Embassy of Water op DDW

A deluge of water this summer. The drought of the previous summers. These weather conditions make it clear that our relationship with water needs to change, says Anouk van der Poll, curator of the Embassy of Water. We mainly see it as something that is there for us; to drink, to wash in and to wash with. Water never receives anything in return. But it runs out. And sometimes there is too much. At Dutch Design Week, designers Axel Coumans and Fides Lapidaire, with their Mensput-Wensput, make you think about the question: “What kind of people would want water?”

Type Update
Published on 12 October 2021
Part of Embassy of Water
Embassy of Water op DDW
Part of Embassy of Water


“We are mainly focused on draining water as quickly as possible,” says van der Poll. “Whereas we should be retaining it more. Make more use of rainwater in your home, recycle water.”


Coumans and Lapidaire designed the Mensput-Wensput to invite people to rethink their relationship with water. The well questions what a water system designed from the point of view of inclusion of ourselves in nature looks like, the designers say. “From taking and taking, to giving and taking. From water consumption to water reciprocity.”

Van der Poll: “We have lost our relationship with water over the years.” That is why there is also a voice of water within the Embassy of Water, represented this year by Matthijs Schouten. “He can explain beautifully how our relationship with nature has changed through science and through the church. In the past, a relationship with water was much more normal.”

For example, Lapidaire was at a meeting where Li An Phoa, the author of Drinkable Rivers. “Fides bought her book and, during the presentation of the Wensput-Wensput concept, quoted a piece from it. She read it aloud.”

It inspired the designer, who herself lived for a while with an indigenous tribe in Peru. “The reciprocity described in this book is something Fides recognises,” says Van der Poll. “That reciprocity is not just doing something in return, but is also about being present for a moment and thinking about water.”

Really start to see water

“We really need to start looking at water in a different way if we want to achieve the water transition,” states Van der Poll. “People are often asked to use water sparingly or to save water in their homes. I don’t think that helps. It’s just always there, you don’t have to think about it. Everything you use in terms of water you flush. But that’s just not sustainable. We use too much water, we put too much strain on the groundwater system and we throw all sorts of rubbish in it. We don’t think about that. We have to put water first and start designing from the perspective of water.”

At DDW, the Mensput-Wensput can be visited in the Embassy of Water. The Voice of Water will give a lecture on Wednesday 19 October. During the entire DDW, the exhibition of the Embassy of Water can be seen in the Designhuis. For an overview of the programme, visit the Embassy page.

The Embassy of Water can be visited in the Designhuis in Eindhoven.


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