Anastasia Jovicic, MA Eco Social Design, expected 2024: Looped
Upcycling furniture and mindsets
The thesis investigates the feasibility of integrating furniture waste into a sustainable supply chain through upcycling. It finds that fast furniture products are often discarded prematurely due to changing consumer needs and trends. The design of these products, not intended for disassembly or reuse, contributes to their disposal, highlighting a lack of sustainability in the industry. The research identifies that furniture waste has more significant potential than incineration and that recycling centers are open to more sustainable solutions. The study outlines potential networks and partnerships for building a local upcycling network scalable to different areas. The critical contribution of the thesis is the transparency it provides on the fast furniture industry's supply chain, from consumer behavior to disposal systems, and its evaluation of various factors for a more sustainable solution.
Thamjee Sugaravardeen, MA Eco Social Design, expected 2024: Not so school
A critical design approach to address dropouts among scheduled tribes in India
The Thesis critically examines the education system for Indigenous students in India and explores the power dynamics involved. It aims to create meaningful dialogues through design interventions, encouraging community involvement and emphasizing local wisdom. Despite the transformative potential of education, which attracts national and international investment in rural Indian education, underlying issues persist. These include a lack of authority commitment, teacher absenteeism, poor infrastructure, irrelevant curricula, and minimal community engagement, leading to high dropout rates among tribal students. The project recognizes the need for diverse solutions to this complex educational crisis and uses design to address, challenge, and propose new approaches.
Johanna Dobrusskin, MA Eco Social Design, expected 2024: The Role of Design in Ethnobotanical Education
What are the leverage points for design interventions to foster general plant knowledge and help preserve and revitalize ethnobotanical practices in the broader public of Switzerland?
In Switzerland and other central European countries, a loss and lack of basic botanical knowledge in the broader public is perceivable. Urbanization and the resulting disconnection from the vegetal world, the loss of languages, and the lack of appropriate education at all levels have resulted in a diminished understanding of the world's workings. This leads to a diminished willingness to contribute to climate and biodiversity protection and to uninformed policy and decision-making.
Ethnobotanical knowledge should not be forgotten due to its potential for solving current crises such as nutrition scarcity and vulnerable monoculture. To design projects that counteract this loss of knowledge, this work focuses on framing several leverage points for design interventions that could help preserve and revitalize ethnobotanical practices in the broader mass of Swiss citizens. These leverage points should inform the ideation phase to assess the potential of different ideas and prototypes. Design might not be the sole solution to the problem, but it can work as a translator and connecting point between scientific disciplines and the public. Design professionals who want to work in this field should, ergo, develop a transdisciplinary approach to projects and learn how to work between disciplines.
Angela Wicki, MA Design 2022, MAD Price'22: Regenerative education
A teachers' network to promote education in and with nature.
The Regenerative Education Network creates space for regular meetings to facilitate and promote teachers' and stakeholders' exchange, networking, and cooperation. The website provides an overview of existing offers, courses, and further training from all relevant organizations and associations in Switzerland's outdoor and nature education field. The research highlighted the need for an offer for regular exchange as part of the written master's thesis in January 2022.
The great interest in the first ""Regenerative Education"" network meeting confirmed the research findings. Teachers would like a platform to meet on an ongoing basis and work together on teaching ideas and visions. The exchange of implicit practical knowledge plays a vital role in this. With this knowledge, teachers can overcome the last hurdles and thus significantly contribute to implementing outdoor lessons. All pupils should be allowed to learn outdoors one day a week all year round. Regeneration means an improved quality of life for everyone involved, including nature. The goal is a critical-thinking, self-effective, and sensitized generation of students who recognize the value of the natural environment and act accordingly. The revolution in regenerative education begins with networking!
Joel Hügli, MA Design 2022, MA Design Price'22, Swiss Design Award'23: ECOMADE - Ecological Mattress Design
Design strategies, recycling concepts and material research for circular mattresses
Why are up to 1 million mattresses disposed of in Switzerland every year and none of them are recycled? The vision of ECOMADE is to initiate a paradigm shift towards a sustainable and circular mattress industry. In view of the fact that 90% of the ecological footprint of mattresses is linked to the materials used, the focus has therefore been on the aspects of materials, recycling and design. Exploratory material and process developments were carried out in collaboration with the industry. This resulted in practical strategies for Swiss mattress manufacturers on how they can become more sustainable and customer-friendly through product design.
With the support of: Mattress Alliance Switzerland,
Roviva Roth & Cie and Ikea Foundation Switzerland
Chhail Khalsa, MA Design 2019: Anuvad – Translating Crafts
Anuvad (meaning: Translation in Hindi) integrates E-textile technology in traditional crafts. The collaboration with craftsmen in rural villages and tech experts developed a range of heated rugs, heated cushions (to provide heat in places where conventional heating solutions are scarce) and LEDs embedded in scarves (for visibility and security). These products show the seamless integration of technology in textiles through weaving. Anuvad creates sustainable smart materials by enabling traditional crafts to grow in the ‘digital era'. This project shows the potential in the age-old skills of traditional craftsmanship and takes it forward to the future.
Meri Zirkelbach, MA Design 2019: White Wood
Modified raw material wood - technology transfer through the collaboration of designers and scientists.
White Wood is a material concept based on wood. Compared to the natural raw material wood, a chemical treatment combined with compaction achieves the tripling of tensile strength and stiffness. A further material advantage is its deformability in the wet state, which allows the production of complex shapes and design elements. The WhiteWood project analysed the design and material science collaboration via a “Material Diversity” approach.