Water sensitive textile shelters become cheerful in the rain

Water Culture by experimental Italian design studio Fabrica is a textile that responds to rain by producing cheerful prints to offset gloomy weather.

From the Series

Water Culture, a design project by Fabrica, aims to encourage people to change their negative perception of rainy weather. Water Culture is a textile that reacts to the rain by revealing colourful patterns when wet.

The fabric won first prize at Design for Change/Lille, a contest that invites international design schools to develop innovative solutions to improve the quality of life of Lille’s residents.

Fabrica’s team, comprising of Chandni Kabra from India, Aaron Gillett from Australia and Karen Oetling from Mexico worked across the different fields connecting climate, nature, food and architecture, and the result is Water Culture.

For nearly half of the year, Lille in Northern France experiences rainfall.  The rainfall affects mobility, emotional health, general wellbeing, productivity and the economy. So, the design team at Fabrica designed the vibrant Water Culture fabric to create shelters to improve the atmosphere in the city and allow people to perform outdoor activities, assemble, integrate.

The designers created the bold patterns and colours using local materials such as beets and onions, which are printed onto the textile structures with hydro-chromatic ink, a material with a special wet reveal binder. Images, patterns and colours printed with hydro-chromic ink appear when wet and disappear when dry. 

The rendering produced by Fabrica shows the textile draped across buildings like an awning, creating an illuminating shelter for the residents of Lille to meet under.

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