How can we reveal some of the complexity behind a household technology that we take for granted?
We use a sink without much consideration to the infrastructure behind it, or the extent to which we use it. With Mizu, we seek different ways to understand the way that technology works and communicate the role that it has in our lives through the materials it is made of and the interactions we design.
Mizu is a sink that utilizes a unique interaction paradigm. Gestures that are metaphorically related to the tasks the sink performs are used to unmask the technology’s machinery. Instead of the abstraction of turning a faucet as a means to procure hot water, rubbing a portion of the basin rapidly, similar to how one would warm his own hands, yields hot water. It is cooled by gently tapping the same side, as if one was fanning a hot dish to cool it down. The force of the stream is made stronger with a long stroke that travels the length of the basin, almost as if to beckon more water from the sink. These interactions are made possible by sensors and along the basin. These sensors, made from bronze, also respond to these gestures by becoming polished in ways that reveal traces of how the sink has been used. These traces ebb and flow with usage of the sink, as with the humidity from the sink's context.
Mizu serves as a gateway to some larger philosophical questions about how we relate to complexity. As technologies become more complex, their complexity is masked from people. This lends the technology being overused and our lack of awareness of the role that it has in our lives. This can be problematic with technologies that collect data.
Design United; Demonstrator’s Fund. 2015
Dutch Design Week 2015: Mind the Step. October 2015
International Technology Festival. Delft, Netherlands. June 2016
Visscher, Robert. “De Slimme wasbak kent zijn gebruiker.” Trouw: letter & geest. (Netherlands) 14 November 2015: 31
Project owner, manager, conceptualizer, fabrication assistance
Technical Lead: Martin Havranek
Concept and Design: Shen-Kao Cheng, Beatrice Chichiarelli, Maxe van Heeswijk, Lennaert Kempers, and Olivier van Nieuwmegen
Advisory: Prof. dr. Elisa Giaccardi, dr. Elvin Karana
Photos: Marcel Krijger (top two) Holly Robbins (bottom)