The challenge was organised by Julia Cassim (Royal College of Art Helen Hamlyn Centre, London) Nikkei Design and Tokyo University and held there as part of the Design Innovation Forum 2008.
Three British design professionals (all former finalists in the DBA Design Inclusive Challenge) were invited to each lead a multi-disciplinary team of Japanese designers from leading companies Cambridge University engineering postgraduates and their counterparts from Tokyo University.
The theme of this year’s event was natural disasters in dense urban environments and the teams were asked for innovative and inclusive design responses to the theme. A disabled design partner joined each team to provide a contrasting viewpoint while disaster survivors and relief organisations were invited to give their input and critique the design solutions as they developed.
Each team had just 48 hours to research, identify and incubate their ideas before making a presentation to a capacity audience of design and disaster professionals and company representatives.
The teams each addressed different aspects of urban disaster, ranging from a LED crowd management system, a highly visible logo to encourage forward thinking and Rodd’s submission of a water bottle concept that addresses two survival basics - hydration and sanitation. Elixir: Is a Universal redesign of a water bottle that could be deployed to cities in the first 72 hours of a disaster. Beyond its primary function the bottle is shaped to provide a makeshift disposable toilet for both men and women.
The supply of clean water and management of human waste were cited as key objectives by the disaster experts. Elixir was voted overall winner by the audience and was selected for the Design prize by Professor Seiichi Onobo of the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music. UK Team leaders Hazel MacMillan of Wolff Olins and Jim Dawton took Best Technology and Best theme prize respectively.