2012, Concept Design, Product Design, Installation Design

Photograph by Naohiro Tsukada

Designing the Future “Water Bottle”

Developed by takram, Shenu: Hydrolemic System consists of a series of products including artificial organs to conserve the water usage of human body. takram developed the products as part of group exhibition for dOCUMENTA(13) in 2012, themed under water bottle for the future world of annihilation. In preparation for such hypothetical, fin de siecle situation, the exhibition sought to explore the basic human values and ultimate aesthetics through creative proposals based on food, clothing and housing.

Artwork by Bryan Christie, with organ rendering by takram design engineering

Theme – Annihilated Earth in 100 Years

We were given a vision of catastrophic future. A world in which humanity experiences a cataclysmic sequence of events that will bring us to the brink of annihilation. Afflicted by manmade causes, the rising sea level, radioactive emissions and release of hazardous materials into the environment, art and culture cease to exist. This provides an opportunity to re-evaluate what constitutes art, design, culture and the quality of life itself when all prejudices and preconceptions vanish. With this premise, takram was tasked to design a water bottle, as water is an essencial item for survival.

Directed by Kotaro Yamaguchi, music by Taro Peter Little

Approach – Reframing the Problem

After a period of thorough research and analysis, takram reached an uncanny solution. The idea of creating a water bottle was rather unrealistic, given the limited supply of water in a devastated condition caused by water pollution and so forth. Instead, our conclusion was that it would make more sense, in fact, to regulate how much water the human body can retain and recycle in this dire environment. This revelation resulted in the Hydrolemic system, a set of artificial organs. This was our interpretation of the given theme; instead of creating a water bottle, we treated the human body as a water bottle thereby creating necessary artificial organs.

Outcome – Artificial Organs

Informed by both the sciences and projections of technological capabilities, the set of artificial organs work synchronously to regulate the water loss so that people with these organs can consume less water to survive compared to those without.

Diagram by takram design engineering
Photographs by Naohiro Tsukada

Rubedo Candies

The hard shelled, liquid centered candies. Five of these contain the new daily-required intake of nutrients and 32 mL of water.

Photograph by Naohiro Tsukada

Nasal Cavity Inserts

Designed to inhibit the loss of water through exhalation. The moist air from the lungs is condensed here and returned upon inhalation.
Arterial-Jugular Heat Exchangers: Works with the neck collar to inhibit perspiration. A pair of this device produces electricity from excess body temperature.

Photographs by Naohiro Tsukada

Heat Irradiant Neck Collar

Converts the electrical energy generated by the exchangers back into heat and radiate it through polymicroporous titanium grills.

Photograph by Naohiro Tsukada

Urine Concentrator

We lose the most amount of water through urination. The hydrolemic bladder is a microcosmic water filtration and uric concentration plant.
Renal Fecular Dehydrator: Located in rectal ampulla, the dehydrator works to elongate fecal duration in the large intestine and squeeze out any remaining water.

Photographs by Naohiro Tsukada

Image Gallery

Photographs by Naohiro Tsukada


Kinya Tagawa, Project Leader (from 10/2011)
Kotaro Watanabe, Story-Weaver (from 10/2011)
Kaz Yoneda, Lead Designer (from 10/2011)
Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho, Artists

Original concept development by Motohide Hatanaka, Ph.D., Project Leader (until 10/2011)

Photographs by Naohiro Tsukada
Figure Artwork by Bryan Christie (with the addition of organ rendering by takram design engineering)
© 2012 takram design engineering

Special Thanks

Form Corporation, Nichinan Group
for their superb prototype production capabilities and technical support
Masaru Nagamine of Nagamine Manufacturing Co., Ltd.
for information and materials on microporous titanium developed and manufactured by them