Cumulus International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media

29 April 2009

Aspen Design Challenge - Designing Water's Future - Finalists announced

Cumulus schools enthusiastically and with success took part in the challenge! Aspen Design Challenge, "Designing Water's Future."  The international contest challenged cross-disciplinary students to develop design solutions that encourage responsible water use, provide access to fresh water to those in need and increase awareness about the importance of water conservation.




After reviewing more than 225 projects, the jury announced its verdict. Seven projects were chosen as Finalists for successfully addressing the Challenge in terms of form, context, potential impact and feasibility. Ten projects awarded Honorable Mention for outstanding work.  


See all the finalists and Honorable Mentions.                                 




We are proud to inform about the success of our member schools. In general, 26 Cumulus schools from 15 countries participated by providing 72 individual and team projects. Five projects qualified to the Final Round.


Congratulations to the finalists from the Umea Institute of Desing, Sweden!


Emergency Water Purifier for Flood Conditions

Submitted by: Ozgur Ceren Bagatarthe at the Umea Institute of Design, Sweden

Project advisor: Peter Avondoglio

See the project


Every Drop Counts

Submitted by: Ulrik Svenningsen of the Umea Institute of Design, Sweden

Project advisor: Peter Avondoglio

See the project



Honorable Mentions

The following projects were selected as Honorable Mention for their outstanding design contributions:


GCH4 Waterless Toilet System

Virginia Gardiner

Royal College of Art, United Kingdom


Your Water

Cristina Bianchi and Pekka Raety
University of Art and Design, Helsinki, Finland


Sonic Water Meter

Alf Bae
Hongik University IDAS, South Korea


Next Steps

The seven Finalist teams will refine and develop their proposals to prepare for presentations in Copenhagen in August 2009:

- Finalists participate in a three-day workshop from July 23-25 in Aspen, Colorado, United States to develop business plans and refine project presentations

- Finalists invited to Copenhagen from August 25-28 for a collaborative workshop in connection with the INDEX: Award 2009; implementation plans developed with venture capitalists and foundations

- August 28, 2009: One Finalist team awarded INDEX: | AIGA Aspen Design Challenge Prize, a $10,000 grant to be put towards implementation of the winning project

- October 2009: All Finalists' projects published

- November-December 2009: Selection of projects presented to participants of the World Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen

General information

The Aspen Design Challenge is a call to students, worldwide, to use their creative talent and strategic design skills to address a crucial global problem. The Challenge is issued as part of the Aspen Design Summit, an international conference held in Aspen, Colorado. The Summit is a collaboration of AIGA and INDEX.



Designing Water's Future is aimed at generating exceptionally creative and original design thinking to raise awareness of the emerging global water crisis - and to do so in ways that inspire people to act. Reaching beyond all boundaries, the initiative seeks to reframe how we think about water, how we manage it, how we save it. It will address the design problem of the crisis, redefining the outdated, limiting cultural mythologies that have become obstacles to progress on one of the world's gravest threats.