Take a load off with this sampling of the world's funkiest toilets found in China, Germany, the U.S. and beyond

By Nate Jones
Updated November 19, 2013 06:00 PM
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Volker Hartmann/AFP/Getty

Toilets are nothing to turn up your nose at. As World Toilet Day – traditionally observed on Nov. 19 – reminds us, even the most basic bathrooms can help protect people from germs and diseases. Meanwhile, on the more luxurious side of things, a few designers have played with the toilet’s form and function to create endlessly inventive spaces.

Cintas started its annual America’s Best Restroom contest as a way to celebrate bathrooms that make an art out of doing your business. On Tuesday, the the business services giant announced its 2013 winner: the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which transports visitors into a whimsical fantasyland … that you’re allowed to pee in.

Varsity Theater restroom, Minneapolis, Minn.

To commemorate the occasion, let’s explore some of the other luxurious lavatories around the globe. We bet they all smell amazing.

Female Urinals, Xi’an, China

Countless women have complained over the years that the lack of urinals in ladies’ restrooms results in long lines and aggravating waits. In 2010, Shanxi Normal University in Xi’an, China, made an effort to relieve this problem by installing female urinals, complete with instructions for confused undergraduates.

Egg Pods, London, U.K.

The French cuisine at London’s Sketch restaurant has earned it a Michelin star, but as many Yelp reviews show, most diners leave just as entranced by its futuristic pod-shaped toilets.

Sticky Fingers, Mönchengladbach, Germany

Rolling Stones-inspired lip-shaped urinals have popped up all over the globe, including this pair in the Rosenmeer hotel in Mönchengladbach, Germany. They often don’t stay up long – a similar style of loo in Vienna’s National Opera was removed in 2006 after protests they were offensive to women.

Orange Outhouses, Tel Aviv, Israel

Orange you glad they’re here? These vibrant restrooms are a welcome sight for any traveler who has indulged in a little too much musical fruit.

Whimsical Washrooms, Kawakawa, New Zealand

If you seek artist Friedenrich Hundertwasser‘s monument, look to Kawakawa, New Zealand, where the reclusive Austrian designed a public restroom full of the plant life and colorful mosaics that were his trademark. As Hundertwasser’s final work, the toilets have become a major tourist attraction for this tiny North Island town.

The Previous Champ: Field Museum, Chicago, U.S.A.

Before the Varsity Theater was honored, the bathrooms in Chicago’s Field Museumheld the America’s Best Restroom crown on the strength of their earth-friendly sinks and relaxing sky-inspired decor.

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