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5th C2C Design Challenge Winners Reimagine Apparel, Furnishings, Personal Care Items

Image credit: Plano Chair

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute has announced the winners of the 5th Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge, including MyEcoWall, a mobile acoustic wall made from Ecovative mushroom material and Scout, a children’s jacket that “grows” with the child. The Challenge is the fifth in an initial series of six circular design challenges that incentivize and inspire the design community to envision viable product design solutions for the circular economy using Cradle to Cradle product design principles.

“The Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard is poised to become the verification and quality standard for materials and products made for the circular economy. The Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge thus offers designers and students the opportunity to explore the application of Cradle to Cradle Certified materials and design principles with the circular economy in mind,” said William McDonough, co-founder of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and co-author of Cradle to Cradle and The Upcycle.

“As the volume of Cradle to Cradle Certified materials continues to proliferate, the Challenge also creates space for innovators to expand circularity by exploring ways to use verified, high-quality biological and technical materials to create next-generation Cradle to Cradle products.”

To date, the Challenge series has received more than 466 entries from 406 designers in 30 countries. The fifth challenge attracted 94 entries from 141 designers in 17 countries, with five entries taking coming out on top:

MyEcoWall: Winning the prize for Best Student Project & Best Use of Aluminum, MyEcoWall is a flexible workspace solution developed by Caterina Vianna and Ferran Gesa of Barcelona, Spain’s EINA University School of Design and Art. Using biodegradable component materials such as Ecovative’s MycoFoam and Mycoboard, they created an acoustic-insulated space separator that allows companies to adapt and redefine workspace settings in response to changing requirements. MyEcoWall can be purchased or leased and each piece of the product is replaceable, eliminating the concept of waste and increasing recyclability: the parts made with aluminum can be remanufactured or recycled and the parts made from biological materials are reusable as compost, thus returning them to the soil as a nutrient.

Plano Chair: Winning in the Best Professional Project category, designers at Brandes en Meurs in Utrecht, Netherlands designed a chair made from one single sheet of recycled and fully recyclable polypropylene material. Inspired by origami, in which a uniform flat material is transformed into a complex paper structure, the chair’s durable living hinges allow the sheet to take its final shape and a single material type makes production and material reclamation easy. “To make full use of the course material, we defined a rectangular design that fits exactly within the production size of the prefabricated sheet material,” said Michiel Meurs, Plano Chair’s project lead. “To further reduce waste, we minimized offcuts inside the defined rectangle. This process resulted in a product that can be cut from a flat sheet with hardly any lost material.”

S(h)aving the World: In an effort to curb the two billion razors that end up in landfills each year, Daniel Rouleau and Morgan Mistysyn, Rochester Institute of Technology Engineers for a Sustainable World, used Cradle to Cradle product design principles to create a 100 percent recyclable razor that performs at the same standards as non-recyclable options and require less water during use.

LOOP Supply Medusa Spool: Most of the materials for low-budget and consumer-level 3D printers are supplied in the form of polymer wire coiled on spools, which are heavy, bulky and are rarely recycled. Designer Bartłomiej Gaczorek, winner of the Best Professional Use of Autodesk Fusion 360 category, developed LOOP Supply Medusa Spool using Autodesk Fusion 360 to demonstrate an innovative approach to using t-splines for the design and assess the strengths of the overall model. Made from BASF’s ecoflex®, the single-material spool is up to 80 percent lighter compared to convention spools. The spool is also designed to be foldable, thereby taking up less space and can be returned to the supplier for reuse or to be biodegraded.

The latest Challenge also featured a new prize category for Best Use of Cradle to Cradle Certified Materials. Savannah College of Art and Design students Alexandria Jones, Jordan Jones, Natalie Ouma and Melissa Shuford were awarded the honor for their children’s Scout Rain Jacket. The jacket is adjustable both horizontally and vertically, allowing the jacket to “grow” along with the child, thereby extending product life and reducing waste. To ensure optimum material health and reuse scenarios, the team referenced materials from the Fashion Positive Materials Collection and specified Natura Sewing Yarn, and DyStar Textile Dyes.

Designers in the Best Use of Cradle to Cradle Certified Materials category will receive expert commentary and design critique from William McDonough.

“Continued engagement from the global design community in this fifth challenge demonstrates a collective appetite for opportunities to reconsider the way we design and make products from a place of abundance, while eliminating the concept of waste,” said Lewis Perkins, President of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. “As the winners of this latest Challenge demonstrate, the competition gives designers and students a chance to develop innovative solutions to challenges they see in the world. We are proud to educate, inspire and empower the next generation to participate in this way.”

Before entering the Challenge, applicants are required to complete a free two-hour online course, Designing Cradle to Cradle Certified Products for the Circular Economy, developed in collaboration with Autodesk and Arconic Foundation, a nonprofit corporate foundation dedicated to advancing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and sustainable design and manufacturing skills training worldwide.

The sixth Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge will open for entries in September 2017.

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