Case Study SA05: Circular Design Academy

Space Available is a creative platform and ecological design studio on a mission to create a circular future. We create spaces, concepts, products and experiences based on the regenerative principles of the natural world.

Our fifth case study Circular Design Academy focuses on the principles of regeneration and circularity found in nature. It is a result of the insights we gained from the Circular Design Academy workshop sessions held last year in Bali, Paris, Tokyo, and Singapore. The academy spearheads the radical movement of circular design across the pillars of upcycling, recycling, and bio-design.

Future Culture: Innovative Systems and Materials fused with Traditional Craftsmanship

We believe that interdisciplinary collaboration of artists, designers, scientists and environmentalists is the key to bridging the current gap between nature and culture.



Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. The recovery of energy from waste materials is often included in this concept. The recyclability of a material depends on its ability to reacquire the properties it had in its original state. It is an alternative to “conventional” waste disposal that can save material and help lower greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling can prevent the waste of potentially useful materials and reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, thereby reducing energy usage, air pollution (from incineration), and water pollution (from landfilling).

Recycling is a key component of the ‘Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle’ waste hierarchy. Thus, recycling aims toward environmental sustainability by substituting raw material inputs into and redirecting waste outputs out of the economic system. There are some ISO standards related to recycling such as ISO 15270-2008 for plastics waste and ISO 14001-2015 for environmental management control of recycling practice.



Upcycling is the opposite of downcycling, which is the other part of the recycling process. Downcycling involves converting materials and products into new materials, most recycling involves converting or extracting useful materials from a product and creating a different product or material.



Biodesign combines principles from biology, engineering, and design. It involves the application of biological concepts and processes to design products, systems, and technologies that address issues in healthcare, environmental sustainability, agriculture, and more. Going beyond biomimicry, biodesign incorporates living organisms as vital elements that improve the final product’s functionality, thus giving nature an active role in shaping it.


Mycelium Composite

The constant increase in global waste and depletion of natural resources, along with accelerated advances in technological skills and knowledge transfer, lead to the development of advanced bio-based materials that could offer sustainable alternatives for many synthetic materials customarily used in industrial artefacts.

Mycolab is using an integrated technology, a material-driven design process with biotechnological tools, to explore the potential of mycelium based composites as sustainable alternatives in design and furniture applications. Establishing a primary framework to imply mycelium composites in circular production scenarios.


Hand-Dyeing with plant pigments

Natural dyes are dyes or colorants derived from plants, invertebrates, or minerals. The majority of natural dyes are vegetable dyes from plant sources; roots, berries, bark, leaves, wood and other biological sources such as fungi.


Artisan Hand-Stitching

With our artisan hand stitch we encourage the preservation of traditional techniques, innovated only by the use of new world materials which work within our circular system.

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