This year at Dutch Design Week, thousands of creative enthusiasts came together to explore the question: “What will the world look like in 20, 50, 100 years?” The many designers who presented their work during the festival gave clear testimony to a shared mission of bettering ourselves, ranging from encouraging concepts to ready-to-launch products, and from future-proof fashion to down-to-earth social design. What Design Can Do was thrilled to join the programme alongside our partner Secrid, who took over Hall 1 at the Klokgebouw in Eindhoven to present their annual Secrid Talent Podium.
The exhibition showcased 10 promising designers working on circular products and materials, all of whom were selected for their innovative approach to driving change within their industries. Among them are three winners of our recent Make it Circular Challenge, who are currently working to scale up their solutions with additional support from the Secrid team. They do this as part of their Impact Fund programme, in which the company pledges 1% of its revenue to help the next generation of product designers make a positive impact on the world. “Together, we aim to provide a hopeful vision of progress and work to build a movement that shifts the industry from producing more to producing better,” explain founders René van Geer and Marianne van Sasse van Ysselt. Below, we a take a closer look at the 10 design projects selected for this year’s Talent Podium.
Who says solar technology can’t be beautiful? Solarix designs, develops and supplies innovative coloured solar panels for vertical façades. With their unique colour technology and innovative mounting system, their goal is to contribute to energy-neutral buildings and sustainable and beautiful cities.
Entrepreneur Frans van Rooijen and scientist Dr. Michael Sailer are the creative minds behind Fungi Force, a circular wood finish based on fungi and linseed oil. These natural materials serve as an environmentally friendly alternative to finishes or paints made from chemical substances, which prevent wood from being recycled and release toxic substances into the environment.
Emy Bensdorp (a previous WDCD Challenge winner!) presented her project Claybens, which addresses a type of pollution that many people don’t even know exists: per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are linked to various diseases and health complaints and can be traced in up to 90% of Dutch soil. With Claybens, she offers a unique clean-up solution whereby polluted clay is transformed into colourful bricks.
Sumo Baby produces washable, reusable cloth diapers specifically engineered for sensitive baby skin. To counteract the enormous waste problem that disposable diapers cause globally, they have redesigned this everyday product and developed a new material that is not only kind to the environment but also to the baby’s bottom.
The true shelf life of food is often much longer than indicated on the packaging. This results in massive food waste worldwide. To help counter this trend, Kimia Amir-Moazami developed Vorkoster: a container lid that reacts to the pH value of stored food. By changing color, it indicates whether protein-containing food is still edible or spoiled.
Jess Redgrave came up with ClimaFibre, a high-quality cotton alternative made from sunflower waste. On a lab scale, she has already managed to use the whole flower to produce a range of textiles, natural dyes, and even a moisture-repellent coating.
Super Local is a social enterprise known for co-creating sustainable products and services through a unique blend of local knowledge and resources. They design using locally available materials for a target audience that often lacks access to basic necessities, providing jobs for local makers.
Make it Circular Challenge winner Balena is a material science company on a mission to revolutionise how we make, use and reuse compostable plastics. With their flagship product BioCir™, they’ve created the first flexible and fully biodegradable thermoplastic material in the world.
Make it Circular Challenge winner Resortecs creates heat-dissolvable threads and other solutions for textile disassembly and recycling. Their ingenious technologies and systems allow fashion producers to minimise their resource use, while enabling recyclers to process higher volumes of premium-quality material.
What if today’s packaging materials could become tomorrow’s resources? This is the idea behind Make it Circular Challenge winner Mujō, a biomaterial innovation company that develops biodegradable packaging solutions from seaweed. Specifically, their products are derived from kelp: a type of fast-growing seaweed that doesn’t require additional water or agricultural land to cultivate.
All photos by Lizzy Zaanen for Secrid.