'Turn That Tap Off or the Goldfish Gets It!

© Yan Lu. The Poor Little Fishbowl Sink in action.

When I first moved to Turkey, a country not particularly known for its environmental awareness, I was struck by the stark choice my bank's ATMs presented me with when asking if I wanted a receipt at the end of a transaction. Next to the "Hayır" (No) button, there was a cartoon image of a healthy forest. Next to the "Evet" (Yes) button, a pile of tree stumps.

London-based Chinese designer/engineer Yan Lu plays with a similar kind of visual feedback to try and provoke more environmentally friendly behavior. The result is both clever and funny and a bit frightening. In Lu's words, the "Poor Little Fishbowl Sink" offers "an emotional way to persuade consumers to think about saving water, by making consumption tangible."

'Making Consumption Tangible'
The sink, you see, is topped with a goldfish bowl that starts to drain whenever someone turns on the tap. If they let the water run too long, it looks like it's going to be curtains for Goldie. As Lu explains on his website

There is a traditional-shaped fish bowl in the Poor Little Fish basin. While using, the level of water in the bowl gradually falls (but does not actually drain out); it will go back to the same level once the water stops running. As well, the water from the tap is pure, as its pipeline does not connect to the bowl.

Lu's Other Green Designs
The designer has also dreamed up a bendable drying rack good for use in small spaces, and a system that allows consumers to turn packing materials into cardboard furniture, complete with decorative decals.

And in a similar project to Poor Little Fish, Lu created a toilet-paper roll -- dubbed the Annual Ring Tissue -- with a pattern on the side that resembles the rings of a tree. "By delivering the information [about] where the tissue [was] made from," he writes, "I try to use a unconscious way to persuade people to think about it before consuming."

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Tags: Designers | London | Water Conservation

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