Shenu Tokyo Redux

Future concept of water bottle exhibited at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT

Takram took part in the exhibition THE FAB MIND presented at the 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT in Roppongi, Tokyo, from October 24, 2014 to February 1, 2015. The theme of this exhibition was to interpret social problems and present solutions from a design context. Twenty-four creators were invited from over ten different countries. Each artist presented a new value, tackling social problems from critical, comprehensive, and other unique perspectives. Takram exhibited the artwork Shenu: Hydrolemic System and added new research, video, music, and sculptural pieces.

Title: THE FAB MIND - Hints of the Future in a Shifting World

Dates: October 24, 2014 (Fri) - February 1, 2015 (Sun)

Location: 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT

Main Visual

CONCEPT: A water bottle design for a dilapidated earth environment a hundred years in the future

Shenu: Hydrolemic System is a prototype of artificial organs designed to conserve the amount of water necessary to sustain human life. The work was first presented at the international contemporary art exhibition dOCUMENTA(13) in 2012. The theme of the work that was initially given in 2012 was a water bottle for humans to use in a hypothetical catastrophic future. In this calamitous earth environment, art, culture, and urban infrastructure are things of the past. By questioning the concept of a water bottle and of water itself, the work reconsiders the elements that are truly indispensable for human survival. This time, the project expresses the relationships between the body, water, and artificial organs enhanced by new research, video, music, and sculptural pieces.

DETAIL: Video and sculptural pieces

The new video made for this exhibition expresses the future world with symbolic imagery. It is composed using minimal and fantastical visuals and sounds and conveys the historical backdrop of the dilapidated earth environment and the mechanisms of the six artificial organs. Viewers are taken into a world different from the one today.

Moreover, the sculpture pieces are designed to visualize the relationship between the human body and water. Water is poured into a body-shaped curve to show that 66% of the human body is made of water. It also shows the amount of water controlled by each artificial organ, presenting how water is being stored, supplied, and recycled through a visual expression.




The work was conceived through many dirty prototypes and repeated experiments to assess functionality and scale. At the same time, Takram used 3D CAD to test its coherency with internal structures and the human body.


This work came out of research on desert animal respiration and thermoregulation in mammals. The internal circulation caused by these artificial organs was named water-alchemy (hydrolemy). Based on this motif, water-supplement candies were designed as philosophers stones, and the Ouroboros motif was used for the logo.

Problem Reframing:

During the process, the theme water bottle of the future was reformulated into artificial organs for circulating water in (the) human body. By stepping away from the limitations of the water bottle, the problem was further abstracted by reconsidering the relationship between the human body and water. Takrams unique methodology of Problem Reframing propelled the conception of an idea on a completely new ground.

Project Information

Project Team

  • Creative Direction: Kinya TagawaKotaro Watanabe
  • Project Lead: Kaz Yoneda (ex-Takram)
  • Movie Direction: Kotaro Yamaguchi
  • Design Engineer: Seitaro Taniguchi
  • Support: Yuko Ishizu (ex-Takram)Yuki Shinohara (ex-Takram)
  • Creative Direction & Project Lead (until 2011): Motohide Hatanaka (ex-Takram)
  • Sound & Music: Taro Peter Little
  • A collaborative platform: Moon Kyungwon and Leon Joonho, Artists from South Korea
  • Exhibition: THE FAB MIND 2014-2015 at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, Tokyo
Kotaro Watanabe
Context Designer, Project Director
Seitaro Taniguchi
Design Engineer, Project Director
Kotaro Yamaguchi
Designer, Project Director
Kinya Tagawa
Design Engineer, Project Director

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