Meet the Finalists of A/D/O's Water Futures Design Challenge

A/D/O’s Water Futures Design Challenge recently announced their 9 shortlisted finalists in all three categories: Future Systems & Infrastructure, Future Objects and Materials and Future Information and Communication. For the next phase in the competition, each finalist will be paired with a mentor that will help give suggestions and provide guidance throughout the research and development phases.

Water Bodies by OOZE., currently on display at A/D/O’s Water Futures Mid-Season Exhibition

All 9 semi-finalist projects will be shown during the Water Futures Closing Exhibit, which will begin on March 6, 2019. During the 2-3 week duration of the exhibit, the public will be able to vote for their favorite projects online. Below is a list of all nine finalists organized by category.

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Future Systems and Infrastructure 

“Alternative systems and infrastructure to those we already know: this could be an off-grid system, a new system for harvesting and delivering water, or a communication system. Entries can challenge existing infrastructure and propose new methods, including looking at policy design, and material or immaterial systems.”

Create a Floating University in New York

The Floating University is an offshore campus housed in a rainwater collection basin in Berlin. It is a school that brings together locals and students from various universities across Europe to conduct experimental research and reimagine how we can successfully live together in urban areas. Katherine Ball’s proposal is to build a second Floating University in New York that is a pavilion situated in a polluted water source. The educational space would double as a makerspace where designers can create Water Futures designs.

New Water Tower by Studio Swine, currently on display at A/D/O’s Water Futures Mid-Season Exhibition

Water Everywhere

Water Everywhere is an ongoing project by architect Jason Kim that can be deployed in any city adjacent to a body of water. Since large-scale solar water stills are relatively cheap to build, can be integrated into public spaces, and can double as sculptural installations, they are an accessible solution for developing cities compared to the current alternative of building large desalination plants. When placed in a group, the structures can create expansive farms that harvest water for irrigation. When they are standalone structures, they can simply provide access to clean, drinkable water. 

New Water Tower by Studio Swine, currently on display at A/D/O’s Water Futures Mid-Season Exhibition

Algal BioWall System

Algal BioWall System (ABS) by design research platform BiotA Labs acts as an energy efficient alternative to chemical wastewater treatment. ABS utilizes the ability of microalgae to convert complex wastes into less toxic, and sometimes even useful products. The system is designed to use local materials and fabrication techniques. 

Future Objects & Materials

“Future objects that facilitate sourcing and accessing drinking water in the urban environment. New materials and alternatives to single-use plastic.” 


CRÈME is exploring the centuries-old craft of turning gourds into vessels by using 3D printed molds to grow gourds into customizable, functional shapes—such as cups and flasks—that can be composted instead of thrown into landfills. The project is called HyO, which means gourd in English.

Filtering Glass Straw

Ulysse Marten’s Filtering Glass Straw uses a dried cilantro cartridge as a water filter in a glass straw, thus eliminating plastic straw waste while purifying water. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

New Public Hydrant by Tei Carpenter & Chris Woebken, currently on display at A/D/O’s Water Futures Mid-Season Exhibition


Clara Schweers, industrial design student at the School of Design Pforzheim, has created Waters, a sculptural installation that teaches visitors about water in the form of different objects. In a culture where we typically take access to water for granted, it’s refreshing (no pun intended) to see a water collection put on display for admiration.

Future Information & Communications

“Advertising campaigns, graphics, packaging and other ways to communicate alternative methods for sourcing and accessing water, promoting behavior change or raising awareness among the public, in neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and more.”

New Public Hydrant by Tei Carpenter & Chris Woebken, currently on display at A/D/O’s Water Futures Mid-Season Exhibition

RARE – Reduce Aqua, Recycle, Enjoy!

Graphic designer Guillaume Berthillier and 3D/motion designer Gaëtan Robert have created a series of fictional videos that present a new reality for water and the ways in which we recycle it. Their work is meant to be controversial (think creative ways to drink urine) in order to raise awareness and provoke behavioral changes.

Water Map

Architecture studio Only If’s Water Map aims to create a platform to support or protest water related policies and innovations. Rather than creating a design solution, Water Map proposes to create an information platform.

Design Nudges for Sustainable Consumption

Design Nudges for Sustainable Consumption aims to test the possibilities of engaging environmental ethics by altering the graphic design of PET water bottles. The design prototypes are actually “hacked” consumer goods that display unconventional product information or slogans that act as sustainable nudges for consumers.


To wet your appetite in the meantime, the Water Futures Mid-Season exhibition is currently on display at A/D/O until November 16. The exhibition features work from Studio Swine, OOZE, Tei Carpenter and Chris Woebken. The Mid-Season exhibition will also be on display during the 2018 Core77 Conference on October 25.

Source: core77

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