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Designers and Water
Alex Steffen, 16 Sep 04

IDFuel, the industrial design weblog, which has an interesting three-part series examining what designers can do about global water shortages. Some fo these links will be familiar to worldchanging readers, but I found interesting information here about how designers can provide better irrigation, alternative cooking methods, water purifiers, low-flow plumbing, and so on. Cool stuff.

Following one link out, I came upon this idea for a Water Wall, a modular rainwater storage system. Now, this certainly beats those ugly giant black plastic tanks, but couldn't we do better? Couldn't rainwater storage tanks be gracious elements of the landscape, like something designed by a water-fixated James Turell (whose skyspace is shown at right)?

I vaguely remember hearing that fountains have been used to filter and aerate water from cisterns -- anyone know more about this? Anyone got cool links for water art with an ecological role, or water systems with an artistic flair?

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hey from this article

there was this link
about 'contour bunding': "It consists in placing lines of stones along slopes and contours on the land to help rainfall soak in, and to stop topsoil washing away. And that is helping to transform thousands of hectares into productive fields - where nothing grew just a decade ago."

dunno if that counts at all? also there's the balinese water temple system :D


Posted by: glory on 16 Sep 04

Well, for rainwater storage (and trombe-wall usage of water as thermal mass for heating/cooling) the aesthetic problem is that I think you can never really take advantage of water's transparency, which is what makes it pretty and gives you all the fun lens effects. The reason you can't take advantage of its transparency is that if you store standing water in clear containers, light will get in and algae will grow. In an opaque-walled container, it can't. You could bleach or otherwise purify the water, though, I suppose. You'd just have to accept those maintenance costs.

Posted by: Jer on 16 Sep 04

You might want to check out http;//, the online museum of environmental art, for more info on water related art. Search for Ichi Ikeda, Besty Damon (, AMD&ART, Jackie Brookner, and of course the MOISTURE project:

Lots of other environmental art projects to look at around the world, too, events, wiki, etc.

Posted by: sam on 16 Sep 04

water health and water sculpture - link pulled from the Bioneers Conference program :

Jennifer Greene (, a founding member of the Water Research Institute of Blue Hill and Waterforms, Inc., is a consultant for wastewater, sludge, and surface water management projects and teaches water workshops internationally. Inspired by the legendary Goethean/Steinerian thinker Theodore Schwenk’s studies of water movement and purification, she established the only “drop-picture” laboratory in the U.S, and was the first to create beautiful sculptural “flow-forms” that purify water in the U.S in 1980. She was also a pioneer in constructed wetlands, working with Lawrence Banks and Scott Davis of Reed Systems, Inc.

Posted by: keta on 17 Sep 04



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