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Competition: jumpthegap

Roca and the Barcelona Design Centre have launched an open international ideas contest for the ‘bathroom space of the future’ (Deadline: 27 March)

The biennial competition – first launched in 2004 – is divided into professional and student categories and seeks innovative and sustainable concepts for new bathrooms concepts or products.

Applicants must be aged under 40 for the professional category and under 30 for the student prize. The winner of each category will receive a €10,000 prize and a We Are Water Foundation prize worth €6,000 will also be awarded.

2018 winner Panacea by Mohamadreza Shahmohamadi

2018 winner Panacea by Mohamadreza Shahmohamadi

2018 winner Panacea by Mohamadreza Shahmohamadi

According to the brief: ‘jumpthegap is a biennial international design contest promoted by Roca with the collaboration of the Barcelona Design Center that is looking for conceptual, sustainable and innovative solutions for the bathroom space of the future.

‘Over the last seven editions of the jumpthegap contest, there have been more than 2,900 projects submitted by 20,600 participants from 134 different countries.’

Founded in Barcelona in 1917, ROCA is a designer and manufacturer of bathroom products with more than 78 production plants and 22,600 employees. The firm hosts six ROCA Galleries around the world including a London outpost designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.

The We Are Water Foundation was created by ROCA to boost access to water and sanitation in the most disadvantaged areas of the planet. The organisation is currently working on 49 projects across South America, Africa and South East Asia.

2018 winner LAMBDA by Denis Lara Molina

2018 winner LAMBDA by Denis Lara Molina

2018 winner LAMBDA by Denis Lara Molina

Previous jumpthegap winners include the water-efficient Panacea bath by Iranian designer Mohamadreza Shahmohamadi, and the LAMBDA light hand steriliser by Denis Lara Molina of Spain.

The winners of this year’s jumpthegap will be selected by a jury featuring Murat Tabanlioğlu of Turkey-based Tabanlioğlu Architects; Polish designer Dorota Koziara; Carlo Rattifrom Carlo Ratti Associati of Italy; and Barcelona Design Centre executive director Isabel Roig.

Previous judges have included Ron Arad, John Pawson and Patrick Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects. The overall winners will be announced at the Roca Madrid Gallery in October.

How to apply


The registration deadline is 27 March and submissions must be completed by 25 April

Contact details

Visit the competition website for more information

Q&A with Xavier Torras

ROCA’s brand communication director and director of the We Are Water Foundation discusses his ambitions for the competition

Xavier Torras

Xavier Torras

Xavier Torras

Why are you holding a competition to design the bathroom space of the future?

The bathroom space in homes and public places is becoming increasingly relevant to society. What was initially simply the satisfaction of needs can now become something more, and become a whole experience for the user. We look for comfort and usability but without forgetting design and technology. The idea of this contest is to give young people the opportunity to design the bathroom space of the future, and they are the ones who are most aware of new technologies and the latest trends.

Where did the idea for the contest come from?

In its firm commitment to young talent in the architecture and design sectors, Roca organizes different activities to promote creativity and to give visibility to students and young professionals.

Is a contest like this the best way to approach this unique commission and to promote new design talent?

We believe that an international contest such as jumpthegap offers young people the opportunity to demonstrate their talent and their projects will be valued by a renowned international jury. In addition, the contest has global repercussions in different media, providing visibility to the projects and their authors.

Why is it important for judges to choose from a range of projects?

It is important to value different projects to have a broader vision of the needs of society or market trends, what the ideas of young people in a bathroom space for the future are, what projects stand out from the rest, etc.

Why are you keen for local, national and international participation?

Receiving participation from anywhere in the world enriches jumpthegap because each contestant will have a different vision of the bathroom space. Factors such as the culture or resources of the country will affect the development of a creative idea for the bathroom of the future.

What is your vision for the new futuristic bathrooms?

The most important factor to take into account in the bathroom space of the future is sustainability. I do not imagine a futuristic bathroom that is not respectful with the environment or with water management. In addition, it must be able to adapt to any space and to the characteristics of the users (for example, users with reduced mobility). It must also be innovative, incorporate the latest technologies to facilitate the user experience and not leave design aside.

2018 winner LAMBDA by Denis Lara Molina

2018 winner LAMBDA by Denis Lara Molina

2018 winner LAMBDA by Denis Lara Molina

What facilities or aesthetics might they provide? 

The contest accepts any type of design or idea, even those that are not able to be developed with materials or technologies that exist today. We look for out-of-the-box concepts and for this reason we do not offer any guide for developing the projects; we prefer that young people let their imagination fly.

How big are the contest sites and what are the potential constraints?

jumpthegap is an online contest. Participants must register and submit their proposals through the competition site:

How important will design innovation and quality be to the end result?

The jury will make their personal selection according to the criteria and requirements of the contest wich are: innovative ideas, sustainable and responsible projects and user benefits. Presentation skills will be also considered when assessing the projects.

Are sustainable issues an important part of the brief?

We consider that sustainability is something that must always been considered when designing any project. Responsibility for the planet and its resources should be a criteria for all designers. For this reason, sustainability, understood from its different perspectives is one of the jury criteria when assessing the projects. The future of the planet is in the hands of young people and they must be aware of it.

To raise awareness on this issue we have included a special prize to the most sustainable project, that will be awarded by We Are Water Foundation. All participants from both categories, professional and student, are considered for this award if their proposal stands out from the others in terms of sustainability.

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

We would like all those architects or designers who are passionate about their work to participate and who are aware that this is not a simple competition but an opportunity to boost their work and raise their profile internationally.

Is the opportunity open to smaller emerging practices and undiscovered talents?

This contest is focused only on architects, designers, engineers or students of any of these fields. In addition, participants should be less than 40 for the professional category or less than 30 for the student category. From there, it does not matter how many years of experience you have in the fields mentioned. Equally, we could say that it is a good opportunity for undiscovered talents since an international contest like this can boost them in their professional career.

2018 winner Panacea by Mohamadreza Shahmohamadi

2018 winner Panacea by Mohamadreza Shahmohamadi

2018 winner Panacea by Mohamadreza Shahmohamadi

Could architects and designers make their names on this project?

Why not? By having an international impact in relevant media in the sector, who knows what the future will bring to the participants?

Will there be any design contests for future buildings, green interventions, public realm improvements or other smaller commissions?

Roca is a brand committed to design and architecture, always trying to create content around these two disciplines. Our initiatives can adopt different formats from which we can find competitions, but our main goal is to disseminate architecture, design, sustainability or innovation though different activities and not only competitions.

Are there any other recent futuristic bathroom projects you have been impressed by?

We receive outstanding ideas that make us see how creative and innovative young designers are. The past edition’s winner, Mohamadreza Shahmohamadi, from Iran, designed a great project called Panacea. It is a bath manufactured in an elastic material that allows its molding to obtain the required shape and size. It can be adapted to any space, and features a locking system that prevents the drowning of children when it is not in use.