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Maria Sutherland

Carmel, CA, United States

Marketing and Communications Consultant

Member since May 10, 2007

  • Lifestraw®

    Aid, Industrial Design


    Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

    Problem: Without access to clean drinking water, it is estimated that over one billion people of the world’s population are exposed to waterborne diseases. Over 6,000 people (mostly children) die each day from consuming unsafe drinking water.

    Client: International health and aid organizations

    Designers: Torben Vestergaard Frandsen and Rob Fluren with Moshe Fromme

    Solution: A personal, mobile water purification tool that turns surface water into drinking water. It offers relief from waterborne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery and diarrhea. Containing a specially developed halogen-based resin that kills bacteria on contact, the LifeStraw® is 25cm long, 29mm in diameter, and filters up to 700 litres of water. It requires no electrical power or spare parts and can be worn around the neck. Recently, the protective caps have been integrated in the bottom and top plastic, the string for children to carry the straw around their necks has been made “strangle proof”, and a stronger cord has been added. Completion: 2004 For more info: LifeStraw®

  • House of Dance & Feathers

    Arts & Culture, Environmental Design


    Location: New Orleans, LA, USA

    Problem: To renovate and restore the House of Dance and Feathers, a neighborhood museum and cultural center in the Lower Ninth Ward that was demolished by Hurricane Katrina, while simultaneously preserving the cultural heritage of New Orleans and inspiring people to return to their neighborhoods.

    Client: Ronald Lewis

    Designers: Project Locus and Kansas State University Architecture students

    Solution: A 384 square foot enclosed structure with gathering area, workspace, and display spaces and exhibition panels for cultural artifacts. Details include recycled galvanized metal roofing, recycled antique and aluminum doors, custom screen-printed and polyurethaned paper flooring, and recycled screen-print frames. Ronald Lewis' adjoining residence was also redesigned and rehabilitated.

    Completion: 2006

    For more info: [Project Locus] (

    On view at: Design For The Other 90% at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York



  • Hippo Water Roller

    Poverty, Industrial Design


    Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

    Problem: Millions of people worldwide walk long distances to collect their daily water requirements for the day. Traditional methods of collecting water include the use of 20-liter (5-gallon) buckets, which are laboriously carried on the head. This method is time and energy consuming and the cause of many serious health problems, particularly spinal and back injuries.

    Client: Community organizers in Southern Africa and other developing countries

    Designers: Pettie Petzer & Johan Jonker. Imvubu Projects is responsible for improvements.

    Solutions: A large UV-stabilized polyethylene drum with a screw-on lid and a steel clip-on handle carries 90 liters (20 gallons) of water. The filled drum is turned on its side and pushed like a steamroller. It is designed to withstand typical rural conditions such as uneven footpaths, rocks and broken bottles. The drum can also protect the user from landmines that may be accidentally triggered. It is also changing social roles, as males have become interested in taking up this traditionally female task. Food gardens have become more feasible. Overall, more water means a better quality of life.

    Completion: 1993 but the project is ongoing. There are 25,000 rollers to date.

    For more info: Hippo Water Roller


  • Global Village Shelters

    Aid, Environmental Design


    Location: Morris, CT, USA

    Problem: The present disaster relief field relies heavily on tent and tarp structures which offer little protection from outdoor elements and have no sense of personal space.

    Client: Governments, international relief organizations and non-profit organization

    Designers: Mia Pelosi and Daniel A Ferrara Jr. comprising Global Village Shelters LLC.

    Solution: A biodegradable triple-wall corrugated house that snaps together in 15 minutes and lasts 18 months. To accomplish durability, the shelter has a concentric “ring” structure. No tools are required for setup and easy to follow, illustrated instructions make it universally usable. In conjunction with Weyerhaeuser, a white fire retardant and waterproof coating for the shelters’ interior and exterior walls and roof was created. Inhabitant safety is enforced with interior and exterior locks. Houses have withstood winds up to 80 mph, and a tarp kit can be added for extra weatherproofing and wind resistance. The original unit measured six square meters, a 20-square-meter unit was introduced in 2006. Work is currently being done on a system utilizing panels and a patented extrusion design that allows units to link together to form larger or smaller structures as needed.

    Completion: 2001

    For more info: Global Village Shelters

    On view at: Design For The Other 90% at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York


  • Bus Shelter House

    Poverty, Environmental Design


    Location: Melbourne, Australia

    Problem: Designing emergency shelters for the displaced or homeless people in urban environments. Some city benches discourage sleeping with designs that are intentionally uncomfortable.

    Client: Prototype

    Designers: Sean Godsell Architects

    Solution: A bus shelter that converts into an emergency overnight accommodation. The bench lifts to reveal a woven steel mattress and the advertising hoarding is modified to act as a dispenser of blankets, food, and water. It also acts as a small gallery space where art can be exhibited. The shelter has the potential to be solar powered and its glass roof and back double as a digital projection screen.

    _ Completion:_ 2005

    For more information: Sean Godsell Architects


  • Big Boda Bike

    Community, Industrial Design


    Location: Kisumu, Kenya

    Problem: Bicycles are the main form of transport for much of the developing world. The majority of bicycle designs cater to the recreational user and are not suited to carrying heavy loads. Most bikes are sold through supermarkets, are of poor quality, and require after market add-ons.

    Client: Individual entrepreneurs, delivery firms, and NGOs in Kenya

    Designers: World Bike’s Adam French and Ed Lucero.

    Solution: A long lasting, affordable, utilitarian bike with easily replaceable parts capable of carrying several people (utilized as taxis) or goods including bulky loads like bread. The design decreases the risk of safety and health issues by allowing cargo to be distributed horizontally across the back tire versus being stacked so high that the rider’s visual field is restricted and the weight distribution is unstable. The modified bikes also lower the incentive for motorized transportation and the accompanying pollution and severe accidents. World Bike are transforming their website into an open-source knowledge sharing site for bicycle designers to take part in the challenge of designing low-cost utility bicycles.

    Completion: 2005

    For more info: World Bike

    On view at: Design For The Other 90% at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York


Choose your corner, pick away at it carefully, intensely and to the best of your ability and that way you might change the world. - Charles Eames

Contact Maria Sutherland
Personal Site

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design