The value of new design is especially apparent in a place like the bathroom. While many people may be used to prevailing norms when it comes to plumbing fixtures, the sheer amount of time people spend in bathrooms means new designs for such products can realize incredible gains in efficiency, sustainability and accessibility. That’s why Roca and the Barcelona Design Center created jumpthegap®, an international design contest for young professionals and students to rethink what a bathroom could be through the lens of conceptual architectural products. The competition is open for registration until March 27th, while the submission deadline is on April 25th.
jumpthegap® awards two prizes of €10,000 each to winners in professional and student categories, while an additional €6,000 prize from the We Are Water Foundation is awarded to a project that represents advancement in equitable and sustainable uses of water. All three winners will receive travel and accommodation expenses to an awards ceremony at the Barcelona Design Center on October 10th this year, where they will present their winning designs and participate in focused talks with industry experts.
Judged by industry experts from around the world, the jury evaluating projects for this edition of jumpthegap® includes:
- Ruy Ohtake, Architect, Brasil
- Emilio Cabrero, General Director, Design Week Mexico, Mexico
- Josep Congost, Roca Design and Innovation Director, Spain
- Dorota Koziara, Designer, Poland
- Carlo Ratti, Director MIT Senseable City Lab Founding & Partner Carlo Ratti Associati, Italy
- Isabel Roig, Executive Director, BCD Barcelona Design Center, Spain
- Murat Tabanlıoğlu, Architect, Founder of Tabanlioğlu Architects, Turkey
- Boris Voskoboynikov, Architect, leader of VOX ARCHITECTS, Russia
The We Are Water Foundation prize jury is as follows:
- Xavier Torras, Director of the We Are Water Foundation, Spain
- Deborah Seward, Director of the United Nations Information Center, Belgium
- Low Cheaw Hwei, Head of Design for Philips in Asia and Head of Government and Public Affairs for Philips in Singapore, Singapore
The most recent winner in the professional category was “Panacea,” a flexible bathtub that can be molded to a user’s specifications. Designed to solve multiple problems simultaneously, “Panacea” addresses three important issues: economy of space, an unnecessary overuse of water in standard-size tubs and the accidental drowning of unattended children in bathtubs, which constitute a significant percentage drowning deaths in the home.
Comprised of a flexible shell material, “Panacea” is anchored by elastic bands at its top and bottom which allow the shell to be molded to any desired shape or size. A pneumatic motor on the end of the structure is engaged to keep the chosen shape molded in place while a faucet above the motor fills the tub with water. After taking a bath, the water is discarded and the pneumatic motor is turned off, allowing the shell of the tub to collapse into a thin, suitcase-like configuration, saving space when it’s not in use.
The innovative aspect of “Panacea” lies in its ability to take a shape and size set by its user. Since the shape and size of people’s bodies varies greatly, setting a custom shape for one’s bathtub means using only the amount of water their body needs and not a drop more, which is essentially impossible using today’s standard, one-size-fits-all bathtubs. It can also be adjusted to form a small, shallow pool for infants, reducing the risk of drowning.
This multi-faceted design represents both the innovative spirit and the progressive atmosphere of the design competition.
Further indicative of the competition’s global reach is the impressive variety of entries received in the past. Since its inception as a biennial design competition in 2004, “Jump the Gap” has judged over 2,900 project submissions from more than 20,000 participants representing 134 different countries. Entries also frequently have a lifespan after prizes are awarded, as some participants have gone on to collaborate with Roca as thought leaders, delivering lectures on water-related issues in their area of practice.
Entering jumpthegap® is easy. Participants can enter the design competition individually or in teams of two, either as students or young professionals. The entry process is completely digital and limited to two A3-sized PDF pages. The first page should introduce the project, and — in less than 600 words that accompany the design’s graphics — explain WHAT the project is, WHO it’s designed for, HOW the product works and WHY it will be relevant in the future. The second page is reserved for additional, supporting graphics and text that explain details of the project not covered on the first page.
As the use of water becomes increasingly important on a global level, architects and manufacturers are constantly in search of bold new designs for the bathroom. Whether you’re a student eager to showcase your ideas or a young professional looking to experiment, jumpthegap® wants to see your design for the bathroom of the future.
The submission deadline for jumpthegap® is April 25th, 2019, although participants must register for the competition by March 27th. Visit the competition’s website to register, view past winners and read the competition rules.