Victorian Design Challenge 2019



The Victorian Design Challenge invited design professionals and students to tackle one of the great challenges of our time – waste. The Challenge aims to inspire impactful and implementable solutions that demonstrate the value of design and creativity to the creation of a better future.

On Tuesday 19 March, the shortlisted teams pitched their design solutions to the Jury, featuring six leading design professionals, chaired by Craig Reucassal from ABC’s War on Waste and a live audience on stage in the Great Hall. Finalist’s presented design ideas, ranging from disposable plates made of lettuce to geopolymer cement made using fly ash and interventions to prevent wasted water. Teams worked to convince the judges that their idea is the best way to reduce, recover or eliminate waste.



Studio Periscope

Lisa Oaten, Robert Sim and George Berry of Studio Periscope presented Rollie, a hamster wheel like playground structure that uses a ‘hot’ composting system to convert food waste into a resource and reduces the methane, that would otherwise be generated if the food waste anaerobically decomposed in landfills, while primary school children play on it. According to Studio Periscope, Australians throw away approximately 3.1 billion tonnes or $8 billion of food waste each year. Rollie aims to address this significant waste issue by educating future generations about the value of food and food waste, through aerobic ‘hot’ composting. Aerobic ‘hot’ composting is a process.

Studio Periscope
Studio Edwards
Ideat Studio
Curvecrete from The University of Melbourne


Maddison Ryder, RMIT University

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) student Maddison Ryder presented Lettuce Eat, a series of single use plates made from waste Iceberg Lettuce that are immediately biodegradable. comments on behaviours of conspicuous consumption. Lettuce Eat explores food waste and throw away culture through a series of plates developed and designed from dehydrated lettuce.

Leixin Du, Pak Ying Tsang, Swinburne University of Technology and IaaC Global Summer School
Maddison Ryder, RMIT University
Joshua Wait and Phoebe Richardson, RMIT University

Secondary and Primary Schools

Mill Park Library Makers Club

Twelve students from the Mill Park Library Makers Club presented Robot Walking School Bus, a robot designed to pick up students from their homes and take them to school, as well as carrying organic waste that the children bring out from their homes. Inspired by China’s line-following battery powered train, the project aims to use a Robot Walking School Bus to help better manage waste around school, in our homes and in the local community by encouraging students to walk to school and pick up litter along the way.

Mill Park Library Makers Club
Katinka Weber, Northcote High School
Alia Ferdowsian, Preshil

The 2019 Victorian Design Challenge asks – How can design create meaningful change to reduce, recover or eliminate waste?

Waste is a broad term and Australia’s waste ‘ecosystem’ spans diverse areas – food waste; e-waste; household waste; hazardous waste; industrial waste; ocean plastic, water and air pollution.

Choose a waste related problem and show us how your ideas can help solve it.

The Challenge embraces new thinking and seeks solutions from all design disciplines, multidisciplinary teams, or from anyone who has a good idea. Student submissions can be from any subject area.

Submissions should be impactful, implementable, and scalable ideas that make inroads into Australia’s (and the world’s) waste problem.

For more information on waste and related resources visit:

War on Waste

Australian Waste Definitions

United Nations Environment Programme

Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Cool Australia

The Challenge is a two-stage competition with Round One being an open anonymous call for submissions. Designs from each category will be shortlisted by a jury of industry experts, chaired by Craig Reucassel from the ABC’s War on Waste. In Round Two, shortlisted teams will be invited to pitch their design ideas to a live audience at the National Gallery of Victoria during Melbourne Design Week on Tuesday 19 March 2019.

One winning team from each category will receive support to help develop and implement their idea.

Categories are:

  • Professional – Victorian based designers and creative entrepreneurs
  • Tertiary – Students studying at a tertiary institution in Victoria
  • Schools (primary and secondary) – Students studying at a primary or secondary school in Victoria

The Victorian Design Challenge offers prizes across three categories:


  • $15,000 to realise your idea; and
  • NGV Prize Pack for listed team members.


  • $5,000 to realise your idea; and
  • Exclusive Growth Accelerator workshop and 6 x 1-hour mentorship sessions delivered by EY Climate Change and Sustainability Services to guide further development and implementation of the project. Members of the Climate Change and Sustainability team at EY will volunteer their personal time in providing the mentoring sessions.
  • NGV Prize Pack for listed team members.

Schools (primary and secondary)

  • One-day tailored learning package at the NGV for up to 50 students, including learning resources, curatorial talk, exhibition tour, lunch, transport and teacher expenses;
  • NGV Prize Pack for listed team members and supervisor.

Entries open Fri 2 Nov 2018
Entries close Thu 24 Jan 2019
Shortlisted teams notified Fri 8 Feb 2019
Live Pitch Final Tue 19 Mar 2019

If you have any questions about the Victorian Design Challenge please email us: [email protected]

The Victorian Design Challenge process was developed and delivered by CityLab.

Melbourne Design Week is Australia’s leading annual international design event.

We link creativity with business and community, providing a platform for the Australian design industry to express, question, propose and test ideas.

In 2019 the theme Design Experiments asks Melbourne Design Week participants to experiment with ideas, materials, places, and processes to respond to the central question ‘How can design shape the future?’.

Find out more

Partners and Supporters

The Victorian Design Challenge is endorsed by the Design Institute of Australia, Australian Graphic Design Association, Victorian Tech Schools, and the Design and Technology Teachers’ Association Australia.

The NGV Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture is generously supported by The Hugh D. T. Williamson Foundation, managed by Equity Trustees.