Why a design fellowship?

A lack of viable substitutes

Large event organisers need economical and efficient alternatives to single-use plastic water bottles.

Poor drinking water infrastructure design

Londoners need to have easy access to refill stations while they are out and about.

Very few ‘refill’ business models

Retailers and caterers need business strategies that support a refill culture and hit their targets.

These barriers are not insurmountable.

They can be solved by designing new solutions, including new products, new services, or new business models. And that’s exactly why we’re launching the #OneLess design fellowship. Our hope is that by deploying design, innovation, technology, and creative communications, we will develop and scale-up transformational ‘refill’ solutions; solutions which will help to ramp-up London’s ‘refill revolution’ and eliminate the use of bottled water

How does it work?

We’re working with venues, retailers, events and places across London to develop up to five real-life ‘challenges’ to be solved by our extraordinary design fellows.

In July, we hosted a week long summer school with our design fellows, with expert coaching and mentoring, to start developing innovative ideas, concepts and prototypes that go some way towards solving these ‘challenges’.

What happens after the fellowship?

The solutions developed during the summer school will be widely shared and showcased during London Design Festival in September 2018.

The best concepts and prototypes will be tested during a period of trialling and monitoring.


The challenges

Digital and Physical Infrastructure

The London Wave

London has a culture of disposable bottled water use, the consequences of which do enormous damage. Increased use of publicly available water will deliver substantial positive impact, both through reduced production and transport of bottled water and by stemming the flow of plastic into the ocean. Yet numerous technical, practical and not least psychological barriers make widespread adoption of a fountain culture challenging.

We propose utilising the existing infrastructure of decommissioned fountains in conjunction with new, iconic ones for temporary and permanent needs. We have developed a concept that enables efficient local level partnerships with different stakeholders and investors, creating sustainable systemic change in
future relationships, through connected and closed loop service models.

Our approach is to use the emotional narrative of water and the ocean, which is central to the #OneLess campaign, and knit together the user experience, design,
material and community around the infrastructure, to deliver shared value and trust in the fountains and in water they provide. Expanding and integrating the disparate channels for information and water access across the city delivers a cohesive message and experience, whether the
user is visiting London or a long-term resident.

Leveraging fountain access points, accessibility, community engagement and inclusivity, whilst using tourist attractions, tour routes, transport hubs, public spaces, cycle lanes, university campuses and leisure centres as fountain locations aims to break down cultural barriers and ensure fountain use becomes embedded in London’s culture.

Design Fellows:
Banu Cuhadar
Kriti Dhiman
Mira Nameth
Rupert Wyllie
Seb Staff

Collective appeal

Water Monster

Water Monsters are mobile drinking fountains designed for a range of urban venues and outdoor environments. They are an immediate and economical alternative to the installation of costly stationary fountains. The Monsters collect drinking water from existing fountains and taps, which they can later dispense to thirsty people on their route. For a small fee, the Monsters offer a choice of flavours and herbs to add to the water. This serves both to replace the current revenue venues make from bottled water and to increase desirability for customers.

Design Fellows
Anna Schlimm
Neta Steingart
Victor Strimfors
Will Fazackerley

Access to water on the go

The People's Plastic

An average Londoner gets through 175 bottles of water each year. Plastic bottles are cheap, convenient, and easily accessible. When we are on the go, often our thirst takes hold of us, we don’t stop to consider the environment. This falls into a poor second place to the need to quench that thirst. We then find our way into the closest cafe or store, reach for a bottle, then dispose of it, forgetting that there is more to its lifecycle.

We live in a world where smokers are glared at on the street, while shoppers carry a ‘bag for life’ to the stores. Yet those carrying plastic water bottles are perceived as ‘cool’ and trendy. Our investigation lies in understanding what it would take for individuals to not reach for plastic water bottles.
Through interventions, we aspire to enable viewers to become conscious consumers and commuters. By questioning their choices we seek to ignite a behavioural shift; so that individuals reconsider their primary source for drinking water on the go.

The interventions also seek to make plastic water bottles socially unacceptable, to make it difficult to follow the mainstream which is to carry plastic bottles.

Design Fellows:
Tajwar Aziz
Federico Trucchia
Halszka Staniewicz
Libby Landenberg

Individual appeal

A transparent revolution

Make refill the norm to different cultural perspectives
starting from an individual experience

Every action of ours is visible and public, every personal statement declared and under the eyes of everyone, however we rarely relate these to the consequences, as the cause.

Transparent water, transparent plastic, invisible processes, inconsistent, intangible consequences.

Not seeing and not experiencing the many steps involved in the production, dispatch, collection and recycling of single use plastic bottles inevitably builds a wall of detachment and a dehumanising barrier from all these man-made processes.

Our team will exhibit an array of small artefacts related to water, which focus the attention on the human factor from an individual perspective. With our objects we want to tell stories that might reduce the distance between the true reality and what we perceive of it, through little interactions let the audience reflect over the issue of plastic consumption. Rebuild already existing cultural narratives inspired by rituals related to water from a multicultural perspective.

Everyone has to recognise and acknowledge the importance of personal social impact and responsibility so that together we can take care of where we live through ethical choices. An insensitive action towards the environment, is also a crime against ourselves.

Transparent ethics, transparent behaviours, visible chance.

Design Fellows:
Ambra Dentella, Heleen Sintobin, Martina Taranto

Meet the Mentors

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

Who’s 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.