Humankind’s relationship to drinking water has developed into what can only be described as a toxic one. This is particularly true in our cities where tensions surrounding water have resulted in many calling for a ban on single-use, disposable plastic bottles. In what is the beginning of a year-long programme, A/D/O has launched the Water Futures Design Challenge. An incentivised contest, it “challenges designers and creators to conceptualise and imagine innovative new ways to solve this global crisis.”
Encouraging a wide range of approaches from campaign to products, systems or infrastructure, digital interfaces, packaging or even service design, the design challenge welcomes big ideas aimed at tackling global issues or more targeted ideas related to a particular region of the world. The competition is split into categories including Future Objects and Materials, Future Systems and Infrastructure and Future Information Design. The results of the open call will be exhibited in early 2019 and “potentially create a legacy project.” To enter the design challenge and find out more about the competition, visit here.
The competition is an integral part of a much larger programme – which will be commencing in March – titled the Water Futures Research Program. created in response to the global water crisis, aiming to inspire designers to take action in reimagining our destructive drinking water culture and design alternative realities. The programme is structured around three central themes, each focussing on a different issue surrounding water and will include a corresponding exhibition and events programme.
Over the coming year, a series of events will take place building up to the end of the design challenge. These events are curated according to three themes: Harvesting the Sky, Pollution and Purification and Drink Local. Harvesting the Sky will commence in April and run until June 2018. “The first theme looks at concepts and technologies for harvesting water in both dry and wet climates, explores issues such as efficiency and self-sufficiency and encourages thinking ‘off- grid’ to collect, store and distribute water,” A/D/O explains. Among others, participants in the installation, exhibition, events and workshops will include Arturo Vittorio, Warka Water, Arup, Ronnenberg Creative Technology and Dryver.
Beginning in July and ending in September 2018, Pollution and Purification will look at challenges as well as test technologies for cleaning water from products for emergency use to a process that recycles wastewater on site. Finally, running from October to December 2018, Drink Local will look at the plastic bottle since its inception in the 1970s and our resulting addiction. A/D/O will ask: “Now we know that single-use disposable plastic is catastrophic for the environment, how can designers help imagine other ways of carrying and accessing water in the city?” Both Pollution and Purification and Drink Local will be accompanied by an installation, exhibition and season of events and workshops.
To mark the end of this important year-long programme, the Water Futures Research paper will be compiled from its findings. As well as documenting the projects produced in the design challenge, it will include information from the year’s events, talks, workshops and collaborations. The paper will be available to download and distributed to colleges and school, with the aim to “serve as a catalyst for further engagement and innovation.”