A Speculative Design Project

by Valentino Constantinou, Amanda Yamasaki
January 1, 2017


Water is our planet's most vital resource, responsible for almost all plant and animal life on Earth. Even so, the World Health Organization states that 650 million people live without access to safe water. Close to 100,000 in Flint, Michigan are just one small subset of that number. While arguably our most important resource, non-threatening water quality is often an element of western society that is taken for granted. With an estimated 10% of the world's fresh water supply, the Great Lakes are an important resource to those in the US and Canada, especially in cities on the lake shore such as Chicago.

Using data available from the Chicago Open Data Portal, we extrapolated ecoli levels on Chicago's beaches 100 years into the future with time series methodologies. While the confidence of our extrapolation decreases with each additional year into the future, the result was clear. Ecoli levels on Chicago's beaches are increasing. We speculate that other indicators of water quality such as lead, chlorine, and nitrate levels could all show similar increases without appropriate action. 72.100 is a speculation on the reality we may find ourselves in, should we ignore the important and vital issue of water quality.


72.100 is a filtered water bottle was designed with two goals: usability and stimulation of an emotional response from the viewer. 72 refers to the amount of time needed to filter water naturally with current plant technology; 100 refers to our extrapolation of water contamination levels one-hundred years in the future.
Our first goal was straightforward. We set out to design a product that would be essential in a future with poor water quality and an inability to access clean drinking water from taps connected to the water grid. 72.100 uses aquatic plants that filter water, such as duck-weed, in two stages to deliver fresh, reliable drinking water. Users simply fill up the initial chamber with unfiltered water from nearby bodies of water, allow the water to filter to the main chamber, and take a sip.
Our second goal was to illicit an emotional response from our gallery audience. A major element of speculative design is to invoke the audience's thoughts on the importance of a particular topic. While we believe we were successful in creating a speculative product, we feel that more could have been done to invoke an emotional response from the viewer though more in-depth storytelling, visual cues, and enhanced product design.



Our product was created using a 3D manufacturing process, with resin as our material. The entire print was split into three separate components for final assembly in order to accelerate the manufacturing process and minimize the impact of potential manufacturing errors. Once each component was successfully printed, the product was assembled using resin glue and polished for several hours to attain a more desirable finish. We then finished off 72.100 with decorative components and placed it on display.
We also explored casting the product with resin from a mold. This method would have resulted in a far clearer finish over 3D printed resin, but is also more difficult to complete successfully. We attempted a resin cast, but were not pleased with the final result, necessitating the need to revert to our 3D printed product.


72.100 was exhibited at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) on December 2nd, 2017 as part of the "Data As Art" course, a collaborative class between SAIC and Northwestern University. The exhibit was then moved to Northwestern University's Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center’s atrium from February 2nd through February 17th.

"Data As Art" Course Info