Wearables for cows and flying seed-delivery vehicles are among the winners of the inaugural Terra Carta Design Lab, which were announced on International Design Day.
Four teams of Royal College of Art (RCA) students and alumni were selected from a total of 125 original submissions as the winners of the initiative, which was conceived by the RCA’s Royal Visitor HRH The Prince of Wales and RCA Chancellor, Sir Jony Ive, and launched in July 2021. Entrants were invited to create high-impact, low-cost solutions to urgent environmental challenges.The winners will receive £50,000 to help further develop their ideas, as well as mentoring from Sir Jony, founder of the creative collective LoveFrom and former chief design officer at Apple, as well as members of the Sustainable Markets Initiative global network.
The four winners were Aerseeds, Amphibio, the Tyre Collective and ZELP.
Designed to aid ecological regeneration and reforestation, Aerseeds are aerodynamic nutrient-and-seed pods made from food waste. Mimicking natural processes, Aerseeds are carried by the wind to cover large areas and reach difficult-to-reach areas. ‘It’s been our dream to make Aerseeds a reality. Getting a chance to do it with Terra Carta Design Lab is an invaluable opportunity,’ said Bike and Begum Ayaskan of Aerseeds. ‘We hope Aerseeds will inspire people to bring nature into the centre of the discussion and to work with natures forces to find simpler solutions to climate change.
Amphibio focused on performance outdoor textiles, which are currently impossible to recycle and require many harmful chemicals to manufacture. It has developed Amphitex, the first 100 per cent recyclable and chemical-free outdoor performance textile. It will be made from a combination of recycled and plant-based feedstock, resulting in a world-first carbon-negative performance textile.‘For the Amphibio team that developed Amphitex, winning the Terra Carta Design Lab allows us to kick-start the recycling pilot with our partners and fully complete our circular material and textile value proposition,’ said Jun Kamei Amphibio’s CEO and founder. ‘Part of the prize will also be used to develop bio-based feedstock that can be integrated with our current raw material without compromising the recyclability, with the goal to reach carbon neutral or even carbon negative with our outdoor performance textile.’
The Tyre Collective set out to solve the problem of tyre wear, which is the second-largest microplastic pollutant in our environment. It’s developing a device to capture tyre wear at the wheel, accelerating the shift to zero-emission mobility. As well as spearheading the capture and monitoring of tyre wear, the team is exploring upcycling it into various applications, creating a circular system. ‘We are very honoured to win the Terra Carta Design Lab and are excited to get started!’ said the collective’s Siobhan Anderson, Hanson Cheng and Hugo Richardson. ‘It’s not enough to capture pollution, there needs to be a method to manage this waste. Terra Carta allows us to explore the potential applications of captured tyre wear.’
ZELP (Zero Emissions Livestock Project) took as its starting point the fact that 1.6 billion cattle, each exhaling 400 litres of methane per day, are one of the single leading causes of global warming. It has designed a wearable device for cattle to neutralise methane emissions in real time. ‘Winning the Terra Carta Design Lab is a huge honour for ZELP,’ said the project’s Francisco Norris. ‘This is the perfect platform to accelerate a climate solution with a strong design element and we are eager to continue optimising our technology with the endorsement and the support of Terra Carta. To deliver substantial emissions reductions globally, addressing the largest source of methane emissions is key – and we remain as motivated as ever to scale our solution and play a part in the decarbonisation of the agricultural sector.’
‘We can all have good ideas. I find it reassuring, particularly facing the overwhelming challenge of climate change, that we can all contribute ideas that could evolve into valuable solutions,’ Ive said. ‘I love not only the power of a good idea but how egalitarian and inclusive they can be.
‘All the Terra Carta Design Lab winners have ideas and designs that deserve to be developed,’ he continued. ‘The ingenuity and determination of these designers have produced some extraordinarily creative responses, and they now embark on the journey to turn these great ideas into practical solutions.’
The winning projects will feature in the Terra Carta Design Lab Exhibition, which runs from 28 April to 12 May in the RCA’s Dyson Gallery. The exhibition brings together work by the 20 finalists who were shortlisted in February 2022.