Cumulus Green 2024

The Town of Sharing is Caring

Honorable Mention

The Town of Sharing is Caring

Amalie Aadalen, Elias Rølvåg Horsgård, Henning D. Nygaard & Andrea Skovdahl

The Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Norway

The system today contains several problems within these three main areas: social, production and land use.


In Norway, being a farmer is considered to be a lonesome and undesirable occupation. Back in the days, the farm used to be a place for work and socialization. Today however, there are fewer jobs and less people at the farms and in the districts in general. This leaves hard work and long hours for the farmer and contributes to urbanization.


Despite the workload and long hours there is little profit to be made by the farmer. Distributors and suppliers acting as the middle man between farmer and consumer takes a big chunk of the profit-pie making it hard to change production and investing in new innovations.
And the consumers values and habits contributes to a constant battle to lower the prices, in the end really just affecting the farmer as the import and food waste increases.

Land Use

It is also important to exploit the potential in the little farmable land Norway has (only 3%). Much of the land is producing animal feed and yet we have great potential in outfield pasture.


An arrangement and culture between farmers located close together of sharing their equipment and at the same time creating an arena for sharing knowledge and skill. This would start off with a small circuit of farmer-friends who team up before it over time evolves into a model of how to operate a farm. When keeping the circles small, farmers are more likely to trust each other with their equipment, more willing to share and more willing to invest in new equipment together with each other. Of course some equipment such as basic tractors will not make sense to share. A potential problem is that some equipment is needed at the very same time which makes a potential pain point.

However, this concept will make it easier to change production both because of the easy accessibility to a range of farming equipment and also the easy accessibility to knowledge, a helping hand and a second opinion. This will make it easier to keep the soil cultivable over longer periods of time.

The main motivation for implementing this intervention will be the cost saving effect it has. By sharing equipment, knowledge and skill among people who know each other will spread the cost and create more economic freedom. It will also create a professional community that the farmer has been missing and contribute to making it a more social occupation.

This sharing mentality and community will also have great benefits and influence on other problematic areas in the food system and society. For starters it will make it easier financially for small farmers to survive as the costs of equipment are shared.

It would e.g. provoke innovation as there is more conversation around problems and opportunities, and networking will contribute to the possibility of realization. This again could lead to jobs and attractiveness of living in the districts.


Honorable Mention


Andrea Gentile, Angela Riveros, Mariia Ershova

Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

The current school system in many states does not pay proper attention to educating children about nutrition, not teaching them the correct amount of food to consume and avoiding wasting it.

At the same time, many kindergartens and elementary schools do not have ecologically sustainable canteen and do not invest in upgrading them; many canteens use disposable plastic plates and do not engage in responsible waste management. The result is not only food waste, but also a significant plastic waste.

TRAYning wants to improve the food system in kindergarten and elementary school canteens through food education and generating awareness about proper nutrition and avoiding food waste.

Through a combination of shapes and colors, the child learns over time the correct amount of food and the right combination of foods and types of it in a meal:

  • The different sizes and layout of the plates reinforce the perception of the right amounts of food to be consumed;
  • Different colors allow the child to learn and recognize food types over time.

The material of the plates is selected to be sustainable and compostable, respecting a circular economy. Disposable plates are made from sugarcane, an organic, easily compostable, low-cost material that is a sustainable alternative to plastic disposable plates.


Honorable Mention


Serena Alampi

Tongji University, China

In a society where companies use the SDGs as ideological factors, manifesto pillars, or general premise, the effective implementation of what can contribute to sustainable development often remains only a theoretical scenario. Intending to guarantee a real impact on today’s and future society, this project focuses, in particular, on how emerging technologies contribute to healthy and sustainable lifestyles, by proposing a design solution for the food sector that involves the macro-areas of sustainability, technology, and interaction design. The project offers a personalized food 3D printing service for school canteens (or similar space of collective and scheduled food consumption) that use AI to manage food waste. The combination of Artificial Intelligence and 3D food printing provides flexibility and scalability of the solution. 3D food printing allows for finished and ready-made food manufacturing that can quickly implement the requests handled by the AI.

The project is the outcome of a Master Thesis in Interaction Design, which includes (1) literature review on the relationships between sustainability, technology, and interaction design, (2) definition and analysis of design direction for sustainable innovation in the food sector, (3) ideation of a design solution that combines feasibility and sustainable societal needs, (4) working prototype of UX, UI and technology schema realization, (5) test the solution to collect feedback and ideas for future improvements.

The prototype is called Treddik: a platform that allows primary and secondary school students to create and print their snacks from fruit leftovers. AI plays a fundamental role: it detects food availability and displays it directly on the platform, and it helps operators in managing the snack production flow according to the required timing. The platform assumes both an educational and a ludic role for the primary user.

The impact of the solution is multifaceted and addresses the needs of different stakeholders. The child can educate himself on how to eat better and which behaviors positively and negatively impact the environment and society. They have the opportunity to carry out an alternative and different activity from the traditional classroom, an activity whose outcome is school is physical and tangible, and enjoyable. The system allows children to augment knowledge, be engaged in the food process, as well as the reduction of food waste.

Research suggested that the school (in Italy at least) is one of the places of more significant food waste. In addition, children do not have the proper awareness of nutrition and they are significantly influenced by the shape and aesthetic of what they eat.

Tests were carried out for the digital part of the designed system, a first MVP, with target users.
The solution not only demonstrated the interest of the users but also how the school food system can be improved from a more sustainable perspective.


Honorable Mention


Valentino Bosetti, Francesco Magenta, Gaia Zarantonello

IED Istituto Europeo di Design, Italy

Having noticed that:

  • personal food culture returned recently to be part of individual hobbies;
  • that peoples are realising the physical and psychological benefits of growind their own food
  • that more and more people are looking for food use plants to be used directly in their kitchen…

It become vital to find a solution for people not able to grow plants due to their agricultural limited knowledge or for the ones not having time to keep up with all the needs of a plant.

That’s why we decided to combine the two macro scenario of the hydroponic technology combined to the well known internet of things.

The first one helps with the technical growth of the planet, making it grow quicker and with less usage of raw materials, specifically with no soil, using only water with dissolved minerals salts.

This helps Vertical and the user because the product needs only a refill of water once in a while. Plus it needs only a short amount of heat and light that turns into short use of energy.

The other one is IOT known as Internet of Things. This helps us build a relationship between product and user by connecting Vertical with the user’s mobile devices increasing information sharing. It supports the user with: remembering to fill the tank of water for the hydroponic system, knowing when the plant is ready to use and setting the lighting cycle to better match with personal rhythms.

VERTICAL design aim to minimise user efforts in the growth process allowing the user to enjoy most of the rewarding phases.

The system consist of 4 product:

  • The lingotto: the organic substrate where the seeds can germinate.
  • The greenhouse: the main product.
  • The maintainer: a little greenhouse to be located in the kitchen to keep the plant alive during the consumption time.
  • The application: which is supposed to lead the user to the process of growth. From the setup of the greenhouse, passing through the choice of Lingotto with the user’s favorite seeds and the management of the plant during the growth and maintenance phase, to the disposal of the organic substate with the seeds.

Use plant to give life!

Self Reliance for the Persecuted

Winner – 1st Prize

Self Reliance for the Persecuted

Team TDV – Mayank Raj, Manisha Bisht, Yukti Anand

The Design Village, India

Food insecurity and lack of nutrition continue to plague many communities across the globe. Chief among them are those affected by displacement due to economic, social, climatic and political reasons.

Of the 82.4 million refugees across the world, India hosts 208,065 (as of March 2021) from many neighboring countries. Of these 40,000 are estimated to be Rohingyas who have fled the Rakhine state of Myanmar due to religious and ethnic persecution. Of these only 22,459 are officially registered with UNHCR India, receiving a refugee card as their only valid identity proof.

Acknowledging these complexities, we decided to delve deeper into the ideas of food security for the stateless. We hope to address food access, production and consumption for a few, hoping one intervention could lead to possibilities for the many, across the country and globe.

The Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar, a primarily Buddhist state, are considered to be the most persecuted minority in the world and have faced institutionalized discrimination for decades. Our project addresses a settlement of 100 Rohingya families residing in shanties alongside 700 inter-state migrants in Shram Vihar, New Delhi. With no sanitation, access to roads, sewage or drainage systems, and little access to nutrition, they have little hope.

With no state of asylum possible, the national/local government provides no access or aid, rendering the community largely dependent on UNHCR for a few kgs of rice, pulses, oil and salt for survival. Other aid is usually met through humanitarian efforts, in the form of food supplies, medicines, education for children through NGOs and other organizations.

Through intensive visits across weekends and interviews with residents, local doctors, aid workers etc, we were able to determine the complex system of receiving insufficient dry ration. The gross miscalculation of nutrients and no consideration for the traditional native palette of the community was made apparent. The community supplemented the need for fish and greens in their diet by selling the already sparse ration provided.

Having no access to salaried jobs, the community members work as regularized labour, often working in hazardous conditions like sorting medical waste. Growing small amounts of greens on polluted soil using drainage water, the doctor observed that the residents of Shram Vihar, suffer chronically from multiple deficiencies and infections. Local studies have revealed higher rates of epilepsy in the community as an effect of mental stress and continued temporality.

Addressing this gap created by the discrimination between alive and living, we are proposing a service to not just address the pressing issue of nutrient deficiencies in the community, but also develop a sense of general well being by using their existing skill in bamboo and leveraging their cultural knowledge of farming.

Through self-reliance and identity development, the Rohingyas can move away from a sense of statelessness and can find solace in this landlocked geography, so far from home. By assimilating their culture, traditional skills and belief systems they can have a life, by achieving physical and mental well being.


Winner – 2nd Prize


Team LixiLab – Daniela Barón, María Valentina Forero, María Alejandra Parra, Valentina Pérez, Lina Sánchez, Laura Velasco

Univerisad de Los Andes ,Colombia

In 2015, the FAO reported soil contamination as one of the main threats affecting the world’s land services. The source of this type of pollution can be linked to chemical products used in agriculture, manufacturing, and even military operations. These substances, which include heavy metals such as chromium, lead, nickel, copper, cadmium, and arsenic, end up being released into the environment.

This project started in Mochuelo Alto, a rural community in the outskirts of Bogotá, located next to the city’s landfill. This population relies on agriculture for its livelihood and is directly affected by leachate’s heavy metals coming from waste decomposition, causing contamination in water sources, and altering the soil’s biodiversity.

These metals reduce organic matter and inhibit growth and nutrition assimilation in crops, generating low productivity and crop quality reduction. On the other hand, they affect the health of the consumers, as heavy metals are related to cancer and adverse effects on the nervous, respiratory, reproductive, and cardiovascular systems.

LixiLab is a bioremediation technology using the dead bacterium Lysinibacillus sphaericus CBAM5 for extracting heavy metals in farmed soils. This non-pathogenic bacterium is resistant to heavy metals and can adsorb them even after completing its life cycle, because it has an extracellular self-assembly protein. This layer is found negatively charged on the cell membrane; therefore, bacteria can adsorb positively charged metals. Also, since it is dead, the uncertainty of bacterial reproduction in crops disappears.

LixiLab is a grassroot, feasible solution joining science and design to develop hands-on practical strategies along with farmers’ knowledge and tools. The technology applies the dead bacteria in a dehydrated hydrogel matrix, made of a chitosan and alginate blend, that works in water and soil. Those biopolymers are non-toxic, biocompatible, biodegradable and are obtained in large quantities all over the world at a low cost.

The first biotech application is LixiSoil, a biofilter which is introduced into the soil to reduce contaminants on surface rooted plants like vegetables and tubers measuring up to 60 cm or 2 feet. A fence can be created using several filters placed individually, covering the length of the land that the farmers need. The filter comes with a package of dehydrated spheres that can be changed, refilled or removed once the conductivity sensor indicates the maximum level of heavy metals in the spheres.

Ultimately, the farmers will return the packaging with the bacteria-filled metals for collection at indicated locations. At the end of the spheres’ life cycle, metals are extracted from the bacteria in a lab.

LixiAqua, the second biotech application, is implemented in water sources used for irrigation, storage tanks, and ponds. It should be placed in the medium up to one day to do its filtering process.

LixiLab’s mission is to make toxic-free crops possible, reducing the risk of diseases and increasing the well-being of farming communities and consumers. Finally, LixiLab seeks to ensure access to improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture by creating more fertile lands, reducing crop losses and soil degradation to guarantee the ecosystem’s biodiversity.

Rice Bran Foundation

Winner – 3rd Prize

Rice Bran Foundation

Kentaro Sohara, Giovanni Bruno, Kaori Kawarazaki, Lisa Koga, Melba Catania

Politecnico di Milano, Italy

The Rice Bran Foundation is a program that creates economic value from rice bran that would otherwise be discarded in Italy and converts the proceeds into fertilizer making kits that can be used in developing countries for distribution.

According to IRRI (International Rice Research Institute), rice is a very important crop in the fight against hunger and is a staple food for 3 billion people worldwide. Data suggests that climate changes in many developing countries creates soil which is poor in nutrition, leading to a decrease in productivity.

When rice is processed into white rice, nearly 10% of its weight is refined as rice bran, a byproduct. Rice bran has a high nutritive value. Besides proteins, rice bran is an excellent source of vitamins B and E. Bran also contains small amounts of anti-oxidants, which are considered to lower cholesterol in humans. However, In both developed and developing countries, rice bran is discarded. In fact, we have noticed that even in Italy, which is responsible for more than 50% of the rice production in the EU, rice bran is discarded. In developing countries, there is also the problem of insufficient investment in rice milling machinery and the lack of a clean separation between rice bran and rice husks.

In Japan, this rice bran has been used for various purposes. For example, rice bran is a rich source of nutrients and can be converted into a very good fertilizer by fermentation, because it increases the bacteria and fungus in the soil when used. Various studies have shown that productivity can be increased by using fermented rice bran as a fertilizer in rice cultivation. In addition to fertilizers, rice bran can be converted into fermented foods, cosmetics, oil, and other products that generate a variety of economic value, and thus present a great opportunity.

In this program, we will contribute to the fight against global hunger through the following four steps:

  1. Collecting rice bran and rice that would otherwise be discarded in Italy from rice farmers free of charge
  2. Rice bran will be processed, commercialized, and sold to EU consumers. Rice will be fermented and converted into rice koji (dried rice malt).
  3. Use the funds obtained from the above and the rice koji to create fermentation kits for converting rice bran into fertilizer, and distribute them to farmers in developing countries.
  4. Rice farmers in developing countries can create their own organic fertilizers using the kit and the byproducts of their rice production.

This program will fight hunger by enabling rice farmers to create their own organic fertilizer, helping them to have higher productivity and bringing climate resilience into their soil and rice production. Consequently raising awareness in Italian consumers regarding the situation of farmers in developing countries.


Winner – 1st Prize


Living microfiber made of algae


FiloSkin is a speculative product and system that proposes a thread made of H. Pluvialis, a microalga that is capable of producing oxygen, filtering CO2 from the air and responding to changes in the environment by taking on different colors. A symbiosis of nutrient exchange is established for common benefit, in which the organism acquires antioxidants, oxygen and environmental information with colors, while the tissue, through its geometry is able to condense and process CO2 and water vapor from our skin and the surrounding environment. By enabling textiles to interact with our bodies through a symbiotic relationship with the skin, Filoskin might serve to mitigate environmental problems while adapting humans to pollution conditions in the future.

Project Description

Climate change involves a double approach, developing “integrated” solutions to reduce greenhouse emissions “mitigation”, but also to address the consequences of global warming that will occur in the future, “adaptation”, with the aim to reduce our vulnerability to the harmful effects of climate change. An integrated biomaterial using a particular microalgae called Haematococcus Pluvialis, to create a living membrane in relation to our skin. The production of a biological tissue through the weaving of the algae thread acquires transhumanistic value enters into symbiosis with our skin for an exchange of nutrients and information improving and adapting the organism to pollution conditions. A symbiosis of nutrient exchange is therefore established for a common benefit where our organism acquires antioxidants, oxygen and environmental info with colors, while the tissue, through its geometry is able to condense and process CO2 and water vapor from our skin and the surrounding environment.

The production of a living microfiber able to produce oxygen, antioxidants and filter air from CO2 is an innovative product, but it is able to act in a wide system of solutions to improve environmental quality, from human, ethical and economic interactions. An example is the implementation in recent years of algae cultivation, used in the pharmaceutical, food and energy sectors with low production costs. For this reason, the possible applications of the material can be proposed in various areas, not only membranes to be worn in fashion design, but also for architectural covers that can clean the air and change color, as in outdoor furniture design, objects in close contact with humans in search of a symbiosis. The contrast between anthropocene and the future reality based on natural materials.

Overview of the Solution

The basic properties of the alga should allow the tissue to change colour, from green to red, depending on environmental conditions constituting a visual environmental sensor quality. Color change occurs for astaxanthin production due to environmental stresses including lack of light or nutrients from a polluted, elevated or low temperature area. What is configured is an extrasensory experience, “dressing” a second living skin composed of green algae. Skin protection and oxygen absorption is the first step that the membrane takes care of, filtering the air and nourishing itself with CO2. But it is in metropolises, cities and areas with a high level of pollution that the membrane activates its properties. Undergoing environmental stress due to a lack of nutrients from the surrounding air, we can observe a change in pigmentation in a few hours, informing us visually of the quality of the air. At this time the algae will begin to produce astaxanthin, antioxidants that our body will take through the skin to rebalance chemically our body. Only a healthy environment can restore the algae to a stable condition, returning to a green pigmentation.

Processing the biomaterial from a liquid state in filiform without compromising the alga inside, it is possible by using alginate characteristics and textile technique “wet spinning”. By replacing and modifying some elements, I build a machine capable of polymerizing alginate in microfibers. It consists of processing a continuous flow of alginate through a needle in a calcium solution with rotary flow, so that the alginate in contact with the calcium solution will instantly polymerize into a filiform thanks to the continuous flow. Extend as much as possible our notions about the relationship nature, man, environment and technology. An eco-sustainable and ethically correct solution for the benefit of both nature and man, looking to the future of materials towards a reality of mutual respect and coexistence, sensible not only to a cleaner world, but in caring for the whole natural sphere in search of symbiosis.

A responsive living filament, woven in membrane in mutual symbiosis of nutrients and information with our skin. The relationship between technologies and the natural world appears in mutual coexistence for the foundation of a new sustainable society that will embrace the change we need.
Haematococcus Pluvialis in green stage started using orbital incubator that act like bioreactor, mixing a sample into a nutrient medium in sterilized conical flask. The aim of these first cultures is to reproduce the number of algae for experimentation and to test their life and pigmentation cycle.
Wet spinning machine. The mix of alginate and microalgae through a continuous flow in a calcium solution allows the polymerization of a thin filament around the rotating cylinder. The red pigmentation indicates the production of astaxanthin, induced in this sample through light stress.
Once dried and observed the fibres look extremely thin,robust and flexible, suitable for textile weaving. In addition, a network structure of a fabric imitates the skin pores to bridle and condense gases and volatile substances also from the surrounding environment for the nutritional supply of CO2.
Under a microscope it is possible to distinguish the living alga, red dots of astaxanthin, within the alginate. Biocompatible and permeable gas, the alginate has the ability to relate the microalgae with the external environment at gaseous level for the supply of nutrients and oxygen production.

Meet the Winner

Valerio Di Giannantonio

Dear Cumulus Association and Cumulus Committee,

I cannot stress enough how happy and grateful I am for receiving this Prize. I am honored and I thank you all so much for the acknowledgement.

I must say my reaction to the winning was priceless. Naturally, I always hoped to receive the first prize, but just when I read the message, I had to pinch myself couple of times and read it twice!

This recognition made me immensely proud and it mattered to me very much: Cumulus has an innovative way to look at sustainable solution for the future. It shows that we can influence our planet, even with our small projects. If we start from the Product Design, or even better form science and biology, we can make a big impact on the lifecycle of our everyday products. And when we do that, we can be decisive in the shift from linear to circular economy. This is what I wanted to communicate with my project, “Filo Skin” and I am incredibly happy to see an association like Cumulus thinks in the same way that I do and decided to give me the opportunity to bring Filoskin forward.

I thank you all again for the great opportunity. It is was so wonderful to participate to this contest.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the Be Open Foundation and Cumulus Secretariat who made the prize possible.

Gratefully yours,
Valerio Di Giannantonio


Valerio Di Giannantonio


Iceland University of the Arts, Iceland