In partnership with Autodesk and Alcoa Foundation, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute has announced the winners of the third Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge. The challenge asks designers to develop product solutions that use limited global resources as an opportunity for innovation, informed by the free, online, two-hour course Designing Cradle to Cradle Certified Products for the Circular Economy. 138 designers spanning nineteen countries submitted a total of seventy-nine entries covering areas from the built environment to furniture to retail packaging and consumer goods.
"Designers have a pivotal role to play in driving long-term solutions that circumvent the concept of waste in favor of materials that can remain in a perpetual cycle of use and reuse. From retail packaging to human shelter, the Spring 2016 Challenge winners are outstanding examples of the way young designers and design professionals alike are stepping into the crux of this revolution, using Cradle to Cradle principles to pioneer ideas for innovative materials applications and, in turn, the circular economy," said Lewis Perkins, President of the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute. Recognizing winners in four categories: Best Student Project, Best Professional Project, Best Use of Aluminum, and Best Use of Fusion 360, all winners are awarded $2,000. The winner of Best Use of Fusion 360 is additionally awarded one full pass, including travel, to Autodesk University.
Best Professional Project: Brayan Stiven Pabón Gómez and Rafael Ricardo Moreno Boada, Banana Stem Fiber Packaging
This design team's use of natural agricultural waste as packaging material eliminates the need for man-made food packaging while economically and environmentally benefiting farming communities. Enter a caption (optional)
Bananas are farmed across several regions of Colombia, yet farmers currently perceive banana stem fiber (extracted as part of routine crop maintenance) as waste. Colombian designers Brayan Stiven Pabón Gómez and Rafael Ricardo Moreno Boada developed Banana Stem Fiber Packaging to transform a geographically abundant material into sustainable food packaging. Drawing upon traditional food preparation methods, Banana Stem Fiber Packaging offers a sustainable alternative to the current plastic and paper food packaging, along with the potential to generate sustainable economic development in farming communities.
Best Student Project: Quang Pham, MODS
Using natural and recycled fibers, Pham's modular shoe design is assembled without glue— encouraging repairs over replacement. Enter a caption (optional)
Quang Pham, a student at Virginia Tech, created MODS, a modular shoe, in response to the millions of pairs of shoes that end up in landfills each year, where they can take 30-40 years to decompose. MODS shoes can be customized and updated as the shoe deteriorates without using glue, as the components are held in place using elastic tension. Made with bamboo and wool textiles and recycled PET fiber, MODS is made up of five modular components that use the minimal amount of material needed for maximum comfort and security while giving the user full control of the shoe's aesthetic.
Best Use of Aluminum: Malgorzata Blachnicka & Michal Holcer, Huba
This design team's shelter takes 'living off the grid' to a whole new level, using energy harnessed by wind turbines to power all utilities and a clever roof tile design to collect and filter drinking water. Enter a caption (optional)
Developed by designers Malgorzata Blachnicka and Michal Holcer, Huba is a self-sufficient, compact mountain shelter that is able to generate its own energy. Chosen for being well-designed and a functional use of sustainable materials, Huba also offers a potential solution for alternative housing applications, such as shelter for the homeless or as an emergency shelter. Huba's design is based on traditional alpine architecture, which is characterized by its small size and a material palette aimed at minimizing environmental impact. Intended to be located above 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), the shelter is equipped with an effective vertical wind turbine. The energy produced by the generator is stored within a battery and is used to supply the building's heating, lighting and water pump. Specially arranged roof tiles enable rainwater to be easily collected within the tank, which is then filtered and safe for drinking.
Best Use of Fusion 360: Claire Davis, OLI
An elegant and user friendly design, Davis's composter uses recycled and natural waste materials to break down food waste. Enter a caption (optional)
Created by Virginia Tech student Claire Davis, OLI is a convenient and intelligent solution for food waste. Exemplary for its adept use of Fusion 360's direct modeling functionality (which enables the rapid development of manufacturable product), OLI highlights the value of minimizing biological waste, as well as the reduction of material waste through its considered approach to the product system and design for disassembly. To use OLI, slide the door open and drop the food into the bin. When the container is full, lift the lid to remove and empty the interior bin. With 474 pounds of food waste generated by every household per year on average, OLI offers a practical solution to increasing the percentage of our landfill waste that is composted and returned to cycle in the biosphere.
"The Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge is a great opportunity for designers to explore new applications for materials, prioritizing the product's sustainability just as much as the product's purpose," said Alice Truscott, Alcoa Foundation program manager. The third Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge was open from February 1st, 2016 until May 3rd, 2016. The fourth Challenge will open for entries in September, 2016. Learn more here.