On 13 September 2017, the first prize in VTT's Design the Cellulose Hackathon competition was presented to Anneli Auranen and Heta Kupsala's team, for creating a backpack from biomaterials. The competition, which formed part of Helsinki Design Week, involved the development of product concepts, such as furniture, packaging and utensils, from new biomaterials.
In the summer, VTT invited designers to participate in the Hackathon Competition by designing attractive products from bio-based materials. The teams were given 48 hours and a range of materials from which to create a prototype to be assessed by a panel of experts. The materials included wood-based cellulose, nanocellulose, foam-formed wood fibre and biocomposites.
Eight teams took part and succeeded in utilising the biomaterials in a range of ways. Their ideas involved processes such as material recycling, clothing and shoe design, furniture, packaging and the utilisation of household waste. The eight teams included students and seasoned professionals from Finland and abroad.
The winning team comprised Anneli Auranen, a fashion design student from the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and Heta Kupsala, who has an MA from the University of Lapland.
"We believe that the fashion industry will be revolutionised by cellulose fibres based on new technologies," say Kupsala and Auranen. Their dream is to use new, innovative materials in design and start a business combining ecology and ethics with aesthetics.
"The competition was high level and the contestants made varied and creative use of the materials provided. The panel did not have an easy task, but we were very impressed by the way in which the winning team innovatively combined materials and created something new," says Jussi Manninen, Chair of the panel.
The winning team received a prize of EUR 3,000 and a trip to the CEPI's European Paper Week event in Brussels. The trip includes an opportunity for the team to present its idea at the show.
The members of the panel included Petteri Kolinen,CEO of Design Forum Finland; Kati Hienonen, a designer with Perhosvaikutus Oy; Jukka Savolainen, Director of the Design Museum; and Jussi Manninen, Executive Vice-President at VTT. The evaluation criteria included aesthetics, the idea's novelty value, its scalability and usability, durability, and the team's enthusiasm for the task.
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Heta Kupsala and Anneli Auranen, the winning team of VTT's Design the Cellulose Hackathon Competition.
The backpack combining biomaterials.