According to a news report in Austria, a sushi restaurant in Vienna installed a semi-transparent Venetian mirror in the ladies room (see image) allowing men to peer into the ladies room on the other side of the wall while they urinate.
Unsuspecting women primping or applying makeup in the mirror have no idea they’re being watched by men standing in front of urinals, looking through a one-way mirror (also known as a two-way mirror).
The controversial mirror is apparently part of an Austrian artist’s project.
Alexander Riegler told the daily Heute newspaper that the mirror is an attempt to “stir people into a discussion of voyeurism and surveillance in an era when almost everyone is being watched.”
“We were shocked when we heard that,” said a female customer at the restaurant, eating with her friends. “I immediately responded to a waiter and was told to be quiet,” said the 45-year-old female, identified only as Mrs. B.
The restaurant manager scoffed at her complaint. “He did not even apologize,” Mrs. B said, who later turned the matter over to the police and the Equal Treatment Commission.
The Chamber of Commerce, Division of gastronomy, acknowledged receiving Mrs. B’s complaint about the mirror allowing male patrons to peek into the restaurant’s ladies room from inside the men’s room.
“We wrote to the operator and asked him to change that,” said Chairman William Turecek. “I’m surprised he has not already done so.”
The restaurant’s spokesman, Alexander Khael-Khaelsberg, says the mirror only shows women at the sink and does not offend anyone’s private sphere.
He told the daily Heute newspaper that women will get their turn in January, when the mirror is reversed to let them look at men’s faces while they stand at the urinal.
After a story appeared in a local Vienna paper on Riegler’s art project, several female customers complained, and the restaurant was forced to add a sign warning women using the restroom that they were being monitored by the men’s room across the way.
The restaurant recently put up a sign advising women that they are part of an “art project” after complaints.