How important is water to us? On the one hand, we all know that if it magically disappeared, we would become extinct within days. On the other, we still need to raise awareness about not wasting it and appreciating its undeniable value.
The role of rainwater has been sidelined for decades. In the modern world dictated by technological development, the only place for water flying at us directly from the clouds was the sewer system. In the face of climate change, as well as rising energy costs, we increasingly see that the most important chemical for our species could be managed better, more economically and more cheaply. The art installation Rain-o-run tells us about this.
The installation teaches about water through play
© studio BOLOZ
designing for the planet
Rain-o-run was realized by studio BOLOZ in cooperation with the Foundation for Urban Action and Research Can. The Museum of the City of Gdynia became a partner in the project , and funding was provided by an open call for proposals for the implementation of good design practices in Gdynia in 2023.
The water collected by the tanks can be pumped by physical force. It begins to circulate along the blue tracks to end its journey in recycled containers. On and around the tanks we find information about why water is so important to us and our environment. Through interactions, we also learn about plants that thrive in a wetland environment. The installation helps to understand what role H2O plays in our environment.
The installation was created by studio BOLOZ in cooperation with the Can Foundation
© studio BOLOZ
Izabela Bołoz, designer of the installation, talks about the idea of creating Rain-o-run and the role of designers in creating a better future
Wiktor Bochenek: How did the idea for this installation come about?
Izabela Bołoz: We analyzed various information about Gdynia, and were inspired by a publication summarizing research from Climate Change Action (2020). According to the report, residents of Gdynia do not want to use running water to water plants (both household and garden). One of the city's water challenges, according to the report, is to answer the question, "How to interest people who have not yet thought about rainwater harvesting to make their first attempts?"
Users can educate themselves through information posted on the plant
© BOLOZ studio
The report also mentions that respondents' motivation to collect rainwater declined during periods without drought, and they didn't feel entirely competent to set up their own rain gardens, for example. One of the ideas of participants in the workshops conducted as part of the survey was the stated need to set up rainwater harvesting tanks in front of the block of flats.
What's more, it was issues related to "saving running water consumption, rainwater retention, rainwater harvesting in the city" that received the highest number of points given by respondents to key issues that should be prioritized in Gdynia.
We decided to take this topic and try to talk more about it. Water also seemed to us a very inspiring material to work with.
Users can educate themselves through the information posted on the installation
© studio BOLOZ
Victor: How can Rain-o-run educate?
Isabella: In addition to a space for interaction and dynamic play, the project has an educational and informational function. The bundled metal barrels serve as a space for an outdoor exhibition that addresses topics related to the importance of water in the city in an accessible way. The mini-exhibition gives key information about rainwater harvesting methods, as well as the relationship of water to each city's ecosystem. In addition, we created an educational program to accompany the installation - a series of plant and water walking workshops.
Victor: What is the role of designers in educating about the value of water and climate change ?
Isabella: Designers can do a lot in this area. They can design valuable, ecological solutions. They can also use design to inform about various topics, activate local communities, develop new strategies on how to talk about such issues. With our project, for example, we wanted to create a friendly, inspiring, activating space that is an invitation to talk about the use of water in the city - to draw attention to this topic.
Wiktor: Can the installation be recycled?
Izabela: Yes, as much as possible. First of all, it can be reused - it was made from sustainable materials, some of which are already recycled (like the metal barrels). Next season, we have a plan to donate the installation to another organization that can make good use of it. When its life cycle is over for good, it can be recycled - steel is perfect for that.
Victor: Thank you for the interview.
Desch-o-run can benefit everyone
© studio BOLOZ