While the term “throne” has been a euphemism for toilet since King Louis XIV saw to royal business while using the toilet, there’s been no record of a restroom literally being decked out in a royal way since. That is, until now. Lam Sai-wing, a Hong Kong jeweler, has designed and built toilets made of gold in his jewelry store. The inspiration: Vladimir Lenin’s vision of the ultimate in capitalist waste. In 1921, Lenin said gold toilets would serve as a useful reminder of the waste of capitalist warfare, a reminder Lam Sai-wing took seriously.
The jeweler built two solid gold toilets in a bathroom gilded with 24-karat gold and encrusted with gems. In addition to the toilets, virtually everything else in the bathroom is made of gold. The toilet bowls, wash basins, toilet brushes, mirror frames, toilet paper holders, wall tiles, and wall-mounted chandeliers are all made entirely of solid gold. As if all that gold wasn’t enough, Lam Sai-wing decorated the ceiling with rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and amber. Even the floor near the doorway of the “ancient Roman-style” bathroom is embedded with a handful of two-pound gold bars.
Lam Sai-wing, now 45, was a teenager in mainland China when he read about Lenin and his dreams of celebrating a socialist revolution by building toilets made completely of gold. After moving to Hong Kong at the age of 22 and starting a successful jewelry business, Lam Sai-wing always kept the ideals close to his heart. He considers the royal restroom to be a “combination of my thoughts and ideals.”
Although Hong Kong has long been a city known for its opulence, where bowls of shark fin soup can cost hundreds of dollars and Rolls-Royces are a common sight, the gold washroom sits in a class of its own. While some visitors to the 3-D Gold Shop where the golden restroom is housed consider the display of wealth to be “too much,” others appreciate Lenin’s vision and Lam Sai-wing’s execution.
The restroom didn’t come at a low price-tag and isn’t cheap to use either. Total costs of the bathroom hover around $5 million, and those who wish to use the restroom must spend at least $138 on jewelry. Those who use the restroom must remove their shoes to avoid scuff marks on gold tires, and although it’s currently free to take a gander at the restroom, it will soon cost $14 for a brief glimpse at the opulent celebration of the socialist revolution. There’s no telling how much money Lam could make by selling that gold toilet to Cash for Gold USA!