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Over the summer of 2018, #OneLess tasked a group of designers and innovators with imagining how London can become free of plastic bottled water and embrace refilling instead. The creatives worked alongside innovation and plastic experts, responding to a set of challenges put forward by venues, retailers, events and places in London, which are struggling to go plastic-bottled water free.

The solutions

Their ideas, which were on show at London Design Festival 2018, ranged from innovative new drinking water infrastructure solutions, through to striking campaign ideas designed to ignite a behavioural shift away from single-use plastic water bottles. The ideas aimed to help transport hubs, hotels, college campuses and pedestrian zones, as well as big events like open-air concerts and sporting events, go plastic bottled water free. 

The #OneLess design fellowship journey

We recruited 17 designers from a variety of backgrounds including product design, service design, graphic design, storytelling, engineering, innovation, urbanism, architecture, and planning.

Barriers and challenges to London's refill revolution were identified by real life stakeholders and used to inform design briefs.

#OneLess designed and facilitated a week-long summer school for the designers, with expert coaching and mentoring, to start developing ideas to tackle the challenges and barriers.

Following the summer school, the designers worked in groups to further develop and refine their ideas, with support from expert mentors.

Ideas were exhibited in Brompton Design District at London Design Festival (15 - 23 September 2018).

The #OneLess Design Fellows visit Lord’s Cricket Ground during the summer school to learn how they eradicated single-use plastic water bottles.

In July, we hosted a week-long summer school with our design fellows, with expert coaching and mentoring, to start developing these innovative ideas. Our Fellowship aims to foster lasting engagement with a new generation of thinkers and designers who will help make change happen. To solve a problem like this requires a fundamental change in people’s thinking, as well as the infrastructure to support them making a different choice. It will not be a quick fix, but initiatives like ours will help it happen, I am certain.

Corina Angheloiu#OneLess team

I returned to study design in desperation almost, at the need to come up with better ways of living together on this planet and trying to get those ideas beyond just words and good intentions. Even now, it is very hard to find paid work to sustain yourself which also contributes to this end. With this in mind, I was very keen to get involved in anything which might help me to carve out a modest but meaningful professional career in this area. The #OneLess design fellowship appealed on this level, plus the opportunity to put forward a design solution to a real problem, working with other like minded people.

Becky Miller#OneLess design fellow

I wanted to be challenged about an issue I was passionate about and be among people who shared the same passion. Talking to mentors and stakeholders about our ideas was massively rewarding, getting feedback from them and input as to how we can take it further.

Tajwar Aziz#OneLess design fellow

Who was involved?

The #OneLess design fellowship is led by Forum for the Future and supported by Selfridges, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and the Oak Foundation.

The designers were mentored, coached and inspired by design, innovation and plastic experts.

Claire Potter

Claire Potter Studios

Claire Potter is the director of award winning multi-disciplinary circular economy design studio, Claire Potter Design which is based in Brighton. Working in the spheres of interior architecture, product design, installations and research since the founding of the studio in 2008, over 200 projects have been completed on a variety of scales, from small residential projects to experimental events, retail projects, community spaces, circular economy consultancy, marine plastic material research and short run products – often made from a locally identified waste streams.

Claire is also a volunteer Regional Rep for Surfers Against Sewage in Brighton and the studio are also members of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative – a global cross sectoral organisation working collaboratively to tackle the issues of waste fishing gear.

Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez

Skipping Rock Lab

Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez is Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Skipping Rock Lab, a London based start-up with the goal of making packaging disappear. The company is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, won the World Technology Award by Fortune and TIME, the WIRED start-up of the year and currently is the first Innovator in Residency of SKY.

Rodrigo received his architectural from the ETSAM, Technical University of Madrid, previously he studied at Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University (India) and Industrial Design at Pontificia Universidad Católica (Chile). He did postgraduates studies at Umeå Institute of Design, Imperial College of London and Royal College of Art. His works have been shown in different artistic centres such as the Cite de l'Architecture of Paris and the Venice Biennale of Architecture. As a senior lecturer, he has collaborated with different universities and institutions as Cornell University, CEPT, Imperial College, Royal College of Art or Kingston University.

Abby Chicken


Abby Chicken is Sustainability Manager at Selfridges, with responsibility for environmental sustainability including leading on Project Ocean, a long-standing partnership with ZSL which focuses on marine conservation and issues around plastic pollution. Employee engagement, communications and community partnerships also form a critical part of her remit.

Outside of work, Abby is Director of Volunteering for Pride in London, where she has volunteered for over five years across various roles including Chair of the Community Advisory Board and Head of Team Pride. She is responsible for the recruitment, training, deployment and wellbeing of over 1000 volunteers on the day of the Pride parade, as well as the year-round core team of 150 who make Pride happen.

Jon Khoo


Jon Khoo is an Innovation Partner at Interface with a focus on sustainability, inclusive business and intrapreneurship. Following a former career as a city lawyer, Jon joined Interface in 2012 having chosen to re-apply his skills to tackle the global challenges of marine plastics, inequality and climate change. Jon works on Interface and the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) Net-WorksTM partnership and is also part of the team responsible for Interface’s membership of NextWave, a collaborative initiative between corporates, scientists, and NGOs to figure out how to integrate ocean-bound plastics into products in a way that is both scalable and sustainable.

Jon also currently serves on the trustee board of UK environmental charity, Surfers Against Sewage.

Nick Cliffe

Innovate UK

Nick is interim Head of Advanced Materials at Innovate UK, the team de-risks commercialisation of materials of the future on behalf of the UK Government. This includes the most cutting-edge ceramics, metals, glass, polymers, nanomaterials and functional materials.

He has a particular focus on resource efficiency, circular economy and sustainability - embedding these themes across Innovate UK strategy and competitions, helping innovators consider the wider environmental and societal drivers of their markets and supporting UK businesses in exploring new manufacturing methods and business models.

Nick’s background in resource efficiency and circular economy was gained across 15 years in industry, he worked for Closed Loop Recycling, a large plastic bottle recycling business based in Dagenham, East London, where he managed various projects, including a project to create the first commercial plastic bottle made from recovered marine plastic waste. Nick also worked for a spin-off consultancy business, Closed Loop Environmental Solutions, managing projects such as launching a range of on-site food composting machines in the UK and a large waste auditing program for Heathrow Airport and various airlines to develop recycling options for both terminal and cabin waste.

Prior to Closed Loop he worked at: Green-Works, a Queen’s Award winning social enterprise that recycled large volumes of office furniture across multiple UK sites; the Forest Stewardship Council, a world-wide timber and forest product certification scheme; Storebrand Investments, a leading socially responsible investment fund manager.

Nick has a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Imperial College and a master’s degree in Oceanography from Southampton University. When not working he spends his time learning how to make things, especially from wood, and is an active member of the Makerspace community in London.

Anna Birney

Forum for the Future

Dr. Anna Birney is passionate about designing and facilitating systems change programmes that support people, communities and organisations transform their practice. In 2016 she launched the School of System Change, which is seeking to build an international learning community of change makers using systemic practices to address the complex challenges of our times. Anna also coaches on a wide number of projects and initiatives across sectors and systems – for example the Marine CoLab and #Oneless project and Oxfam’s System Innovation in Women’s Economic Empowerment. She is the author of Cultivating System Change: A practitioners companion which is based on her PhD. At the core of her work is the inquiry into how we can live as living systems, which requires us to explore the next wave or fundamental paradigm shift required at all levels of practice