Winners of the Fifth Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge use Innovative Materials to Reinvent Apparel, Furnishings & Personal Care Items

OAKLAND, CA – 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; Plano, a chair folded from a single sheet of recycled and fully recyclable polypropylene, and Scout, a children’s jacket that “grows” with the child which received the Challenge’s new award for Best Use of Cradle to Cradle Certified Materials.  

Presented by the Institute in collaboration with Autodesk and Arconic Foundation, the Challenge is the fifth in an initial series of six circular design challenges continuing into 2018. The Challenges incentivize and inspire the design community to envision viable product design solutions for the circular economy using Cradle to Cradle product design principles. To date, the Challenge series has received more than 466 entries from 406 designers in 30 countries. This latest challenge attracted 94 entries from 141 designers in 17 countries.

The winners are:

Best Student Project & Best Use of Aluminum: MyEcoWall
by Caterina Vianna & Ferran Gesa - EINA, University School of Design and Art, Barcelona, Spain

Today’s workspaces need to be safe and versatile, creating a comfortable atmosphere for employees and allowing the redefinition and adaptation of workspace settings as companies evolve. However, companies often generate a lot of waste through changes to layout, work routines, and furniture as surplus items often end up going to landfill. Student designers Caterina Elena Vianna and Ferran Gesa Zaragoza, students at EINA, University School of Design and Art in Barcelona, Spain, sought to create a solution with MyEcoWall, using component materials (Ecovative’s MycoFoam & MycoBoard, wool and cork) that are biodegradable yet durable, enabling companies the flexibility to adapt retool, relocate, grow or reduce size. 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.

Best Professional Project: Plano Chair
by Brandes en Meurs - Utrecht, Netherlands

Inspired by origami, where a uniform flat material is transformed into a complex paper structure, the designers at Brandes en Meurs – Michiel Meurs & Paddy Milford, with support from Mariska Hilhorst, Renee Emmerik, and Thijs Barentsen – set out to develop a useful product ­– a chair– that anyone can form from a given rectangular sheet of material. The resulting Plano Chair is made from one single sheet of recycled and fully recyclable polypropylene material. Durable living hinges allow the sheet to take its final shape, and a single material type makes production and material reclamation easy.

Best Student Use of Autodesk Fusion 360: S(h)aving the World Personal Razor
by RIT Engineers for a Sustainable World - Rochester, NY

According to the EPA, close to two billion razors end up in landfills each year, largely due to the difficulty and danger associated with recycling the small stainless steel blades. In addition, disposable razors waste an incredible amount of water during consumer use. Led by Daniel Rouleau and Morgan Mistysyn, Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) used Cradle to Cradle product design principles to create a 100% recyclable razor that performs at the same standards as non-recyclable counterparts and requires less water during use. The team demonstrated adept use of Autodesk Fusion 360’s direct and parametric modeling, shape optimization capabilities, which enabled the 9-person team to collaborate on multiple parts simultaneously to design for disassembly, minimize material waste, and maximize overall efficiency.

Best Professional Use of Autodesk Fusion 360: LOOP Supply Medusa Spool
by Bartłomiej Gaczorek, Custom Shapes, Poland

The rapid and continuous growth of 3D printing has significant impacts on materials, production, distribution, and waste. Most of the materials for low-budget and consumer-level 3D printers are supplied in form of polymer wire coiled on spools, which are heavy, bulky, and are rarely, if ever recycled. Designer Bartłomiej Gaczorek developed Loop Supply Medusa Spool using Autodesk Fusion 360, demonstrating an innovative approach to using t-splines for the design, and simulation to assess the strengths of the overall model. Made from BASF’s ecoflex®, the single-material spool is up to 80% lighter compared to conventional spools. The spool is also designed to foldable, thereby taking up less space, and can be easier to return to the supplier for reuse, or can be biodegraded.

This latest Challenge also featured a new prize category for Best Use of Cradle to Cradle Certified Materials:

Best Use of Cradle to Cradle Certified Materials: Scout Rain Jacket
by Alexandria Jones, Jordan Jones, Natalie Ouma and Melissa Shuford - SCAD, Savannah, GA

The apparel industry continues to be one of the largest generators of waste, making innovation in clothing design an essential component of positively transforming the way garments are made and used. One contributing factor is sizing, especially for children’s clothing, which is often used only for a short period of time: young children gain an average of five to seven pounds and grow two to three inches per year, requiring continual replacement of clothing. The Scout Rain Jacket, designed by Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) students Alexandria Jones, Jordan Jones, Natalie Ouma and Melissa Shuford, provides a solution to this. Adjustable vertically and horizontally, the Scout Rain Jacket extends product life and reduces waste by growing “with” the child and also allowing multiple owners. 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.

“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.”

Designers of winning project for the Best Use of Cradle to Cradle Certified Materials category will receive expert commentary and design critique and 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.”

To enter the Challenge, participants must first complete a free two-hour online course, Designing Cradle to Cradle Certified Products for the Circular Economy, developed in collaboration with Autodesk. The course was made possible by Arconic Foundation, which is dedicated to advancing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and sustainable design and manufacturing skills training worldwide, with a special emphasis on engaging and creating access for underrepresented and underserved groups.

The sixth Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge will open for entries in September, 2017.
Register for the course to be among the first to know!