Circular Economy Designer Runaldo, an Architect by training, has designed buildings and interiors around the world (including the interiors of luxury yachts in Dubai). Originally from Brazil, he has lived and worked for the last six years in London.
As a long-standing member of the award-winning Rype Office Design team, he shares his take on Circular Economy office design.
How does designing for the Circular Economy differ from traditional design?
Circular Economy design is holistic and requires a lot of creativity.
I begin by focussing on the individual and how they interact with their surroundings and then design spaces to enhance these interactions. This is a magical collaborative process where ideas are built upon to create special places that people enjoy being in.
Once the layout and look-and-feel are complete, the treasure hunt begins to find wonderful furniture that creates the atmosphere, while of course enhancing comfort and ergonomics. The Circular Economy increases the range of items that we can select from, because brands, fabrics and colours are not limited to a price point, thanks to bespoke remanufacturing.
I love the stories behind the furniture that we remanufacture – like the desks that we sold that were in a James Bond movie. Our clients share these stories with visitors when they proudly show them around their new offices.
Bespoke remanufactured furniture
What is most rewarding about designing in the Circular Economy?
It thrills me to see furniture in a newly completed office that looks immaculate, performs its function superbly, and adds to a contemporary design, knowing that it is in its second or third life. Even better is when that piece of furniture has incorporated waste material.
What is your favourite Circular Economy project?
Transport for Wales, the newly established agency managing all of Wales’ rail, bus, cycling and pedestrian transport modes was looking to create an inspiring new headquarters. They challenged us to create a collaborative space with an imaginative design, using remanufactured furniture.
We designed a whole floor to engage staff and encourage interaction using the dynamics of an urban cityscape, including a central town square and a library. This won over the client and it was built exactly as we first designed it.
You can read more about this project here.
Which innovative materials would you like to work with?
I would really like to work with Mycelium, especially mushroom leather.
Mycelium can be grown quickly, the process has been engineered to produce a new material that has the same characteristics as leather; durable, strong and flexible, but without the environmental impact of leather from animal skins.
What started your interest in working in Sustainability?
It is difficult to pinpoint one pivotal event; lots of things came together simultaneously to change my outlook. When I became aware of the problem of overconsumption in the world, I also began to realise circularity could be the answer. I want my work to reflect the changes I would like to make as an individual; my professional life should represent what I want for my family, friends, and the world. My role at Rype gives me the creative opportunity to bring waste to life and life to waste – and be part of the solution rather than the problem.
How do you recharge your batteries in these stressful times?
I love to paint, especially abstract works. For me, painting is about letting go and allowing my creativity to direct the colours and shapes. It all happens very naturally.
And I love spending time with my family, especially on long walks with the dogs.
Original artwork by Runaldo, entitled Guide on Earth
What advice would you give to designers looking to create a better future?
I would ask them to question what is “waste”. Can someone else use it as a resource or can it be transformed to create value through utility? Designers who look at waste as a resource have an important role to play in our future. One of my favourite quotes is “waste is only waste if we waste it” by will.i.am.
Every decision you make as a designer has an impact, and as designers we have a responsibility to make this a positive impact.
I wish, when I was a young designer, that someone had told me to follow my passion for sustainability earlier, boldly unleash creativity into every project, and stay unconventional. These are the things that give me the greatest professional satisfaction.