L-R: Anna Zahedi-Lamarche, Fashion Design winner; Line Didelot, Co-Founder of ANKAA Project ASBL; Franz Fayot, Luxembourg's Minister of the Economy; Credit: Luxinnovation

On Thursday 29 April 2021, the Luxembourg Creative Industries Cluster, managed by Luxinnovation, and the Ministry of the Economy unveiled the winners of the first edition of the Circular by Design Challenge.

This initiative, launched by the Luxembourg Creative Industries Cluster with the support of the Economy Ministry, 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 twelve weeks, between January and March 2021, the ten selected projects (out of 28 applications), including startups and established designers, were accompanied by ten coaches and seven 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," explained Marc Lis, Manager of the Creative Industries Cluster. "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, Franz Fayot, Luxembourg's Minister of the Economy, 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 2021.

"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 Franz 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".

Five winners

At the awards ceremony, which took place partly in person at Luxexpo The Box in Luxembourg-Kirchberg and partly remotely via videoconference, the following winners were rewarded:

• 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 fertiliser)

• 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 companies outside of Luxembourg to apply.