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Art & Culture

London Design Festival 2020: Where design meets circularity

By September 24, 2020May 23rd, 2023No Comments
(image courtesy of London Design Festival – The Circular Design Project)

The Circular Design Project, supported by SAP and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, takes centre stage at this year’s LDF, illustrating the increasingly important role of designers in achieving a circular economy.

Every September, the London Design Festival (LDF) celebrates and promotes London as the design capital of the world. This year’s virtual edition highlights the shift towards sustainability and circularity in design through the Circular Design Project. Curated by SAP Business Software and the  Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the initiative aims to increase our understanding of basic circular design principles and seeks to catalyse change in the mentality of designers and the creative community, by equipping them with inspiration, stories and resources for maximum circular impact.

Awarded with the Design Innovation Medal, Dame Ellen MacArthur explains the role of her foundation in promoting circular design:

“When we started working to accelerate the transition to a circular economy ten years ago, we knew that a new approach to design would be critical: it’s about deciding from the outset to design in a way whereby products, components, and materials stay in the system.”

Through seminars and panel discussions around circularity, consumption and design, the project highlights the benefits of a circular design mindset on both a personal and professional level.

This year’s contributors include some of the world’s largest brands with the potential to significantly impact global material flows, independent emerging circular designers, and agencies guiding today’s design innovation standards and investments. The sessions demonstrate how a circular future starts with design, and how designers can influence the products, services, and systems around us – and how that can be achieved at scale.

As Joe Iles, Circular Design Lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation notes:

“The design and creative sector plays an essential role in shifting our economy from linear to circular. By applying a circular design approach, designers can influence whether their new creation will ultimately end up as waste, or remain within a circular economy, providing value.”

In the opening session, SAP’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Daniel Schmid, highlights the importance of connecting designers around the world and arming them with principles and best practices to design for a circular economy and extending these beyond the industry.  He demonstrates that in solving the issue of single-use plastic packaging there is a need to bring together designers, consumer brands, retailers, the waste management industry, the packaging industry, as well as a consideration for various national regulations.

“You need to enable consumers making informed decisions. So, with this project I believe we can do a tremendous job by really driving the acceleration towards circularity and in particular attracting the key community of designers.”

Daniel Schmid, Chief Sustainability Officer, SAP

Following the 9-day Festival, the project will continue to develop, and be promoted at design events across the world, leading up to an installation and exhibition at London Design Festival 2021, before having the opportunity for presenting and to be presented at COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021.

Explore the full sessions here: