Product category

The product competition category invites submissions of products that are available on the German market including products from all sectors and all areas of design. The following four products ultimately went on to win the award:

‘1 für 4 Papier’ (1 for 4 paper)

“1 für 4 Papier” (1 for 4 paper) is a pure cellulose paper produced from timber. Thanks to a specific mechanical treatment, the paper is greaseproof, heat resistant and suitable for direct contact with food. As such, it can replace conventional household products such as aluminium and plastic wrap, as well as siliconised baking paper. Compostella uses FSCcertified timber obtained during forest maintenance.

Jury statement:
“In terms of content as well as technically, ‘1 für 4 Papier’ (1 for 4 Paper) is an exceptionally innovative product with many application possibilities and extremely convincing product qualities. It is petroleum-free, food-safe, heat-resistant, robust, elastic and, above all, compostable. This saves a great deal of resources in use and disposal.”
Prof. em. Günter Horntrich

Three questions for COMPOSTELLA

Can you remember the moment when you first had the idea for “1 für 4 Papier” (1 for 4 Paper)?
How did the idea become a product?

In the 80's, I worked in a paper factory, where I was responsible for the marketing. We wanted to test whether it would be possible to manufacture a fully compostable paper to offer to McDonalds, who at the time were looking for an eco-friendly packaging for their hamburgers. We succeeded in this aim, namely the development of a naturally pure paper that was completely free of chemical additives and which composted completely within just a few days in the open air. McDonalds were positive about the idea but not about the price, and so the paper was turned down. But I felt clearly that this paper must have a future.

What was your personal highlight in the development process for “1 für 4 Papier” (1 for 4 Paper)?
Was there a low point?

Unquestionably, the low point was when I realised that the paper was not selling because it was too expensive. Then the paper factory went bankrupt and I had to quit and look elsewhere for a living. In the meantime, I’m seeing that the best times for the paper are only just beginning, when the contamination of streams, rivers, lakes and seas with microplastics is being laid bare. The personal high point is yet to come and I'm sure everything will have its time. For this paper, the best times are now beginning, with many people realising: “Man, if we use this paper, we don’t need any plastic films!”

Where do you see yourself and your project in the next five years?
As for the future, I see myself as a forerunner for compostable alternatives. My motto is: it’s not recycling that represents the future but composting. This is because recycled products are always burned at the end of their lifecycle, whereupon they disappear irretrievably. With composting on the other hand, the products decompose into the soil and thus serve as fertile ground for new life.

Cocccon, Creativity can care

The use of chemicals in silkworm breeding poses a threat to numerous species of animals and plants. Cocccon has developed a natural product that achieves results similar to those of chemical fungicides and pesticides but which does not interrupt the metamorphosis of the silkworms. In this way, Cocccon has successfully manufactured GOTS-certified organic silk that has already been used in fashion collections. In addition, information about the silk making process is passed on with every piece of silk that is sold.

Jury statement:
“This project is characterised by the production of high quality silk textiles in the context of animal welfare alongside proper consideration of its impact on the direct environment and biodiversity of the region. An entirely healthy and fair supply chain that does not disrupt the metamorphosis of the silkworms has been created on the basis of a conventional silk farm.”
Prof. Friederike von Wedel-Parlow

Three questions for Cocccoon

Can you remember the moment when you first had the idea for Fashion4Biodiversity?
How did the idea become a product?

We knew from the first moment that it would be a long path. When Cocccon acquired the conventional silk farm in 2011, the soil was completely barren due to the excessive and unnecessary use of chemicals as well as the lack of microorganisms. We did not doubt for a moment that our sustainable ecological business model "Fashion4Biodiversity" would go on to be a sustainable and successful project.

What was your personal highlight in the development process for Fashion4Biodiversity?
Was there a low point?

Our personal highlight is the cooperation with local people and the exchange of knowledge. It's nice to see how the project is evolving step by step in the right direction, and how we have managed to reclaim a piece of nature. There are low points and setbacks in every project. Our strengths lie in our belief in doing the right thing and never giving up.

Where do you see yourself and your project in the next five years?
Our goal is to establish Cocccon as the world leader in sustainable, fair and ecologically produced Ahisma silk (also known as ‘peace silk’) and silk products in the luxury segment, as well as to develop eco-fabrics and other marketable products from organic raw materials. Our vision is to create a sustainable village with educational and eco-tourism in order to spread the idea of "Fashion4Biodiversity".

‘SHIFT6m’ is a modularly constructed smartphone. Click and screw connections facilitate the repair of components and help to extend the service life. The company also offers tutorials and supplies corresponding tools to assist in the process of repair and maintenance. The warranty is not affected if the device is opened and the company has also set up a deposit return system if it needs replacing. SHIFT6m is produced under fair working conditions.

Jury statement:
“The ‘SHIFT6m’ is a flagship project in an industry where sustainability has previously scarcely featured. This smartphone takes into account every aspect of ecological product design. Particularly worthy of note are the modular construction, the repair instructions and the return system, all of which contribute to longevity and the conservation of resources. Moreover, it is entirely unlike the design of its competitors, and thus represents a genuine environmentally friendly alternative!”
Dr. Thomas Holzmann

Three questions for SHIFT

Can you remember the moment when you first had the idea for SHIFT?
How did the idea become a product?

Oh yes, we can remember the moment very well. We had just successfully completed a crowdfunding campaign for our mobile camera crane, the iCrane. The idea of crowdfunding inspired us and raised the question of what would come next. It should actually have been a field monitor, but the deeper we got into the development, the more it made sense for us to construct a more universal device, namely a ‘phablet’. Because this period spanned several weeks, it felt less like a moment and more of a process. But we do remember a moment when Carsten, Samuel and Rolf were sitting together at the meeting table when they realised: We are now a smartphone manufacturer.

What was your personal highlight in the development process for SHIFT?
Was there a low point?

Actually, SHIFT GmbH shouldn’t really exist. The fact that two brothers together with their father and without capital or any background in the construction of smartphones should be able to find enough crowdfunding supporters to trust them and finance the project is completely unbelievable. For us, it’s a miracle that we found the right partners and suppliers that accept our non-standard ideas. SHIFT was only realised thanks to our crowdfunding supporters, the incredibly motivated team, and our friends and family, who always encouraged us. The personal highlights are when we talk to SHIFT partners or customers and see them share the same spark of enthusiasm and passion in which the seemingly impossible becomes possible.

Where do you see yourself and your project in the next five years?
Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about the fact that we are always having new ideas that we will want to implement in the coming years. First and foremost our SHIFTmu, which is a worldwide unique project that turns the smartphone into a universal device. In one moment it’s a tablet, and in the next it’s a fully-fledged PC or smartphone.

We like smart technological products and our upcoming projects will see us moving into new areas. In addition, we want to make our products increasingly modular as well as sustainable. With our SHIFTPHONES, we want to send out a signal to the technology market. Maybe in five years, the majority of manufacturers will be manufacturing in the same module-based and sustainable fashion as ourselves.

‘VELOSPEEDER’ is an ultra-light retrofittable bicycle engine. Once attached to the rear wheel rim, the friction wheel drive transforms any conventional bicycle into a pedelec. The bicycle is driven by a pair of electric motors fastened to the rims, with no damage or alterations to the rims themselves. Significant resources are saved in the course of manufacturing compared to larger hub- or centrally-mounted motors.

Jury statement:
“The ‘VELOSPEEDER’ convinces thanks to a well thought-out drive concept that allows existing bikes to be retrofitted into fully-fledged e-bikes with manageable effort. This facilitates and encourages the urgently needed switch from cars to more resource- and environmentally compatible forms of individual mobility.”
Andreas Detzel

Three questions for VELOGICAL engineering

Can you remember the moment when you first had the idea for VELOSPEEDER?
How did the idea become a product?

In the late autumn of 2011, the partner of Peter Frieden suggested approaching Ogando about marketing his inventive ideas in the area of bicycle technology. During the subsequent conversation, we discovered that we are both interested in the development of small, lightweight motors for e-mobility. We proceeded with the project and the first somewhat makeshift construction using modified commercial model aircraft motors performed surprisingly well. This key experience gave us the motivation to develop a friction drive for bicycles, with variable contact pressure and running on the edge of the rim.

What was your personal highlight in the development process for VELOSPEEDER?
Was there a low point?

A highlight was certainly the moment in late 2012 when the first self-constructed prototypes were ready and working. In that instant, it became clear that we were on the right path, and so we founded the company VELOGICAL as a limited liability company from the very beginning. One low point was during the unexpectedly hot summer of 2015 when it was evident that we needed to install thermal protection in the small motors. In the meantime, this problem is long solved.

Where do you see yourself and your project in the next five years?
In five years, we will have perfected the VELOSPEEDER drive as far as it can go. In keeping with our self-conception, we are keeping our feet on the ground and only gradually expanding sales and production, at present initially with end customers, the first dealers and selected manufacturers. We are open to business partnerships for the use of our patents in the development of bulk business in Europe, the US and China.

Concept category

The Concept competition category invites submissions from pioneering concepts, studies and pilot projects. The following project "Magnic Microlights" was ultimately granted the 2018 German Federal Ecodesign Award:

‘Magnic Microlights’ are brake blocks with integrated dynamo bicycle lights. The combination of brake block and lighting element is non-contact and functions on the basis of eddy-currents. Moreover, it does not require any additional components and can also be fitted on bikes with aluminium wheel rims. The novel product does away with the need for batteries, failure-prone cables or additional brackets.

Jury statement:
“An extremely efficient solution: Through the use of neodymium magnets, the spinning rim generates a frictionless eddy current that powers the bicycle lights. There’s no need for a battery. Thanks to the clever mounting on the existing brake pad brackets, the product consists of only a minimum of components.”
Prof. Matthias Held

Three questions for Magnic Innovations

Can you remember the moment when you first had the idea for Magnic Microlights?
How did the idea become a product?

The idea for Magnic Microlights emerged in June 2011 from experiments involving eddy current brakes for bicycles. My brother Jörn and I are passionate cyclists. We’ve always worked on our own developments for bikes. After we established on a theoretical basis that the principle of the eddy current dynamo would work on aluminium wheels, our first initial and ad-hoc research into the market and patents came to the conclusion that there were no such systems yet in existence. It was clear to me that this was the perfect solution for many cyclists, which prompted the construction of a prototype and a quick patent application just a few days later.

What was your personal highlight in the development process for Magnic Microlights?
Was there a low point?

The highlight certainly turned out to be the successful first crowdfunding project in the spring of 2012, which took place on the world's largest crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter. Given the lack of interest from well-known manufacturers, a crowdfunding campaign seemed the best way for us to implement the idea on our own. The privately run campaign ended with the successful financing of over 76,000 dollars, and at the time was the most successful German Kickstarter project ever undertaken. Achieving the 50,000-dollar financing target was not only an important milestone but also a starting point for the foundation of the company and eventual production.!”

Where do you see yourself and your project in the next five years?
Thanks to the new concept of integration in brake pads, we were able to solve the problem of relatively complicated-to-fit adapters, and StVZO approval for our technology in Germany has been made possible by a new draft law for integrated dynamo lamps. This opens up the path for us to establish our technology not only in the important German bicycle market but also worldwide, meaning that attaining a relevant market share within five years is realistic. Because wheels equipped with our lamps are permanently lit by default, we expect the increase in convenience to not only enhance the appeal of cycling but also to reduce the number of accidents involving cyclists.

Service category

The following project "Refill" was ultimately granted the 2018 German Federal Ecodesign Award:

Refill Deutschland
Design: elbmedien

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The voluntary initiative ‘Refill’ is committed to providing free-of-charge tap water for people on the move. Participating shops fill the water bottles without payment. All of those taking part in the action are listed and locatable online or can be identified by the ‘Refill’ sticker on the outside of the premises. Refill Deutschland was founded in spring 2017 in Hamburg and has now been expanded to a number of other cities.

Jury statement:
“The volunteer initiative ‘Refill’ has a refreshingly simple and groundbreaking fundamental idea. Thereby, they have not designed and created a new product, but are instead devising social and environmentally compatible behaviours. No matter what kind of receptacle you bring with you to the refill station, the bottled water comes from the tap, doing away with the senseless purchase of plastic water bottles.”
Prof. Anna Berkenbusch

Three questions for Refill

Can you remember the moment when you first had the idea for Refill?
In October 2016, I was studying tap water and plastic bottles for my blog on the topic of “plastic-free living” when I read something on Twitter about the Refill Initiative in Bristol. I was immediately convinced that high-quality tap water could serve as a good example for cutting back on plastic bottles, in particular in Germany.

What was your personal highlight in the development process for Refill?
Was there a low point?

The many enthusiastic and dedicated people who have established their own Refill stations or have voluntarily taken on the role of organisers for Refill make me very happy. And if an enthusiastic Refiller reports a pleasant encounter at a Refill station that included a few kind words as well as water, then I’m really very touched. I had the privilege of being an advisor to Refill Greece and Refill Luxembourg – two further locations in which Refill is used.

Where do you see yourself and your project in the next five years?
Plastic waste is one of the biggest problems we are currently facing, and so Refill will continue to grow. As a low-threshold project that touches on many aspects of our lives, it allows people to live more sustainably with just a small step. We are working to ongoingly develop the network of Refill stations. And we want to increase awareness so that the stations are really put to good use. If we are lucky, a rethinking will take place not only when people are on the move, but also at home. Even there, water from plastic bottles should be consigned to history.

Young Talent category

The Young Talent category is to be understood as a cross-section category for projects from all areas of design. The three projects "M-frame", "Shards" and "Urban Terrazzo" went on to win the 2018 German Federal Ecodesign Award. The awards in this category also include a cash prize of 1000 euros.

Tobias Bahne, Yvonne Cosentino, Ioannis Jyftopoulos, Michael Then
Technische Universität München

‘M-Frame’ is a door frame with an integrated module interface that enables diverse objects positioned in the vicinity of the door, such as light switches or thermostats, to be collectively supplied with power. As a result, there is no need to open walls or wire devices individually. The individual modules can also be exchanged, swapped out or adjusted in height.

Jury statement:
“The system is impressive thanks to its numerous sustainability aspects. It can be retrofitted to buildings in a considerate and resource-saving manner, while modules can be flexibly adapted and exchanged according to user requirements. The minimal structural changes that are required and the high flexibility in the selection and positioning of the modules also ensure that the system comes with a long service life.”
Prof. em. Günter Horntrich

Three questions for M-Frame

Can you remember the moment when you first had the idea for M-Frame?
How did the idea become a product?

M-Frame emerged from the Industrial Design semester project "Die Tür" at the Technical University of Munich. At the beginning, during field research on various construction sites, it soon became clear that an ecologically oriented product concept could have an especially large impact in this area. Our interdisciplinary team shifted the focus onto the users and from this derived a number of different emphases. Among others, the aspects of installation and retrofitting, functionality, practicability, special ecological compatibility and, of course, an attractive appearance were all viewed as particularly important.

What was your personal highlight in the development process for M-Frame?
Was there a low point?

One challenge was the realisation and compatibility of the different emphases. We nevertheless succeeded in developing a concept that gainfully combined these areas of focus. A concept evaluation confirmed that, for the first time, we could bring about individual adaptability for users as regards the interface between humans and buildings. At the same time, we were also able to implement the ecological requirements and give consideration to the technical feasibility. However, it was not until we had feedback from users and experts that we became aware that this had resulted in a holistic and future-oriented concept.

Where do you see yourself and your project in the next five years?
To have received the Federal Ecodesign Award in the Young Talent category confirms the technical relevance of the project and shows that designers can successfully meet ecological requirements whilst also designing a modern and user-friendly product. The incredible ability of designers to quickly familiarise themselves with different disciplines and to methodically come up with new approaches means that we can expect further trendsetting, diverse and successful projects. We would certainly like to play our role in this process.

Lea Schücking
Kunsthochschule Kassel

‘Shards’ is a project for ‘urban mining’: Bricks made of rubble and recycled glass are crushed, mixed and baked into tiles. The colour and feel is determined by the type of bricks used, the proportion of glass and the parameters of the temperature curve. Shards is a circular system in which broken tiles are processed into new tiles without quality loss and with low energy consumption.

Jury statement:
“‘Shards’ represents the ecological and aesthetic potential of urban mining projects. In an energyconscious process, glass and bricks from rubble are baked into new tiles that differ decidedly from the general standard in terms of colour and feel. Each piece is unique with it’s very own appeal.”
Werner Aisslinger

Three questions for Lea Schücking

Can you remember the moment when you first had the idea for Shards?
How did the idea become a product?

I always found it exciting to develop materials and mix and combine different resources, above all if this combination of basic materials creates something entirely new and unique. I had the idea of using building rubble as part of a university project on the topic of upcycling. I wanted to use raw materials that are available in large quantities and which are wrongly labelled as "waste" – meaning they end up in the waste container. For me, the fact that "shards" has become a proper business is a demonstration of the serious interest that’s out there. A great deal can be achieved through urban mining, namely the use of secondary raw materials from the urban context, and I'm happy if I can contribute as a product designer.

What was your personal highlight in the development process for Shards?
Was there a low point?

Developing a new material is always an audacious and time-consuming endeavour, whereby it is important to remain open to change and to not force the material into a rigid conceptual mould. You work your way up step by step and begin a long process of experimentation. But at some point, the moment comes when you have to decide whether to proceed with the material or with the intended application. In my case, I attempted for a long time to form the material into a bowl. However, all of the laboriously produced bowls emerged flat from the oven. Out of sheer frustration, I let the project sit for a while and devoted myself to other things. It took some months before I suddenly realised what the material wanted to be and how I could employ it properly. That was the hour of birth of the "Shards" tiles.

Where do you see yourself and your project in the next five years?
I believe that consumers have long been ready for more products made from secondary raw materials. I see my tiles in numerous kitchens, on terraces, in culinary establishments and in the area of wellness. The beauty of material development such as this is the ever-present possibility of further development. For "Shards," this not only means new format sizes and application areas, but also the expansion of the raw materials that we use and thus also the range of products. In my opinion, there’s no reason not to give priority to tiles made using construction rubble. Within the next five years, I hope to have found the right partners with whom I can develop "Shards" to its full potential. I am looking forward to this journey, and equally look forward to the raw materials and projects that I encounter along the way.

TFOB / They Feed Off Buildings
Universität der Künste Berlin

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‘URBAN TERRAZZO’ uses building rubble as a basis for a new surface material. Assisted by modern technology, the concrete, bricks and other building materials are assembled according to the principles of traditional terrazzo art. Ultra high-strength concrete gives the material its structural stability, while ground pigments from old bricks lend the product its aesthetic character. Through the reuse of rubble, the material contributes to the creation of a closed-loop economy in the construction sector.

Jury statement:
“Terrazzo is a great material — this classic product not only looks good but can be repaired again and again. Because ‘URBAN TERRAZZO’ contains used materials, namely recycled building rubble, it comes with its own history. And thanks to efficient use of resources, it also takes account of the future!”
Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter

Three questions for TFOB

Can you remember the moment when you first had the idea for URBAN TERRAZZO?
How did the idea become a product?

The idea for the upcycling product URBAN TERRAZZO evolved from design-based research into resource sustainability. “Construction cranes and rubble containers have been a part of Berlin’s urban panorama for decades.” Dear Magazine “Poetry in Concrete”, 2018
Around 5 million tonnes of construction waste are generated every year in Berlin alone. Most of this continues to end up in our landfills. As designers, it is important to us to help bring seemingly useless old building materials back to life. To date, the motto of the standardised industry has been to make recycled products look just like new. For customers, it’s practically impossible to pick out the sustainable products. We are making a difference in this regard with URBAN TERRAZZO. Every piece of URBAN TERRAZZO is as unique as its beginnings.

What was your personal highlight in the development process for URBAN TERRAZZO?
Was there a low point?

From the outset, the process of developing URBAN TERRAZZO has been an exciting journey into a new discipline. As designers, we are newcomers to the construction industry. At first, being taken seriously was not always an easy task. It was therefore an important learning step for us to use the expertise of qualified specialists to help us move from the first prototypes to a market-ready product. In the meantime, we work closely together with technology companies, manufacturers and other creatives to make URBAN TERRAZZO an industrial reality. With a growing network and increasing experience, we have developed our own production and sales model. Today, we are talking to architects and designers alike about our vision, as well as with recycling centres and concrete manufacturers. Behind URBAN TERRAZZO is genuine teamwork.

Where do you see yourself and your project in the next five years?
We are currently manufacturing URBAN TERRAZZO in two different ways. On the one hand, URBAN TERRAZZO STANDARD is produced in cooperation with our German and Italian manufacturers as an upcycled product made from local building rubble. This enables us to work on both smaller and larger scales – from countertops to floor tiles. In order to make building material recycling more widely accessible in the future, we hope that this model will also be of interest for public developers. We also offer URBAN TERRAZZO CUSTOM-MADE, which is our product for the aficionados. We consider it important to appreciate the traces of the old architecture and to think of a building as truly recyclable. For example, the demolished wall from an old forester's lodge that becomes a new terrazzo washbasin. We want to help restore new life to these traces of the old architecture. This can also be of great interest for larger construction projects with historical architectural relevance. As such, URBAN TERRAZZO is a form of progressive monument conservation.

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