suspended ceramic urinal by Ceramica Cielo
Olympia crystal urinals with lids
Crystal: glossy white, wall hung urinals with lids, manufactured by Olympia Ceramica, designed by 5.5. designstudio

Perhaps most commonly used in urinal design, ceramic is another option worth exploring for its clean lines, elegant appeal and versatility.

Of course, a post on urinals would be incomplete without the mention of the ever increasing waterless urinal. Introduced to the world by the Waterless Company in 1992, no-flush urinals can now be found in all shapes and sizes and their advantages are multi-fold. By installing no-water urinals, business can save money on water (and water itself), maintenance is reduced and the dry nature of waterless urinals guarantees a more hygienic environment.

waterless urinal design
Waterless urinals by Kohler

That said, unpleasant odours remain a common problem with waterless urinals. So how can business meet environmental goals and reduce their expenditure without resorting to dry urinals?

Latvian designer Kaspars Jursons seems to have found the answer. Meet STAND, a hybrid toilet with an integrated shallow sink in the shell of the urinal, pictured below.

hybrid urinal and sink
Sink and urinal hybrids at Riga's Concert Hall Palladium by Studio Annvil

How does it work? Jursons puts it simply: "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." What's more, the proximity of the two is bound to remind the forgetful and the hurried to wash their hands before exiting the restroom. A three-in-one modern urinal. 

So how important is urinal design in the workplace? If a washroom is to reflect the values of a business, putting an emphasis on design urinals will show a business cares for the details and that, as small a detail as it may seen, is bound to have a knock-on effect on the company's well-being.

Made in Bulgaria, raised in Morocco, "matured" in the UK, Elissaveta is our Editor-in-Chief. Her career started in the field of architecture and design where she developed a talent for creative thinking and an eye for aesthetics. In 2014, she found her calling in design journalism and now has over three years’ experience in writing about design & architecture.