A talented "quartet" of Master of European Design students (Sebastian Jansson, Fernanda Pizá, Victor Stelmasuk, Natalie Weinmann) joined forces to create a "self-heating shower" able to function independently without having to rely on an external energy source. The result of their international collaboration? Piezo, a conceptual piece based on an enchantingly poetic and deceptively simple idea. Focusing on the project's intrinsic morphology, this team of aspiring designers set out to use the flow of incoming water as their only source of energy. Maximizing the surface via a delicate fretwork of pipes intended to convey the water and heat it in the process, they produced a highly original design with a strong metaphorical twist. They implemented the concept thanks to cutting edge nanotechnology (currently being developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology): A "circuit" of Piezoelectric nano-wires – "which have the property of generating electric potential under stress" – was installed in the shower's tubing, allowing electricity to be generated by the friction that occurs as the water circulates. In order to increment the touching area between the tubes and the water, the designers divided them into prolific pathways forming an organic "vein-like" network akin to the human body's blood distribution system, both in terms of its macro structure and micro ramifications. The shower is controlled through a waterproof touch-screen that can be integrated in bathroom tiling. Eco-aware users of this digital interface can not only regulate the water’s temperature and pressure, but also monitor their water consumption keeping track of their "elapsed shower-time". A fresh perspective on shower design, resulting in a functional energy-saver with a symbolic dimension.
Text: Georgina Oliver
Photography: Alfredo Salazar
SaloneSatellite Awards, second prize, Salone Internazionale del Mobile, 2010