HRH Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, has joined forces with ex-Apple design guru Sir Jony Ive to launch a new initiative aimed at finding high-impact, low-cost solutions to the problems faced by nature, people and the planet.
The programme, dubbed the Terra Carta Design Lab, will be open to students at the Royal College of Art (RCA), of which Sir Jony has been chancellor since 2017. More than 2,300 RCA students drawn from the college’s four schools – architecture, arts and humanities, communication and design – representing more than 70 countries, will be joined by RCA alumni from 2011–21, Together, they will collaborate in multidisciplinary teamsto ‘create small designs that can make a big impact for the world’s transition to a sustainable future’.According to the initiative’s launch statement, participants will be offered the opportunity to explore ‘local initiatives to restore biodiversity, reduce greenhouse gases, support developing countries and catalyse a new economic and social model that realigns people with their environment.’
A panel of the RCA’s senior academic staff will assess the projects based on a trio of metrics: feasibility, measurable impact and potential to present engaging and inspiring solutions to urgent problems. In November, during the COP26 UN climate change conference, ashortlist of up to 16 concepts will be presented to a jury that will include Prince Charles, Sir Jony and RCA vice chancellor Paul Thompson, alongside strategic and supporting partners of the Prince’s Terra Carta Design Lab and the Sustainable Markets Initiative.
The jury’s decision will be announced in 2022 and the winning designers will be provided with the strategic and financial support necessary to turn their ideas into reality.The winners will also be given the opportunity to receive mentoring from Sir Jony, who served as chief design officer at Apple, helping to design the iPhone, iPod and iPad.
According to Sir Jony, the Terra Carta Design Lab represents ‘a visionary and imaginative way of helping to address the world’s increasingly urgent environmental problems’.
‘Often the biggest challenges demand the most ingenious, most creative thinking, which is why I’m so excited about the work that the RCA students will be able to contribute through this collaboration,’ he said. ‘I know that their creativity and inventiveness will develop truly powerful solutions.’ ‘Small ideas can have a big impact if they are supported with the right design, science and engineering, and that is the key idea behind today’s Terra Carta Design Lab,’ the Prince said.