Rainaway Lets You See the Beauty in Rainy Days

As a result of climate change, we have to expect more and heavier rainfall in various parts of the world. In cities, sudden and heavy rainfall can lead to flooding — especially in paved outdoor spaces.

Amsterdam Rainproof is a project lead by the City of Amsterdam that looks at smart solutions to collect and use the increasing amounts of rainwater the city has to deal with. Solutions for rainproof roofs, streets, houses, buildings, parks, squares and gardens are pioneered by Amsterdam Rainproof, and so is the newest acquisition to their toolbox for dealing with the rain.

The Rainaway tiles, created by Fien Dekker and her urban design office Rainaway, are a smart solution towards making the city more rainproof and water-permeable. She created two sets of tiles, which help to guide water towards green patches and rivers and allow it to seep into the ground instead of flooding the pavement. During her travels to Africa and Japan, Dekker was surprised by the way rainwater drainage was integrated and made visible in public space. Once back in the Netherlands, she began creating solutions that treat rainwater as an opportunity for change rather than as a problem.

The innovative result can now be seen in many Dutch cities. The Ebb tile guides the rainwater towards water-permeable surfaces via the channels on its surface. It complements the Flood tile, which collects the water and lets it seep into the ground through minuscule water-permeable openings.

By maintaining the natural cycle of rainwater, showing the natural beauty of water and giving the surroundings additional value, Rainaway is gaining popularity among urban designers, municipalities and landscape architects. Apart from tiles, the company is also experimenting with other ways to make rainwater visible in cities and increase awareness of the issue at the same time. Dekker and her colleagues have literally rolled out a ‘red carpet’ for the rain — and with that in mind, maybe we will appreciate a rainy day a bit more the next time.