Interdesign Japan 1989

Living with Water, Toyama (Japan)

1-16 October 1989

Organised by JIDA, JIDPO and the Toyama Prefecture, ‘Living with Water’ was inspired by the city of Toyoma’s ample supply of water resources in springs, rivers, waterfalls, and lakes. In fact, the people of Toyama had been so successful in sublimating its waters that Toyama was becoming known for its water culture. On the allegorical side, parallels were drawn between blood and water, such that water is to man’s civilisation what blood is to the human organism. This workshop focused on learning, enjoying and working with water.


Group 1A

Proposed the formation of a new nature park, for which they had already scouted a location. It was argued that this park would be an important resource to sustain and enhance life, invite curiosity, and would be an environmentally permanent addition to architecture, hence help to advance local and international identity. The ultimate goal was that a person should be able to leave the park with a greater respect for water.

Group 1B

This group devised educational kits for children to learn about the various aspects of water, designed in accordance with children’s age and psychological development.

Group 2A

Considering that not all children are raised to be aquatically inclined such that they are not familiar with water play, this group proposed a playground for children where they have the chance to play with water and enjoy it.

Group 2B

This group’s major focus was on the simple enjoyment of water. The proposed construction of a moat within the city as a small-scale project. They also proposed filling the streets with water to create a pond-like structure in using Tokyo as an example where sometimes the streets were closed-off and called “The People’s Paradise”.

Group 3A

Proposed creation of a “life straw” useful in survival situations, a volume meter, and an evaporation refrigerator, to name a few.

Group 3B

Addressed the problem of growing food and utilising land in desert areas, caring for the handicapped, and the maintenance of home and interior space. Their suggestions included providing areas for food production, ceasing to expand into desert areas, and instead, revitalise desert land, and various wind powered equipment designs for use in agriculture, among other ideas.