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The Next Economy
Latest C2C Product Design Challenge Spawns Circular Solutions for Packaging, Footwear, Housing, Food Waste

Today, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute announced the winners of the third Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge. The series of six global design challenges running from 2015 through 2017 are presented by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and Autodesk, and made possible by the Alcoa Foundation.

138 design professionals and students in 19 countries worked as individuals or in teams to submit 79 entries for this third round of the contest, which challenges design students and professionals to apply Cradle to Cradle principles to conceptualize and develop product solutions that can help drive the circular economy. More than 230 designers from 30 countries have participated in the Challenges to date. Entries were invited across four categories: Best Student Project, Best Professional Project, Best Use of Aluminum, and Best Use of Autodesk Fusion 360 Software.

To engage in the challenge, participants must complete a free 2-hour online course, Designing Cradle to Cradle Certified Products for the Circular Economy, made possible by Alcoa Foundation and developed in collaboration with Autodesk. The Alcoa Foundation’s focus areas include finding solutions to improve the environment through sustainable design.

“We launched the Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge to help the global design community approach the issue of limited global resources as an opportunity for product innovation,” said Lewis Perkins, president of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. “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.”

Winners were selected by a judging panel of designers, sustainability professionals and industry leaders, including Rie Norregaard, Managing Creative Director – SYP Partners; Jim Kor, Founder and President of KOR EcoLogic, Inc.; Paul Sohi, Fusion 360 Evangelist at Autodesk; Jeremy Faludi, Sustainable Design Strategist & Educator; and Hasso Weiland, Technical Fellow at Breakthrough Technologies – Alcoa. Each of the four winners will receive a cash prize of US$2,000.

The winners are:

Best Student Project: MODS

Best Professional Project: Banana Stem Fiber Packaging

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 (above). Bananas are farmed across several regions of Colombia, yet farmers currently perceive banana stem fiber (extracted as part of routine crop maintenance) as waste. Drawing upon traditional food preparation methods, Banana Stem Fiber Packaging offers a sustainable alternative to plastic and paper food packaging, along with the potential to generate sustainable economic development in farming communities.

Best Use of Fusion 360: OLI

Best Use of Aluminum: Huba

“As the pressure to meet sustainability standards increase in governments and markets around the world, finding innovative ways to design products using materials like aluminum that can be kept in a constant cycle of use and reuse is imperative,” said Alice Truscott, Alcoa Foundation program manager. “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. Congratulations to Malgorzata Blachnicka & Michal Holcer, the Best Use of Aluminum category winners, and to the other winning designers.”

Challenge entries spanned a variety of sectors, including the built environment, packaging, retail furniture and consumer goods. Of the designs submitted, 40 percent were created using Fusion 360, an integrated 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD)/Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) tool for product development that powers industrial design, mechanical engineering and manufacturing with cloud-based collaboration.

“Today’s designers are challenged with a unique opportunity to create products that meet the needs of a growing world population with ever more limited access to material resources,” according to Lynelle Cameron, senior director of Autodesk sustainability and president and CEO of the Autodesk Foundation. “Beyond traditional CAD/CAM tools, designers are looking for cloud-based connected design platforms that facilitate radical collaboration and sophisticated analysis and simulation. Congratulations to Claire Davis, winner of the Best Use of Autodesk 360, for an inspiring demonstration of sustainable design in action.”

In addition to the Challenge prize, Autodesk will also award Davis with one full pass, along with travel, to Autodesk University.

The third Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge was open from February 1-May 3, 2016. The fourth Challenge will open for entries in September, 2016.

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