Decoding Design

Rethinking the water bottle (for a world where water is scarce)

Rethinking the water bottle (for a world where water is scarce)

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Tasked with designing a water bottle for 100 years from now, Japanese design firm Takram forgot the actual bottle and instead created artificial organs to help the body use water more efficiently.

As part of the art fair dOCUMENTA(13) at the Kunsthalle Fridericanum in Kassel, Germany, designers at Japanese firm Takram were tasked with the challenge of designing a water bottle for the degenerated world, one hundred years from now.

This seemingly odd concept forced the designers to really think outside the box about how to make a water bottle in a world where water is becoming more and more scarce. So, when conceptualizing how to go about making a water bottle, the designers came to the conclusion that it would simply make more sense to regulate the water we can retain and recycle.

Bypassing the conventional bottle concept completely, Takram came up with different "artificial organs" to help the body use water more efficiently.

Dubbed the Shenu: Hydrolemic System, the design involves nasal cavity inserts that help retain moisture otherwise lost through normal breathing and heat exchangers and a radiating collar to lower body temperature and reduce sweating.

Their idea also features a urine condensers and a fecal dehydration system to reclaim water from waste, and a concept called "Rubedo Candies," or liquid filled candies containing daily nutrient does and 23 mL of water.

In their description of the project, the designers explained:

We were given a vision of cathartic future. A world in which humanity experiences a cataclysmic sequence of events that will bring us to the brink of annihilation. Afflicted by manmade causes, the rising sea level, radioactive emissions and release of hazardous materials into the environment, art and culture cease to exist. This provides an opportunity, not lament, to re-evaluate what constitutes art, design, culture and the quality of life itself when all prejudices and preconceptions vanish.

While the designs are obviously not meant to be produced (at least any time soon), it is an interesting concept to think about-- how do you design for the future, modifying current objects to fit different needs?

The exhibit runs from June 16 until September 16, 2012.

[Dezeen]

Artwork by Bryan Christie, with organ rendering by takram design engineering, and photographs by Naohiro Tsukada

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Beth Carter

Contributing Editor

Beth Carter is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has worked for Catalyst magazine, the New York Times Syndicate, BBC Travel and Wired. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure