Rainwater shower wins award for Bachelor of Design Innovation graduate Charlotte Teneza  

Bachelor of Design Innovation graduate Charlotte Teneza has been announced as the runner-up in the Kohler 2022 Future Designer of the Year competition for her design of an outdoor shower that uses rainwater.

Charlotte Teneza

Charlotte’s award-winning design is titled ‘Ulan’, which translates to ‘rain’ in Tagalog — her native language spoken in the Philippines. Its purpose is to address a gap in the market for domestic products that collect and conserve rainwater. The design consists of a projecting roof that captures water and stores it in a cylindrical structure. A mechanical pump draws water through a rainfall shower head. The structure would be 3D printed, to centralise the production and reduce carbon footprint of sourcing parts from a global supply line. Dark stained wood panels are to enclose the shower and further enhance its climate-friendly credentials.

“Through my market research, I found that there were only a few readily available products that use rainwater harvesting systems in their plumbing. By proposing the design, I thought that it would assist Kohler to achieve their sustainability goals and could be a viable example in the market,” Charlotte says.

The Kohler 2022 Future Designer of the Year competition is open to young design, product, spatial and architect students from across New Zealand. Kohler is one of the world’s leading bathroom manufacturing companies, and Kohler’s Director of Design Europe/India Bruno Chenesseau travelled to New Zealand to judge the competition.

Managing Director of Kohler New Zealand and Australia, Geoff Cope, says Charlotte was selected as the runner up because her smart, simple, but elegant solution aligned so well with Kohler’s sustainability targets and global water saving focus.

“But further than that, her design really struck a chord with us, given its Kiwiana integration of themes connected to our great outdoors”, Geoff says.

“We look forward to welcoming Charlotte to the world of Kohler when she visits one of our international destinations as part of her award.”

The challenge of designing a sustainable yet luxurious product attracted Charlotte to the competition. “Keeping sustainability and Kohler’s high-quality design standards in mind helped me to think outside of the box and push the boundaries of the brief.”

“I received feedback from the staff at the Wellington Faculty of Architecture and Design Innovation. Professor Simon Fraser suggested taking the shower outdoors and designing a mechanical pump, which took away the electrical connection, making the design ‘low-tech’. My tutor Andrew Roberts gave me a lot of guidance with precedents, modelling the shower on the computer programmes Rhino and Grasshopper.

“Andrew Roberts showed me Mumbai-based designer Nuru Karim’s Rain Water Catcher, which started the design process of the Ulan outdoor shower. I took inspiration from nature for aesthetics and form and looked at plants from the first Avatar film.”

As an award for her design, Kohler is sponsoring Charlotte to travel to one of its international design hubs. “I am juggling between Kohler’s design hubs in New York and Paris. I haven’t been to either country and I would like to visit both places.”

Charlotte provides advice for those students who may enter the Kohler 2023 Future Designer of the Year. “I recommend getting as much feedback as you can. It’s great to have different inputs on your project from different people, it helped me a lot when I felt stuck.”