This initiative, launched by the Luxembourg Creative Industries Cluster, managed by Luxinnovation, with the support of the Ministry of the Economy, aims at stimulating the development of new design solutions and innovative business models that are in line with the principles of the circular economy.
For 12 weeks, between January and March, the 10 selected projects (out of 28 applications) – start-ups and established designers – were accompanied by 10 coaches and 7 industrial partners in order to develop their projects and turn them into a concrete economic reality.
“Aligned with our government’s priorities around the circular economy, this first Challenge allows us to create a leverage effect at many levels,” explains Marc Lis, the Creative Industries Cluster manager. “It gives the creative industries sector the necessary professional support and attention it deserves, to showcase its ingenuity and apply its problem-solving spirit.”
In his speech, Minister Franz Fayot emphasised the imperative need to shift the age-old linear economic model towards a circular economy, as supported by the National Circular Economy Strategy presented in February. “Companies that adopt a circular business model use resources more efficiently and seize the opportunity to develop new services and identify new revenue streams and markets, while protecting the environment,” Minister Fayot explained. “The Circular by Design Challenge has not only raised the awareness of the circular economy among different industries, but also fostered and initiated new business partnerships. The design of products is crucial and represents one of the very first steps in their development. This Challenge provides the Luxembourg manufacturing industry with access to circular design skills.”
Resources are key to our economy and our society. “I am optimistic that the need to change is and will be a huge opportunity to change for the better, to solve the problems stemming from the linear model and to create an bright future for our children”, added Christian Tock, Deputy Director General, Industry, New Technologies and Research at the Ministry of the Economy.
During her keynote speech, Adriana Galijasevic, Denim, Sustainability & Circularity Expert, gave an overview of the benefits of a circular approach in the fashion sector and stressed the importance of eco-design.
“Today’s challenge is that most of the waste we have was never designed to be reused in the first place and we often find ourselves retro-engineer the solutions into the problem. Moving forward, it is vital to design holistically with an intent for the next use by implementing safe materials, clean energy and processes that respect water, soil and all life.”
She considers that this approach is an enabler of innovation, across supply chains and products. “Furthermore, it fosters transparency, responsible and collaborative human behavior, diversified infrastructure and new business models which are all necessary in driving systemic change towards circular economy.”
And the winners are
At the awards ceremony, which took place partly in person at Luxexpo The Box and partly remotely via videoconference, the following winners were honoured:
- Anna Zahedi-Lamarche (Fashion category) for her project Nana & Rose (sustainable maternity clothes rental)
- Julie Conrad (category Interior Design) for her project Cego (circular workspace systems)
- Marko Klacar (Product Design category) for his project Capriole (sustainable coffee fertilizer)
- Filip Westerlund (category Mobility) for his project Our Choice (circular trainers)
- Gouda Treciokaite (Special Jury Award) for her Kombucha leather project.
“Creative industries are an important part of the Luxembourg economy, and the Circular by Design Challenge has clearly demonstrated the power of collaboration between the creative and other economic sectors,” said Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation, in her closing remarks. “We are here to encourage this collaboration and help our economy thrive in an open, innovative and sustainable way.”
A second edition of the Circular by Design Challenge has already been announced for this autumn, with an opportunity for foreign companies to apply.
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