sustainable design examples



Design is implemented across the phases of the lifecycle of a product. End-of-life, production, distribution and consumption are the main phase of a product’s lifecycle. Current models follows a linear process where the product is produced, consumed then thrown away. Cyclic designs new ways of producing, distributing, using the product to achieve a more circular model. For each of the lifecycle’s phase, Cyclic researches ways to make it more efficient, for instance ways of saving resources or reducing the production of waste. The design process is based on a design thinking process. This includes a first step of exploration of the customer’s problems or the application user-centred methods (through empathy interviews and quantitative surveys). Once the problem has been framed and the design constraints have been identified, the ideation phase begins. Here many ideas are generated and subsequently refined. The final step is to visualise and prototype the ideas. 

end-of-life phase

In this phase, we explore what happens when the product is not usable anymore. Hence, we look at how we can design products which minimise the simple disposal in a waste bin, rather how the product can be re-used and easily recycled. 

Name: Nepenthes

Environmental consideration: Disposable plastic packaging in the personal care sector

Client: Open Innovation

Description: Nepenthes is a revolutionary packaging system which enables the user to refill the content when it ends.

Name: binee

Environmental consideration: Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Client: binee

Description: binee incentives users to recycle their old electronic devices. By installing e-waste collection points in conventient location, people can recycle their old electronics and get a reward back.

Name: Modulo 8

Environmental consideration: Disposable design of umbrellas

Client: The great recovery

Description: Modulo 8 is a modular umbrella design composed by components which can be easily replaced. It is a smart alternative that eliminates the concept of waste and create a circular product’s lifecycle.


The design of the product will affect how the product will be produced. This phase is especially relevant for the aesthetics of the product, so how the product looks and feel. The strategy is to identify which material an production process are the most ecological.  

Name: Biomorphic

Environmental consideration: No-waste production process of furniture

Client: Oak Ridge National laboratory

Description: Biomorphic is a desk design made by stretching plastic between a top and bottom surfaces, thus reducing the amount of material needed during fabrication.

Name: Robotic Infiltration

Environmental consideration: No-waste production process of public installation

Client: Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien

Description: Digital fabrication process is used not to generate standardized structural elements but one-time unique objects for efficient structural stability.


Design also affects how the product reaches the consumer. Once the product leaves the manufacturing plant, does it reach directly the user or through thrid parties. Therefore we explore different business models in order to reach a more circular lifecycle for the product. 

Name: Nektar Drops

Environmental consideration: Disposable nature of personal care products

Client: OpenIdeo

Description: Nektar is a refillable packaging system which is conveniently installed in the bathroom.

Name: Fillosofy

Environmental consideration: Disposable nature of personal care products

Client: Not disclosed

Description: Fillosofy is a refill system kit for personal care items. The kit consists of a refillable bottle and a single use pouch, both made of 100% recyclable material.


In this phase we analyse what is the user experience when using the product. The aim is that the user should love using the product. In order to achieve this, user feedback is gathered and used to iterate the product. 

Name: Window energy optimizer

Environmental consideration: Renewable energy in buildings

Client: Leaftech GmbH

Description: Leaftech provides tailor-made solar energy solutions for the built environment. It offers a complete package to increase window sided energy efficiency.

Name: Oceanid

Environmental consideration: Water saving in the bathroom

Client: Roca International Design Competition

Description: The system stores the water used for washing hands and uses it to flush the toilet. The user can flush the toilet with the water used to wash his hands previously.

Name: Aetherius

Environmental consideration: Renewable energy in public installation

Client: Land Art Generator

Description: Aetherius is a public installation which generates energy from wind. Renewable energy harvesting is interpreted as an infrastructure to integrate the public.