Fractal_canopy_delta_s2

844 million people currently lack access to clean water.1

1. United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health. Source.

We are facing a global drinking water crisis. Despite being the foundation of life and a basic human right, water scarcity already affects more than 40% of the global population. Failing infrastructure and ineffective water management has led to millions of people living with severe water scarcity and devastating environmental degradation while cities continue to waste trillions of gallons of fresh water each year.

THE PROGRAM.

A/D/O believes that good design is integral to solving everyday problems on a local and global scale. 

The ability of design to offer insights into some of the key issues we face pushes designers to think laterally, view challenges as opportunities, and put forward alternative perspectives. This makes designers well positioned to conceive the sort of imaginative solutions that actually inspire behavioral change.

Water Futures is a yearlong exploration into the ongoing relationship between drinking water and city life, curated by design critic, Jane Withers. The dry city is one of the most dire threats of the 21st century, and many of the systems we currently rely on for clean water are no longer sustainable. Water Futures aims to approach this crisis by asking designers to identify new ways of delivering and providing access to clean drinking water in cities. 

Through a series of over 35 education programs and events, Water Futures offered the public an opportunity to engage in an imaginative and cross-disciplinary approach to promoting and improving drinking water awareness worldwide. 

Our ultimate goal is to assist in meeting UN Sustainable Goal 6: “Water for all by 2030.” 

THE CHALLENGE.

A behavioral shift is imperative to solving the water crisis.

We created a design challenge that invited multi-disciplinary teams from around the world to ideate new solutions for how water is accessed, delivered, and thought about in cities. Teams were able to submit proposals in three categories: Future Objects & Materials, Future Systems & Infrastructure, and Future Information & Communication.

An expert jury selected nine semi-finalists out of 2000 submissions from over 35 countries. Teams were paired with expert mentors who helped them further develop their proposals, and a winner was selected from each category. A final exhibition of all nine projects will be on view at A/D/O from April 5th - April 25th. 

AUDIENCE AWARD. VOTE NOW.

In order to create sustainable and lasting change, it is essential that designs inspire the public to embrace solutions and integrate them into their everyday lives. In addition to three challenge winners chosen by our expert jurors, we are inviting the public to cast their vote for their favorite proposal. We want to hear from you.

THE DESIGN CHALLENGE

FILTERING GLASS STRAW. 

ULYSSE MARTEL.

Filtering Glass Straw is an open source project that offers a simple, low-cost alternative to current plastic emergency-use water filters. Two sintered glass tubes encase a natural cartridge composed of dried cilantro, activated charcoal powder, and dried moringa seed powder, all of which have been recognized for their purifying properties.

HY-O CUP. 

CRÈME.

Hy-O Cup is a chemical free, fully compostable alternative to single use plastic cups. Gourds have historically been used around the world as functional and decorative vessels. By utilizing 3D printed molds to grow gourds into functional shapes, CRÈME has created a series of cups and carafes that have the potential to be mass produced while maintaining their sustainability.

INDUS. 

BIO-ID.

Small scale artisanal industries in India face a challenge: they must manage wastewater treatment with limited resources. Indus is a modular wall system of leaf-like clay tiles that purify water via bioremediation. Vein-like channels in the tiles hold a seaweed-based hydrogel containing micro-algae that can isolate heavy metals from wastewater and degrade compounds from textile dyes. Each tile can be easily installed in rural artisan villages, and is composed of locally sourced materials.

OPACIFY. 

POST CARBON LAB.

Can hacking the packaging design of PET bottled water change the way we consume? PCL proposes including distressing imagery and statistics on the labels of plastic water bottles that present either a positive encouragement towards sustainability, negative and inconvenient truths about plastic bottles, or neutral and distracting information. A final option uses black thermochromatic ink to obscure product information until the bottle is held in a consumer’s hand.

RARE. 

G2G™.

RARE uses design fiction to observe what the future of society could be in urban areas confronted with water scarcity and high-level pollution. A series of fictional video reports and interviews present a new reality in which a filtration cartridge that purifies and recycles wastewater is installed in individual homes, creating a closed loop system of water use. A 360° communications campaign provokes debate, engaging the public and allowing behavior change to make wastewater recycling viable. ​

WATERS

CLARA SCHWEERS.

Waters is a series of glass objects that reframes our relationship with water, viewing water as a process rather than a product. Traces of water are left behind as it evaporates through the glass pieces, showing us that water is an event itself: alive, ever-changing and having its own needs. In a time when water is taken for granted as a utility, Waters treats water with a poetry and reverence that has been largely lost.

WATER EVERYWHERE

ASSEMBLE MASS.

Water Everywhere proposes using large-scale versions of traditional solar stills to more efficiently desalinate seawater. These enlarged stills are equipped with a new plasmonic absorber technology made from aluminum–an abundant and affordable metal–to optimize the harvest and conversion of solar energy to heat. The scalable system can be installed as public infrastructure along waterfronts and beachfronts, evaporating seawater during warm seasons and harvesting rainwater during rainy seasons.

WATER MAP

ONLY IF— 

Water Map is an educational campaign about water in the urban environment. The project aims to build a public sense of understanding, ownership and responsibility over our water system. The Water Map represents multiple elements and scales of the water infrastructure that New Yorkers engage with and depend on every day. By revealing the physical presence of water, the map raises awareness about water as a shared asset and catalyst for community empowerment.

THE WATER RUNS THROUGH US

KATHERINE BALL.

The Water Runs Through Us envisions a system that transports and transforms water from the East River into an immersive bathing ritual. A transparent aqueduct carries water above ground from Bushwick Inlet to A/D/O, where the water moves through a series of tanks containing beneficial bacteria, membrane filters, and biological filters that purify the water. The water eventually cascades into a bathtub filled with halophytic plants where visitors can grab a bathrobe and go for a swim.

ENTRY #1

FILTERING GLASS STRAW. 

ULYSSE MARTEL.

ENTRY #2

HY-O CUP. 

CRÈME.

ENTRY #3

INDUS. 

BIO-ID.

ENTRY #4

OPACIFY. 

POST CARBON LAB.

ENTRY #5

RARE. 

G2G™.

ENTRY #6

WATERS

CLARA SCHWEERS.

ENTRY #7

WATER EVERYWHERE

ASSEMBLE MASS.

ENTRY #8

WATER MAP

ONLY IF— 

ENTRY #9

THE WATER RUNS THROUGH US

KATHERINE BALL.

MENTORS

ANTHONY ACCIAVATTI  

AUTHOR, GANGES WATER MACHINE:  DESIGNING NEW INDIA’S ANCIENT RIVER.


DANIEL MICHALIK 

FOUNDER, DMFD.  DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT DESIGN,  PARSONS SCHOOL OF DESIGN.


EMMA RILEY 

DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS,  LONELY WHALE.


RACHEL SARNOFF 

FOUNDER/CEO, LINCOLN SARNOFF CONSULTING.  PREVIOUS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, 5 GYRES INSTITUTE.

JURORS

DEBERA JOHNSON 

FOUNDER, PRATT CENTER FOR  SUSTAINABLE DESIGN STRATEGIES.


JOSHUA KOGAN 

ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER, EPA.


DR. UPMANU LALL 

DIRECTOR, COLUMBIA WATER CENTER.


VINCENT LEE 

ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL &  TECHNICAL DIRECTOR OF WATER, ARUP.


NATE PINSLEY 

GLOBAL MANAGING DIRECTOR, A/D/O.


FIONA RABY 

PROFESSOR, DESIGN AND SOCIAL INQUIRY -  NEW SCHOOL. PARTNER, DUNNE & RABY.


JANE WITHERS 

DIRECTOR, JANE WITHERS STUDIOS.  DESIGN CURATOR, WATER FUTURES.

“The way that humanity currently uses water is unsustainable. Ominously, it is the world’s largest cities...that are the most water stressed. Solutions need to be oriented around the idea of water as a human right and a common good rather than a commodity accessible only to the rich.”

ashley dawson

the washington post

ABOUT CURATOR JANE WITHERS.

Jane Withers is a leading design consultant, curator, and writer. Her London-based studio works with cultural and commercial clients to shape design-led strategies, programs and exhibitions that bring innovative design thinking to address social, cultural and commercial challenges. Jane has created critically acclaimed exhibitions and events at the V&A Museum and Royal Academy of Arts among many others.