More From The SustainRCA Show 2013

The SustainRCA Show & Awards is a celebration of sustainable design thinking at the Royal College of Art, London. See our previous article for the winners of the Awards… read on for the work of more students selected from programmes across the College – spanning four categories: Moving Minds, Solutions for Society, Inspired Products and Visionary Process.



Diana is focused on looking at waste as a resource, to empower small businesses and communities. The idea is to create an alternative service for waste collection in order to fuel a series of local waste labs, which would transform waste into functional products for public use. Local waste, local collection, local process, for local use.

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SustainRCA Show & Awards 2013

Part of the London Design Festival, and one of our absolute favourites of the year, SustainRCA Show & Awards, featuring a selection of some of the best work of Royal College of Art graduates. Projects propose an exciting vision of future living, while tackling a wide range of perspectives on the sustainability challenges we face today.


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SustainRCA Talk On
Big Data & Our Digital Universe

The digital universe is set to grow to eight zettabytes by 2015, according to IBM (and just so you know, a zettabyte is approximately a million terabytes). We’re told the insights from this vast Big Data resource will drive new business models, products and services, and steer our future food, transport and energy systems. The intangibility of figures, however, means finding and communicating relevance and value is one of its greatest challenges.


As part of a series of talks to inspire students to embrace sustainability in their projects, SustainRCA invited three experts to discuss their work: Angela Morelli, Vin Sumner and Richard Gilbert are using data visualisation and gamification (which is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in a non-game context) in order to solve problems and change the way we manufacture products, consume goods and supply energy.

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SustainRCA Hosts An Audience With
The Divine Cocoa Farmers

SustainRCA, The Royal College of Art’s initiative to encourage sustainability through art and design, last week hosted an event introducing the Divine Chocolate farmers, Mary Appiah and Esther Ephraim, from Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana, who were in the UK for Fairtrade Fortnight.

Mary and Esther – who had arrived in the UK wrapped in fur coats, expecting our freezing temperatures – gave us an insight into their lives in tropical Ghana.


The talk was chaired by Tom Allen of Trading Visions, who oversees projects for small-scale producers from developing countries. The charity Trading Visions was established in 2003 to build on a long-standing Fairtrade education initiative undertaken in partnership between Divine Chocolate, Comic Relief and Kuapa Kokoo.

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RCA Sustain Talk:

BOUGHT & SOUL-ED was number 3 in the series of Sustain Talks organised by the Sustain RCA group. The subject was how to put the soul back into our communities and kick-start the economy of the local high street through art, design and social enterprise. It was hosted by Clare Brass of the RCA and chaired by Liz Cox, an economist for the New Economics Foundation.

The evening  began with a first year RCA architecture student talking about his participation in the project Pop-Down Square. This was the winning entry for a competition brief to create a use for derelict land near Wembley Stadium in Brent, London.

Interior of pop down space

‘Pop-Down Square’ concept for Brent, London, by graduate group Mike Lim, Shoichi Sado, Olivia Wright and Isobel Davies.

The team designed a large adaptable deck area. The expectation is that Pop-Down Square will provide some much needed space in this corner of Brent for creative and social entrepreneurs. Local organisations, individuals, businesses and community groups are now being sought to bid to become tenants of the Pop-Down Square, as part of a nationwide competition.

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What Has Nature
Ever Done For Us?

It’s been estimated that nature is worth as much as $100 trillion annually to the global economy. Yet we take most of Nature’s services for granted, imagining them to be free and limitless.


Tony Juniper used to run Friends of the Earth. Now he’s written a book, titled What Has Nature Ever Done For Us? with the aim of changing the way we think about life, nature and the economy. On Jan 10 we went to one of the RSA’s Lunchtime Events to hear him speak, in conversation with Jo Confino.


The point that Tony gets across in his book is that we’ve lost sight of the dependence we have on nature in economic terms, and that we’re ‘blowing natural capital’ in a way that doesn’t make sense for our long-term welfare. He argues that the global economy is underpinned by natural resources and, rather than ruthlessly exploiting them, we should find a way of putting a proper value on them. Nature does so much for us – and it will keep doing this – but we need to take steps to make sure that it happens.

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Sustain RCA Talk On
Making It Your Business

To mark World Toilet Day (19 Nov) we were privy to No.2 in this years series of talks on Sustainable Design, at the RCA, London. Organised and presented by Clare Brass of Sustain RCA, the talk, of course, was about excrement. It raised the question of why we see it as waste, when it’s so rich in minerals? Shouldn’t it be a resource? We don’t value our poo at all, and this wasn’t always the case. In 1910 in Tokyo it was valuable and was sold. It could raise enough to pay rent on a small apartment.

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Sustain RCA Talk On
Disruptive Food Systems

The RCA Sustain Talks take place at the Royal College of Art and we attended the most recent one, where the theme was Disruptive Food Systems.  These talks are a series of lectures which are open to students, staff and also external visitors looking to address sustainability in their work.  The speakers were Andrew Thornton of Budgens Crouch End, Kelvin Cheung of Food Cycle, Charlie Paton of the Seawater Greenhouse Project and Julene Aguirre Bielschowsky of project ENTO.

First up was Julene Aguirre Bielschowsky representing a group of RCA masters students who collaborated on a project known as Ento.  The aim of the project is to introduce edible insects to the western diet by the year 2020.

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