How does a manufacturer plan for the future when half its future products have yet to even be conceived? Pick the brains of young designers, naturally.

In this respect the futuristic bathroom designer Roca, always the innovator (last year it launched its London gallery in a building by Zaha Hadid), has the edge on its rivals. This week it heads into its fifth year running the design contest Jumpthegap, aimed at under-35s entering a design career.

The contest’s mandate is simple: to visualise a new concept, product or space for the bathroom of tomorrow. The task is not: 10 years from now our current needs and technologies will be history, so anticipating the replacement is an exercise in clairvoyance.

Last year’s winner, Michal Warykiewicz of Poland, took the prize for the ‘In & Out Shower’, a rotating bathroom and garden shower in a single glass pod. Today’s hopefuls are asked to register by 13.00 on 31 January 2013; submissions are due 5 April 2013.

Roca has packed its jury with luminaries from the world of design and architecture, including Kazuyo Sejima of Tokyo architecture practice SANAA, Finnish designer Harri Koskinen and Wallpaper’s own interiors director, Benjamin Kempton. Kempton also discussed innovations and trends with Roca design manager Josep Congost at the jumpthegap contest presentation on 13 September.

View the image gallery above to see last year’s winner and finalists.

TAGS: PRODUCT DESIGN