Safe Agua Gets Top Spark Award

Guest blog by Will Tang, alumnus, Product Design Department, KC Cho, Product Design and Stephanie Stalker, Environmental Design, November 2010 Go Back

Last October, our class of 12 students was still busily refining concepts, building mockups, and preparing for midterm presentations for Safe Agua, a sponsored project focused on addressing water issues in the campamentos, or slums, of Santiago, Chile. Since then, six projects were developed, including a shower solution, dishwashing station, and community laundromat being field-tested by Un Techo para Chile.

A year later, on October 17th, KC Cho made the long drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco to submit Safe Agua for the 2010 Spark Awards, an International Design Competition. With guidance from Mariana Amatullo, Karen Hofmann, and David Mocarski, Liliana and KC worked diligently to complete the application process. Along with the oversized poster, the Safe Agua documentary by Elizabeth Bayne, Harry Gota by the Ming Tai’s motion team and the Safe Agua book by Lisa Wagner’s graphic team were delivered the next morning to the site of the Spark Awards at the Autodesk office on One Market Street.

Shortly after KC made the door to door delivery, he sent Liliana a jubilant text message from the car to notify her of the drop off. Just as he was ready leave, Liliana replied inquiring about the submission. “At this moment, my heart dropped to the floor,” recalls KC, “as I completely forgot to attach the all-important registration barcode on the poster. I quickly ran back to the building, up to the 5th floor with double-sided tape and avoided an epic failure.”

Fortunately, the double-sided tape and all the hard work put in over the past year paid off the following week when we received a brief email notifying us that we were “top winners.” Excited, yet uncertain about what this meant exactly, KC and Will made a last-minute trip to San Francisco and met up with Stephanie to attend the premiere of the newest Spark Awards Exhibition at the Autodesk Gallery and the first public announcement of the Spark 2010 winners.

And we won! Our Safe Agua project was among the designs given the Spark! Award, the highest honor in the competition. Looking around the gallery, we appreciated the trend that more recognition is being given to designs that look beyond form and function and address sustainability and social good.

We are grateful for the opportunity that Designmatters provided for us to work with an amazing non profit organization in Un Techo para Chile to serve the inspiring families of Campamento San Jose. It’s exciting to apply the skills we’ve learned at Art Center to very real and significant social issues around the world. We look forward to diving into and helping shape the still-developing realm of social design. After all, the best way to predict the future is to design it.

KC Cho, Product Design
Stephanie Stalker, Environmental Design
William Tang, Product Design

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