ANCB in collaboration with AXOR Hansgrohe
Water - although it is such a fundamental element for our societies, economies and environment as well as our own bodies - is often the great invisible factor in our cities, infrastructures and behavioural patterns. In a world where water plays the key role in most of the great global transitions from climate change via urbanisation to health and habitat, its role is clearly under-represented and calls for a reassessment of challenges and potentials. Starting from the individual human level, the theme 'Water as Ritual' strives to seek new narratives for the perception and strategic role of water on all levels – public and private; going from the simplest, purest individual needs for relaxation, spiritual experience or bodily utilization and nourishment of water to the needs for wellness of a whole city, region, society.
This research report summarises and reflects on the Enquiry Week Workshop 'Water as Ritual', which took place at ANCB from 22 - 28 August 2014. This format was developed as part of the collaboration between ANCB and AXOR Hansgrohe. Following the theme 'Water as Ritual', we gathered, edited and produced collective knowledge on processes of water, the bodily experience and everyday use of water in private and public surroundings in international contexts.
The collaboration between AXOR Hansgrohe and ANCB concentrates on studies, proposals and actual projects that are innovative regarding the management and experience of water. The research collaboration aims at small, visionary projects that raise awareness of the sustainable use of water. The workshop „Water as Ritual“ brought together various experts and disciplines concerned with urban, design and social aspects of water, to discover rituals as social experience and the role of water therein. Students, graduates and young professionals from South America, Africa and Europe were selected through an open call. The workshop participants entered into an interdisciplinary but also an intercultural dialogue in which the theme of water was included as an important factor in the design process.
The workshop theme focused on the relevance and value of water in connection with cultural, social, health and wellness-related, technological everyday rituals. Based on the function of water, the element’s role for structuring everyday life, planning and awareness at the interface of water, man and nature was analysed. The perception of water influenced by cultural backgrounds and disciplines was found to be reflected in various formats of rituals; the power over and the use of water includes economic and cultural aspects on a global level, raising the questions: What are today’s rituals for water in everyday life? What is the relationship between space - ritual - water? Are new typologies needed - such as new bath houses or shared bathrooms? Does water in rituals change our perception of space on all scales - from the private to the public? And can water act through rituals as a socio-cultural platform and innovation for urban lifestyle?