As the world aims to tackle sustainability challenges, the model of a circular economy, which reuses products and raw materials for as long as possible has emerged as a possible solution.
With the goal of increasing the momentum of realizing a circular economy on a global scale through a creative approach, Loftwork and Fabcafe, a creative community with 13 bases around the world, decided to start from the grassroots level – with creators.
To do so, the companies developed the crQlr (circular) Awards to field innovative and creative circular design projects. During the two-month recruitment period, companies, organizations, startups and designers from 24 countries submitted 204 works. The companies also established a crQlr consortium to encourage applicants and judges to continue to engage in cross-disciplinary exchange, co-creation and promotion even after the awards end.
Nowadays, numerous organizations are implementing sustainability initiatives to solve environmental and social issues and achieve the United Nations’ Sustainability and Developmental Goals (SDGs). However, the success of a sustainable project should not be defined by achieving quantitative targets; fundamental change requires redefining people’s values, social systems and industrial structures.
Circular Economy and Circular Design
One approach to fundamental change is through a “Circular Economy,” which aims to reuse products and raw materials for as long as possible. All industries must implement “circular design” and review their products and services from the supply chain and bring waste disposal closer to zero.
To promote the social implementation of Circular Design, companies and research institutions should further technological innovation, designers and creators should develop new creative ideas and experience design, and governments should implement institutional reform. Efforts must encompass all structures. A single company, organiz
ation or country will find it impossible to reform global standards.
Presenting the creativity and vision of “Future Creators”
Loftwork and FabCafe Global believe that achieving a circular economy requires the collaboration of circular design practitioners in different positions, regions and countries. This collaboration will help “Future Creators” present new forms of creativity and visions. Sharing information about materials, design, and production methods will also be important to eliminate waste.
In collaboration with FabCafe, Loftwork held the crQlr Awards, which shed light on circular design projects worldwide between August and October of 2021. The initiative aims to take the first steps in bringing together designers from different countries for mutual collaboration.
This award not only recognizes projects and ideas in the field of creative circular design but also provides an opportunity for applicants to connect with other participants and with a panel of judges who are at the forefront of circular design.
As a global consortium, “crQlr” hopes to provide circular design practitioners and future creators with new collaborations beyond the awards through different online awards, events, and projects. Creating community-centered design will help solve complex problems and achieve a circular economy.
crQlr (circular) website
- Management body: crQlr Society
- Organizer: FabCafe Global, Loftwork Inc.
- Planning and management: FabCafe Global, Loftwork Inc.
- Producer: Mitsuhiro Suwa (Loftwork Inc.)
- Director: Kelsey Stewart (FabCafe Global), Hiroki Tanahashi (Loftwork Inc.)
- Project Manager: Shikiko Kitajima (Loftwork Inc.)
- Art Director: Yuta Oda (COMPOUND inc.), Rei Yamada (Loftwork Inc.)
- Web Director: Ryohei Sekii (Loftwork Inc.)
- Event Director: Ranna Ogawa, Kelsey Stewart (FabCafe Global) Akane Sakaki, Atsushi Matsunaga, Masanori Kawarada, Hayato Iida (Loftwork Inc.)
- Global Communicator: Kelsey Stewart (FabCafe Global), Rio Kudo (Co., Ltd.) Loftwork)
- PR: Yurika Sasaki, Eri Matsuda, Mariko Suzuki (Loftwork Inc.)
FabCafe Global Founders: Tim Wong (Loftwork Inc., FabCafe Taipei), Kalaya Kovidvisith (FabCafe Bangkok), Cecilia Tham (FabCafe Barcelona, Futurity Studio), Andi Permadi and Gwyneth Jong (FabCafe Kuala Lumpur), Tania Aedo and Federico Hemmer ( FabCafe Mexico City), FabCafe Kyoto (Kosuke Kinoshita), FabCafe Hida (Kotaro Iwaoka), FabCafe Nagoya (Tomohiro Yabashi)
A global, "circular" award design that connects submitted projects to the next stage of development
The crQlr Awards aims to create a “circular” award design. In general, the jury evaluates submitted projects and ideas and then selects the winners. However, the goal of this award does not focus solely on evaluation but provides an opportunity for participants to generate the next course of action. The three key design points are globality, design review, and meet-up events.
Reaching out to circular design practitioners around the world through FabCafe’s global network
To promote social transformation on a global scale, the target audience must inevitably be global.
FabCafe Global reached out to creative circular design practitioners from around the world and received a total of 204 entries from companies, startups and designers in 24 countries worldwide.
The jury consisted of 19 creators and experts who are at the forefront of the circular design fields in their respective countries. After a rigorous review, the projects were chosen.
Design that emphasizes the project’s future and supports actions
One of the challenges of circular design, especially in Japan, is that many innovative projects fail to reach commercialization and social implementation because they do not gain internal approval from companies.
In the crQlr Awards, the judging criteria and award structure are designed with the aim of supporting the continuation of projects. The policy was to evaluate and support motivated and outstanding players in the industry.
Projects are eligible regardless of the degree of accomplishment. They range from ideas in the planning stage to projects originating from personal aspirations. Each jury member selected three to five winning projects.
Expanding awareness of awards and promoting interaction among participants through online events
Loftwork held two online events for applicants to create a sense of connection that transcended physical borders.
The first event, “crQlar Meet-up! vol. 0,” promoted the awards and participation. Loftwork and FabCafe Global invited leading businesses and startups in the area of circular economy to introduce the latest trends and case studies.
The second was the awards ceremony event, crQlr summit 2021. Judges and award winners used this meet-up as an opportunity to discuss and obtain feedback.
Select Award-winning projects
The 63 selected projects came from a wide range of fields and approached circular design differently. Several submitted projects were not bound by existing business frameworks.
Message from Award Judges
The crQlr Awards brought together wonderful circular design practices and ideas from around the world, and we believe that we have curated a valuable collection.
We are confident the more than 200 entries will become a source of inspiration and creativity for new circular design practitioners. It was also of great value as many practitioners gained confidence and new friends by applying and winning the award.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone for the opportunity to be involved in this wonderful award for the realization of a circular future.
Tasuku Kato, President, Harch Corporation
Even after the awards ended, Loftwork, FabCafe Global and the circular economy practitioners continue to actively interact and collaborate through “crQlr”.
Some award winners collaborated with Loftwork on various projects in the field of SDGs, such as smart city initiatives of local governments.
The next “crQlr” initiative is underway. In September 2021, Loftwork organized “crQlr Design scramble“, a workshop held in Tokyo that directly connected people interested in the circular design field to find solutions to complex problems.
In February 2022, FabCafe Bangkok held a “crQlr Design scramble” workshop for “BANGKOK DESIGN WEEK 2022”. The “crQlr Design Scramble” workshop event features winners of the crQlr award 2021. Additionally, discussions and ideathons were held with entrepreneurs who promoted the circular economy in Thailand.
“crQlr” will continue to serve as a global platform that promotes continuous interaction and co-creation among community participants.
Sustainable Executive／FabCafe CCO (Chief Community Officer)
Creative Director / Design Evangelist
Creative Executive／Senior Creative Director