How to Build a Water Filter

a DIY tutorial from the Future

This project aims to reshape the notions of nationality and citizenship, through a fictional microcosm from a near, neo-capitalist future, in which all of the world’s water has been privatised.
























The project draws upon a mutated type of citizenship, where financial status determines personal monthly water allowance. Tap water is accessible via special national identity card extensions, that come in Basic, Black and Gold versions. My presented future is a saturated manifestation of corporate power and monetised nationality, where policymaking is officially handed over to capital interests.

A society, where independent water filtering is considered unsafe and therefore illegal, gives birth to a Water Hacker. Convinced that natural resources should remain a universal Human Right, he has built a DIY water filter and publishes instructional online tutorials as well as useful tips for avoiding state-corporate surveillance. Currently considered a tool for developing countries, a water filter becomes a symbol of resistance in a future, where limited access to a vital resource becomes part of our identity.

The filter has been built from mundane gardening materials, refurbished personal belongings, along with several second-hand flea market acquisitions. The filtering mechanism consists of four steps: A slow sand filter, approved by the World Health Organisation for developing countries, followed by a silk filter, common in India, where people use sarees to filter rivers’ water. A germicidal short-range UV lamp is one of the oldest and safest water sterilisation techniques, neutralising tinniest viruses and bacteria. Finally, raw salts are used to re-mineralise treated water, making it good for your health.



















One of my personal challenges for this project was to look for a refined design approach, somewhere at the intersection of speculative design, critical design and open design. I strongly believe that projecting tangible responses to saturated, yet plausible future worlds, can provide deeper understanding into current societal issues and tackle them more effectively.  For this reason, the research concludes with a Water Hacker’s Manifesto, a proclamation of author-signed, yet publicly accessible DIY templates. With this project, I hope to encourage citizens, fellow designers and artists, to engage into a critical debate regarding the current state of global technological and commercial development.

I have also created a water filtration box set, including project description as well as the water filter itself.













Core77 Design Awards 2016

Runner Up / Speculative Concepts Category

V&A Digital Design Weekend

Victoria & Albert Museum, London (UK), 2016


SICC, Genève (CH), 2016

HEAD Media Design Master’s Show

Pavillon Sicli, Genève (CH), 2015


Juliette Rambaud
Monika Steiger
Camille de Dieu
Manja Ciric


Dylan Perrenoud
Marinka Khémis
Claire Vivarès
Sergio Streun