Showcasing regenerative design at MPavilion

Published: 19 April 2023
Attendees are standing and discussing ideas outside.

Eighty per cent of a product's environmental impacts are determined at the design stage. Because of this, design is not just what something looks like, but how it functions, both by itself and within a system.

When design and principles of regeneration come together, design becomes a tool that transforms our economy from a linear one that degenerates both natural and human-made capital, to a regenerative one where businesses are not only reducing their impacts, like waste, but actively pursuing opportunities that regenerate and improve our environment and society. This is why the current focus of the Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre (CEBIC) is circular design. And it’s why CEBIC brought together a panel of 3 circular and regenerative design experts at MPavilion, the outdoor architectural installation and annual temporary Melbourne design and ideas hub.

To expand on regenerative design principles and much more, attendees at the event heard from Dr Ollie Cotsaftis, whose mission is to accelerate our transition towards circular, regenerative, and what he describes as “more-than-human” futures, where we design for other species to thrive.

He discussed the rise of biomaterials and biophilic design, which connects people to the natural world, such as green walls. He also explored the concept of design that tells stories about places, and where design offers an opportunity for learning and engagement, as embodied by MPavilion itself.

Fellow MPavilion presenter Samuel Wines is the Co-Founder of Co-Labs Melbourne, a transdisciplinary innovation hub and biotechnology co-working laboratory.

At the event, he shared his views on regenerative enterprises, such as farmers who leave the land in a better shape than they found it, and businesses that are not just mitigating their environmental destruction, but instead contributing positively to environmental regeneration. He also discussed circular business model frameworks and how they can be translated into planet-positive innovation.

The final presenter was Fiona Meighan, Open Innovator at STREAT and Director of Innovation Practice at Make studio, who spoke about regeneration as a business model, with a focus on food rescue via the work of Moving Feast, a collective of for-purpose food-system organisations.

She demonstrated why behaviour change is essential for the success of a regenerative business model with the example of the Sustainability Victoria-supported Open Sauce project, which reframes waste as a resource.

More resources on regenerative circular design