iota folding toilet reduces its size and water consumption
iota folding toilet reduces its size and water consumption
mar 04, 2014

iota folding toilet reduces its size and water consumption

iota folding toilet reduces its size and water consumption
all images courtesy of gareth humphreys and elliott whiteley




undertaken as a final year project by gareth humphreys and elliott whiteley at the university of huddersfield, the ‘iota folding toilet’ reduces its size and water consumption by over 50% when flushing. wanting to find a solution for the excessive use of water that is used to clean the trap and also their difficulty in fitting into small bathrooms, a mechanism was created that allows the bowl to be folded away.


the integrated feature houses an inbuilt u bend that disengages from the waste pipe while still maintaining an air tight seal. when closed in the flush position, the component reengages simultaneously as the cistern is released. ‘iota’ offers a small footprint when in the upright position and the rimless design makes it easier to keep the bowl clean.



‘iota – folding toilet’
video courtesy of EG visuals



an interior frame holds the bowl in place ensuring that its rotation is smooth and accurate in order for the waste pipe to line up with the u bend – it also allows for shrinkage during the manufacturing of the porcelain. the outer panels are designed to be easily removed, enabling replacement parts to be fitted and a simple installation. the cistern protrudes into the bowl when in the upright position to apply maximum force and remove all contents from the water trap.

iota folding toilet reduces its size and water consumption
view of the toilet installed in the flush/stored position


iota folding toilet reduces its size and water consumption
view of the toilet installed in its in use position


iota folding toilet reduces its size and water consumption
a sectional view of the bowl while the toilet is flushing


iota folding toilet reduces its size and water consumption
a sequence of images showing the use of the toilet


iota folding toilet reduces its size and water consumption
sectional view of the interior frame and U bend


iota folding toilet reduces its size and water consumption
the interior frame without its casing


iota folding toilet reduces its size and water consumption
size comparison against a standard sized toilet



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

  • Wow…
    really nice idea.
    Sometimes, You have to use the brush, though.
    You might be forced to repeat the flushing (after lowering the bowl and brushing), which would cause more
    water spending in the end (and nuisance of lifting and lowering the bowl, without being able to wash the brush itself).

    Quelava says:
  • Yuk. Complicated, terribly complicated – seals, tubes, the thing with the brush, handling (pulling the thing down and pushing back up to use…. Floor mounting is also unappetizing – the comparison with a traditional floor mounted toilet from the 18/19th century – sorry guys but the UK is so behind the times here! – check out German Duravit or Geberit stuff – looks and functions fantastic – by the way, I’m English!

    Dr Design says:
  • forgot to mention the beige tiles and the skirting board….oh the joys of English style….

    Dr Design says:
  • Cool idea, but ina really sh**** day, thats when you see this idea is not so good. First, with that huge crack on the rotation axes (that crack between the rotating bowl and the base, that´s a nightmare to clean, because crap always gets into that and it´s not very clean on the long run.

    Second, you need a permanent sealed tube between the two pieces mate… Because that seal with the rubber all around… Not good imo, crap will get in there and again, a nightmare to clean. This in order to work that whole where the solids/fluids come out to the base must be perfectly sealed, by a folding tube or something, the least amount of space/cracks/etc availabel for the dirt to get into, the best.

    what? says:
  • NO WAY my wife would ever touch the exterior bowl of a toilet. I love the basic concept however. Kudos.


    JimCan says:
  • Space saving….. Yes like there is so many things that could be using the same space. I just want to know what moron would actually want to grab this and bring it down to use it? As a former plumber I can see quite a few design flaws and would not like to be the sorry sap that had to install this abortion!

    Kevin M. says:
  • I want one
    please make it!

    Peter Glasheen says:
  • very cool. nice sections too.
    this might work for those who can afford it, but continuing with the mac metaphor, the maintenance of this mechanical wonder might require a genius bar and more tools than a plumbers’ wrench and a snake.

    hoha says:
  • This is a great idea! Though, have the designers considered incorporating the idea behind Squatty Potty ( into revisions of the iota?

    Christopher John says:
  • Looks swish but what is 50% reduction in water use compared to what?
    In Australia the average toilet water consumption must not exceed 5.5 litres per flush. The average water consumption of a dual flush cistern is taken to be the average of one full flush and four half flushes. This means dual flush cisterns of 9 litre full flush/4.5 litre half flush are the least efficient products that can be sold.

    emma says:
  • Can it only be flushed by closing? Sometimes you need to flush while “in the process”, can you flush while in the
    sitting position? I’ve read everything but do not see this addressed. Thanx.

    M cOLLINS says:
  • I have problems with those “careless” type who pee on the rim. The thought of cleaning afterwards (after the toilet is folded back up) sicken me. Not only I have to clean the rim, the side and the base, I will have to clean the stand, the back and maybe the wall as well.

    Rocketman says:
  • don’t see why touching it to pull it down is a problem since you usually lift or lower the dirty seat all the the time anyway. BUT there could be an out mechanism to lower and or lift it could even be mechanical like the trash cans with foot pedals. But I don’t see much use for the space except for a bit (but not much) more space to change for the bath. Also it would keep yur dog from drinking out of the toilet;) or in an RV? but really not many uses- very much a college student idea. I wish thy would have explained what need drove them to create it besides the water issue

    markjamesdesign says:
  • Major flaw (with an easy fix): No way I’m I’m getting on my hands and knees to try to clean underneath the back of it.
    Suggestion: Make a taller model that would be easier for geriatrics to use.

    Woozie says:
  • This is a truly horrible design, with a fatal chronic flaw and a lethal acute flaw. The chronic flaw is that the outlet to the sewer cannot be sealed; there must be a gap so the bowl can pivot; and through this gap sewer gases will constantly leak. Yuck!

    The acute flaw is when the wussy water-saving flush fails, and you have a bowl full of urine, toilet paper and feces. With a normal toilet the solution is the plunger; but when the bowl is up, you cannot reach inside with the plunger, and when the bowl is down, plunging will merely force the mess into the interior of the toilet and then onto the floor. Double yuck!

    Nobody anywhere should ever use this design. Burn the blueprints and go back to the drawing board, with a competent designer this time.

    paradoctor says:
  • Add a sensor so that when approached the toilet comes out and when completed the toilets folds back up.

    Great design guys!

    Good luck!

    Davpedia says:
  • I wonder if your average plumber would care to deal with an object requiring this level of assembly. Difficult idea to convey w/o offending one group or another. As is, the WC is a 1 or 2 piece cheap porcelain object (I have bought/installed toilets costing <$50 US) and unboxing and installing is a 20-30 minute task. A daunting paradigm to challenge. But, considering the 'tiny house' movement, this object could find its way into that ecology. Add a sink, and now you're talking. The model and illustration is world class. On that basis alone, I had to watch the video several times.

    Allan Clark says:
  • This is an amazing way to save water! Good thinking!

    Gunat Ayuba Nuhu says:
  • Very Cool Idea, – keep designing it !! I would worry about the small corners around the inside and outside. They need to be dead simple and easy to clean. Lots of sharp inner mechanics and corners would fill up with germs and gunk over time.!??

    Jon says:
  • Nice Idea,It should partially embeded (Rear fix portion). It will cover short space.

    SHAHID 92 03331392839(pakistan) says:

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