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Self Started Project; 2016-2018

Sift Sustainable Filtration Systems

Water filters are donated every day to developing areas around the world, but are limited to easily accessible and 'popularized' locations. How could we give remote emerging communities the ability to create their own solutions to the water crisis, and incorporate it into daily life?

Locally built, sustainable water filtration solutions.

Sift is a product-system that teaches emerging local communities how to produce their own water filters locally using natural materials, and incorporate them into their everyday lives.

Water filters can be easily created using a specialized combination of sawdust, clay, and silica. After educating a community on the mixture ratio, local artisans can experiment with new forms, create solutions that address local issues, and sell them in their existing economies.  

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The filters are made by slip casting a mixture of sawdust and clay into a vessel. When kiln firing, the sawdust shrinks and chars, creating a semi-permeable charcoal filter.
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The form that is used to educate these communities is intended to look and function like a traditional kettle present in homes across the world. Pour dirty water in, wait, and pour clean water out.
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+ See the process
The filters are made by slip casting a mixture of sawdust and clay into a vessel. When kiln firing, the sawdust shrinks and chars, creating a semi-permeable charcoal filter.
This is some text inside of a div block.
The filters are made by slip casting a mixture of sawdust and clay into a vessel. When kiln firing, the sawdust shrinks and chars, creating a semi-permeable charcoal filter.
This is the example text
The form that is used to educate these communities is intended to look and function like a traditional kettle present in homes across the world. Pour dirty water in, wait, and pour clean water out.
This is some text inside of a div block.
The form that is used to educate these communities is intended to look and function like a traditional kettle present in homes across the world. Pour dirty water in, wait, and pour clean water out.
This is the example text
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Culture can be the issue.

In many local environments, water cleanliness can be a result of negative attitudes towards international donations and the insinuation that their lifestyles are unclean. In some areas, people even dislike the taste of filtered water.

Sift strives to address these problems by placing the distribution and creation of filters in the hands of trusted community artisans that have established businesses. If someone that already supplies you with household pottery goods suggests that you purchase a new good that can help clean water, it has a higher chance of acceptance than if an international power airdrops in plastic products,

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Inspiration and Ideation

Sift was inspired by observing water collection and cooking methods in remote local villages in Gorkha, Nepal.

In these remote villages, western donated water filters were dotting the landscape, polluting the environment that they were originally sent to protect. My impetus for starting this project was to create a method for people to create their own solutions as to not rely on international aid. I approached the design of the project from a usability first perspective. What form could convey the function without additional instruction?

In these remote villages, western donated water filters were dotting the landscape, polluting the environment that they were originally sent to protect.
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Initially I had three separate design areas I wanted to explore; A bottle based filter, an immersion drip filter, and a kettle filter.
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Functional Prototype

With the assistance of a skilled potter, the mold and kettle filter was produced and tested.

The forms were displayed at the Chicago International Home and Housewares Conference in 2018, and won a IHA award for their potential to help local communities.

This form will continue to evolve as the understanding of the base material continues to grow.
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