In the previous post I told you about Shapeways Community Member Bas van der Veer and his Design Academy Graduation Galleries design “A Drop of Water.” The Design Academy is among the best design schools in the world. Their yearly Graduation Galleries is the showcase for the graduating class’ graduation projects. And each year the Rene Smeets Prize is given for the most promissing designer with the best graduation project. And Bas van der Veer, has won this prize this year! This is a very very big deal and we are immensely proud of Bas! Congratulations Bas!

So Bas..tell us how you came up with A drop of water?

I think it is very important to be very careful with our freshwater reserves. Therefore I wanted to create a product that makes it really easy to save tap water. Since we use a lot of our freshwater for irrigation, my thesis was to make a product that makes it as easy as possible to choose rainwater instead of tap water to water the plants.

Tell us about the work…
‘A Drop of Water’ is a rain barrel with an integrated watering can that is located right underneath the drainage tube. This means that the can is filled automatically when it rains, and that the surplus will fill the rest of the rain barrel so that it is possible to refill the watering can after using it.

How long did it take to make it?

After several months of research, conceptualizing and fine tuning, I created a 3d model of my final product. This model was then translated into a mdf-mold by Kleizen, a company in Hengelo. After that, I created the actual rain barrel by using different techniques in about two weeks. Parts of the barrel’s tap and the spout of the watering can were 3-d printed by Shapeways, the barrel was made from epoxy resin and glassfibre and the watering can was made using thermoforming.

It looks very organic?
Yes, to me it was very important that the shape of the product had a clear connection with the subject: water. Therefore the rain barrel is shaped like a drop of water as a symbol for the thing it harvests.

Is it meant to be an environmental piece or just a pretty thing?
With this graduation project, I wanted to create a very elegant and smart product with the emphasis on user-friendliness. But since eco-awareness is also close to my heart, I think ‘A Drop of Water’ is a combination of both worlds. Whether or not people are willing to save on tap water, electricity, gas and so on, is directly connected to the solutions designers come up with to help them doing that. So in order to make a good product to ‘save the world’ , it is crucial to make the product as attractive as possible, otherwise no one will bother.

It looks a bit like a breast or pregnant woman?

I hear that a lot, some people also tell me that the barrel resembles a fat man’s belly! I think it is good that people have a lot of associations with my product, that way they can relate to it, so I’m not bothered at all by that.

What modeling software did you use to make it?
I always create my digital models in Rhino3D. When I was around 16 years old, I already started making very basic models in a demo version of Rhino, and this software is the only CAD-software I know how to use.

What did you make using Shapeways?
The spout of the watering can was created by Shapeways. It has a very subtle pattern of holes in it, so rapid prototyping was much easier (and cheaper) than any other production technique in this case. Also, parts of the tap at the bottom of the barrel were made by Shapeways in order to have pieces with the exact right dimensions.

What are you going to do after graduation?
At this moment, I am trying to find a way to put ‘A Drop of Water’ into production and to actually sell the product. Apart from that I want to see what other things cross my path this Dutch Design Week and ultimately to find a really nice job as a product designer.

Tell us a little about your other work?
I think that both my graduation projects (A drop of Water / Bioplastic Planters) show that I have a passion for ecodesign, but also for making elegant products that people really enjoy using. I always strive for products with relevance and with a clear concept that everyone can relate to, and I think you can see that in all of my products. More information about ‘A Drop of Water’ and about my other work is also on my website www.basvanderveer.