What is Closed Loop Design?

You might have heard me mentioned closed loop or circular design before, it’s a principle that is rapidly gaining momentum within the sustainable design world. What exactly is closed loop design?

The phrase closed loop refers to using a circular method of design and production (produce, use, recycle back into production), where traditional design is linear (produce, use, dispose). In simple terms it means designing a product that can be recycled at the end of its life to create a new product.

"Why should we design a new thing? In addition to aesthetics, the object must have a value in terms of materiality or durability. The items we have chosen must give something in return – through longevity, decomposability or the way in which they are produced." - Jannicke Kråkvik

Increasingly designers from all sectors are developing systems and products that are closed loop so let’s take a look at a couple of them!

Joost Bakker //

Joost has been a frequent feature on the Semper Journal, and with good reason. He is at the forefront of the Zero Waste movement, installation designer, floral stylist, environmental activist and a ground-breaking creative and designer. He approaches design the same way he approaches food, his most recent project, The Greenhouse is a two-bedroom residence that will allow the inhabitants to live completely off the grid, produce their own food and create no waste (including effluents). All of the construction materials have been selected to be recyclable at the end of the installation.

Mater Design //

Mater is a Furniture design studio in Denmark that has turned 2.2 tons of plastic waste from the sea into 800 conference chairs. Their ethos is based around the idea of circular living, designing with the purpose of avoiding waste ending up in landfill or, worse, the ocean. They recently launch their Mask Stool which is made from leftover grain from beer and plastic insulin pens.

COS X Arthur Mamou-Mani //

French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani teamed up with fashion label COS to create an installation made from 700 bioplastic bricks for Milan Design Week. The structure is made up of ‘bio-bricks’ that are 100% compostable.

Mae Architects //

Mae Architects designed a community centre in west London using a circular design principles. Their approach to closed loop design is ensuring the building and the materials in use for as long as possible, reducing the waste and carbon footprint of the construction and demolition phases. For the community centre they created a ‘flexible interior’, which means the space is easily adaptable to all of the functions and activities, also, it is forward thinking and allows modifying the building less complicated. They built the structure from materials with low embodied energy, including a special brick made from construction waste. The fittings were also recyclable wherever possible, for example they used bolts instead of glue.


About Amelia //

Hi there! My name is Amelia, I am the creative director and owner of Semper Interiors. I created Semper Interiors after working in hospitality studios for many years, during that time I found myself feeling increasingly guilty about the waste created throughout each project. I wanted to be able to design and create spaces that have a minimal impact on our beautiful earth. My approach to sustainability is based around ensuring my projects have longevity in both quality and aesthetic, supporting local trades, artisans and suppliers and using natural materials.

Semper Interiors a bespoke interior design studio based in New Farm Brisbane that focuses on sustainability and conscious construction practices. If you are interested in how we can help you make your home or business more environmentally conscious and beautifully designed please get in touch at hello@semperinteriors.com.au.

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