Swirl Faucet, an award-winning conceptual water fixture from Royal College of Art design student Simin Qiu, has been blowing up around the Internet, popping up on different design websites faster than you can say ".5 GPM Low Flow Dual-Thread Faucet Aerator."

And rightfully so. The sleek, single-touch faucet harnesses dual turbines that transform the ordinary, unexciting flow of water into an elegant, otherworldly and very much exciting feast for the eyes that looks more like an intricate sculpture than something you’d rinse your toothbrush off with.

CNET explains the wizardry behind the magical swirling lattice:

Qiu's design incorporated a double turbine, which is activated by the natural vortex motion of water under the influence of gravity (you can watch water swirling down a sink to see this in action). This is combined with holes cut into the nozzle of the faucet to create patterns in the water flow, with three different designs creating three different water effects.
In addition to the flow of the water itself, there’s been lots of emphasis on water conservation and the fact that the Swirl Faucet uses 15 percent less water than the typical faucet aerator over a minute-long period.

Swirl FaucetThis is all fine and good but there’s a catch. Like any other design object, conceptual or not, that’s totally mesmerizing and/or provokes a response along the lines of that’s so rad, I want to see it again! the Swirl Faucet’s potential savings are likely negated by spectacle. It’s a given that Swirl Faucet will see a lot more action — in terms of both usage and length — than a standard faucet, so is it appropriate to herald it as a water-saving design?

Perhaps, after time, the novelty spellbinding charms of the faucet will decrease and, eventually, it will operate just like a non-magic-making faucet.

Qiu also explains that since water pours out of the faucet as a hollow cylinder instead of a gushing jet, it’s more gentle and effective for hand washing.

One of the winning student designs at last year’s iF Design Awards, Swirl Faucet remains in the prototype stages although Qiu reportedly does hope to further develop his eye-catching concept, secure funding and, eventually, bring it to market. “ As a product designer, I’m glad I can make a positive impact to the world,” he says of his win.

On that note, while Swirl Faucet would lend itself nicely to residential contexts, the prototype seems more or less geared toward commercial and institutional settings, particularly restaurants and nightclubs; maybe museums or other cultural institutions but probaby not hockey arenas. This, of course, leads to the possibility for long lines as people wait it out to use the loo while their fellow patrons remain locked in the restroom, hunched over and completely transixed by the absolutely gorgeous water spiraling out of a faucet.

Swirl Faucet

More on the nuts and bolts of the design over at Behance.

Via [Core77], [CNET]

Related on MNN:

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.