How can the natural attributes of wood commonly seen as disadvantages, be re-imagined as assets to create novel, sustainable products?
There was a time when wood and wood fibre based materials were used for almost everything in the built environment. Now non-renewables like plastics, metals and concrete have supplanted many of these products. For example, cellophane was largely replaced by plastic wrap and wood street light standards have been largely replaced by concrete or metal. In many cases and in order to compete, we have engineered wood to do what other materials already do well. This is a good thing, but we believe there are additional opportunities for innovation if wood was allowed to do what it does best, naturally. What if wood’s ability to rot, expand and contract or char when burned were reframed as attributes to be designed in, rather than engineered out? Using the past for clues, that is what we will explore in this challenge.
The concepts generated in this challenge must; capitalize on one or more of the unique attributes of wood that are typically seen as a disadvantage (biodegradability, hydroscopic nature, burnability, flexibility, photosensitivity, etc.), be mainly wood though they may also include non-wood materials in a supporting role, and target solutions to important issues in today’s built environment.
The concepts generated in this challenge may; be either industrial products or consumer products, capitalize on new digital technologies (manufacturing, information, electronics), be a system, a discreet product or a product line, and be a product or a product/service combination.
Participants can contribute as much or as little as they wish. That is, you may only comment and give feedback on other’s ideas or you may wish to submit concepts of your own. This challenge emphasizes collaboration. Rewards are given for collaboration and contribution, as well as for best concepts. We have chosen a collaborative approach because we believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The resulting concepts will be used to spark further R&D and ultimately, help bring the world closer to a renewable built environment of the future.
Registration Deadline: Friday, March 22, 2013.
Submission Deadline: Friday, March 22, 2013.
Competition website: Visit website