Photo: Southern Liberties, LLC

The Philadelphia Water Department would never utter an unkind word about traditional rain barrels, but the sleek, ultra-modern version (they call it a “rain column”) by local company Shift Space Design is making rain collection a whole lot more attractive. The stainless steel, 58-gallon tank isn’t cheap (one online retailer has it listed at $1,800), but it sure is nice to look at. It even has its own name: Fitzwater. More detailed photos and specs here. (There’s also a 12-gallon version named Wallace.) For the rest of us, a blue or green plastic barrel may just have to do.

The rain column pictured above (in the backyard of Montrose Green, a Philadelphia rowhome/eco-design utopia) is actually part of a collection system; the column on the left is connected to trickle rods that water the planter below.

Read more about rain barrels and check out our Rain Barrel Map to see where Philadelphians are collecting runoff and keeping our streams and rivers clean.