Up-Cykle – closed circuit is an art
Up-Cykle – closed circuit is an art


Up-Cykle – closed circuit is an art

Your waste may be a gamechanger. The UP-Cykle exhibition features winners of the 1st edition of the competition organised by Zakład Utylizacyjny, Gdańsk. Waste was used to make the projects, which increased its value and recycled it in a new role. Three projects received honourable mentions and there was one winner.  The competition is under the substantive patronage Akademii Sztuk Pięknych in Gdańsk and Politechniki Gdańskiej.

Up-Cykle exhibition isfocused on the problem of overproduction of waste . We buy and throw away products that usually may be used again. Why? Because cost of repair is often nearly the same as the cost of a new product. The competition originated from the desire to look for inspiration and ready solutions to reuse objects. This quite unique blend of art and waste is to draw even more attention to the problem precisely by this seemingly impossible combination. Huge amounts of waste that we produce may still be reused. Also, manufacturing waste is a great starting point for many inconspicuous solutions. It is important to think about it at the design stage, and then use it at the prototyping stage. In Up-Cycles we are looking for designers capable of imagining ecologically and environmentally important solutions. It is important to use this potential.




“Art is the recreation of things, or building of forms, or expression of experiences – if the product of this recreation, building or expression is able to amaze, move or shock.” (Władysław Tatarkiewicz).

Something ends, something begins. This is our understanding of upcycling. When one thing is no longer needed, another thing may become pronounced. There were 37 submissions for the competition’s first stage, out of which 7 were qualified for stage two. Ultimately, competition jury honoured four works awarding a main prize and three honourable mentions.

Competition jury:

Tomasz Rygalik - chairman of the jury. Designer, lecturer, curator and Doctor of Arts. He studied architecture at the Łódź University of Technology. Graduate of the industrial design programme at Pratt Institute, New York. In 2005, having obtained his master’s degree from London’s Royal College of Art he joined RCA’s research and development team as a scientific worker. In 2006 he founded Studio Rygalik. He is the head of the design programme at the Design Faculty of Warsaw’s Academy of Fine Arts. He works for such brands as Moroso, Noti, Comforty, Paged, Ghidini, Cappellini, Profim, Ideal Standard, Siemens, Heineken and Ikea. From 2010 he has been a creative director for Poland’s leading brands. He delivered many projects for cultural institutions, including: Adam Mickiewicz Institute, National Opera, POLIN Museum, BOZAR, Zachęta Gallery, Frederic Chopin Museum, National Museum and Polish Culture Institutes. He was the official architect of Poland’s Presidency of the EU Council. Many of his projects are a part of the permanent exhibition at the National Museum in Warsaw. In 2015 he founded TRE Product brand and since 2016 he has been a co-creator of SOBOLE creative campus.

Marta Hryc – researcher, designer. She works at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk where she is in charge of courses in design styling and prototyping. Her interests focus on the outcome of the clash between rules governing computer algorithms and the free – human – creative approach. She analyses the impact of additive technologies on aesthetics in design. She is a speaker at international conferences dealing with new technology frontiers, such as xCoAx Madrid 2018. She is a vigilant observer of impacts that socio-economic changes and cultural transformations exert on the evolution of new aesthetic developments. By profession she is a jewellery designer. Her projects’ themes are centred around the socio-economic context in which jewellery functions. She was on scientific research internships in Mexico and Belgium. She participates in numerous international exhibitions and competitions. Among other prizes, she won the Silver Spur at the International Jewellery Competition REVOLT for her creative boldness and uncompromising attitude. She was a member of the jury of the Amberif Design Award 2020 competition. From 2013 she has been a co-creator at S&A Design Studio, a leading jewellery manufacturer, in charge of implementing designs in serial production. Representative of Academy of Fine Arts, Gdańsk, competition partner.

Marta Karwacka - doctor of business sociology, CSR expert. SENSA Sustainable Thinking – business sociologist specialising in CSR-related issues, sustainable development and inter-sectoral cooperation. Interested in systemic approach to responsibility and real impact. Promotes responsible consumption and circular economy. Delivers advisory and research projects. In 2013 her doctoral dissertation on intersectoral cooperation was awarded the 1st Prize at the Verba Veritatis competition. Member of the jury of the Verba Veritatis competition, Sustainable Fashion Award 2018 competition and Panel Pozytywnych Postaci [Positive Personality Panel] assessing Positive Impact Start-ups. Co-creator of Circular Economy Coalition RECONOMY. In 2020 she was appointed as an expert in the CLIMATE LEADERSHIP programme, a response to UN Resolution adopted during the last General Assembly of the UN on environment. Member of Sustainable Fashion Working Group, an international team of practitioners and scholars interested in sustainable change in the fashion sector. On the How to Wear Fair? blog she discusses responsible consumption in the fashion industry. For her commitment to promoting sustainable development in the fashion sector she received ELLE Style Award 2018. Over the last few years she was a speaker at such events as: 100% Retail&Fashion, ELLE About Fashion, Open Eyes Economy Summit 2019, and Challenge Accepted by H&M.

Michał Piernikowski - director of Łódź Design Festival, urban activism and design enthusiast. Initiator and co-organiser of many creative industries-related projects, including: Ad Days Advertising Festival, “Would you like to be creative?” conference, Art_Inkubator and Fotofestiwal. Co-founder of Łódź Art Center, member of the team promoting broadly understood good design in Łódź. Winner of, inter alia: Minister of Culture and National Heritage Annual Award for Design, and Design Alive Award for Animator. Member of the jury of the make me! competition for young designers promoting best products in such categories, as: pro-public solutions and solutions preventing natural environment degradation. Specialises in launching high added value products, expert on commercialisation of innovations and promoting circular economy solutions working for the public and private sectors.

Michał Dzioba - a long-time manager, working for the waste management industry for 12 years. Graduate of the Management Faculty, University of Gdańsk, and Master of Business Administration Dominican University of Illinois, Chicago. He spent an internship at a waste management facility in Mestre (Venice) that included a municipal waste incineration operation. In the period 2010-2012 he cooperated with the Board of the European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services (FEAD). Recently, a Director General of Amest Group, an Italian waste management company operating in Poland since 1996. In the period 2005-2009 responsible for technical, organisational and financial reorganisation of the Group’s companies, including three waste management facilities: Kamieńsk, Otwock and Mażany (Kętrzyn). He was also responsible for remediation of two municipal waste landfills. From 2017 a President of the Board of Zakład Utylizacyjny, Gdańsk.

Winners of the 1st edition of the Up-Cykle competition

In the first edition, we received 34 visualizations. 7 of them passed to the second stage. The jury selected one winner and three distinctions.


biodegradable ceramics

Klaudia Ginter

Akademia Sztuk Pięknych w Gdańsku


GROUND is a candle made of biodegradable material made of food waste. This is the answer to the problem of cemeteries littered with unprocessed plastic – it is their compostable alternative. Distinction in the competition.

Ground is a candle made of biodegradable material created from food waste, such as fermented dairy products, nut shells and plant cake. The concept is the answer to the problem of cemeteries littered with unprocessed plastic, as well as the lack of waste segregation in this area. The grave is to be a neutral sign of our memory, leaving no damage in the form of decomposing hundreds of years of waste. Before the mold is thrown out, it can be used several Times – the original contribution that can be refilled is a molten bee knot and a cotton wick. The materia lis susceptible to mechanical processing and temporarily resistant to weather conditions, and also undergoes the composting process, which facilitates its classification as waste. The aim of the project was also to reduce production processes as much as possible, resulting in a simple form, while taking into account the air flow to keep the flame. The material may replace other masses used to create decorative ceramics in the future.




Julita Olejniczak


The main idea of ​​the project is to create a suit that protects humans against external factors. Distinction in the competition.

Materials that are themselves protective elements and come from construction waste were used for the project. For example, an anti-mole net was used to create the structure. The shape and appearance of the suit were obtained with the use of hot glue. The whole structure is connected by ties. The factors surrounding humans, such as gusts of wind and raindrops, were inspired to create the form and structure.


Printing rings

printing element

Katarzyna Grzelakowska


Printing rings can be used as a printing element for single or repeating patterns. as a decorative or educational element depending on the theme of the designed patterns. Distinction in the competition.

The materials are 100% recycled in the production of labels, which were created in the flexographic printing process.

The prototype consists of the following elements:

  1. Printing matrix (photopolymers-synthetic rubber). The residues constitute 10% -20% of the total forms used in production (format margins)
  2. Double-sided tape for fixing printing forms for cardboard rings (tubes).
  3. Polyurethane foam with an open-cell structure, with high compressibility, thanks to which it always fully returns to its original shape. Recycled material. The ends of the double-sided tape, which was originally used to attach the polymer to the cylinder, the so-called "printing roller".
  4. Cardboard tube rings. Made of rolled brown paper. Serving as a central roll (mandrel) for winding all kinds of flexible materials such as: paper, foil, textiles and others. Recycled material. Thimble ends, defective – badly cut. The thimbles are originally used for winding printed labels.
  5. Printing dye applied to the prepared form. The ends of the UV-light-wear paint, the residues of the made effort.


Blue Light Revision

lamps with CRT and LCD screens

Barbara Stelmachowska, Mateusz Ligocki

Ligocki + Stelmachowska


A study on the possibilities to repurpose flexible foil from LCD TV sets as lamp shades and rigid plexiglass as a screen to disperse lamp light.

1st place of the 1st edition of Up-Cykle.

The award was granted to the project repurposing flexible foil from LCD TV sets as lamp shades and rigid plexiglass as a screen to disperse lamp light. For decades electronics has been designed to serve the user up until the end of manufacturer’s warranty period, later on to be superseded by newer models, which is often the option chosen by unaware consumers. This is how tons of electric and electronic waste – difficult or impossible to dispose of – is generated each year worldwide. Materials used in this project come from a small electronics workshop repairing mainly TV sets. Equipment that can no longer be used is broken down into parts. Most components are reused to repair other pieces of equipment, but a significant amount must be disposed of.


Projects sent for the second edition of the Up-Cykles competition

Sailing jacket


Golińska Martyna, Jasińska Aleksandra, Kietlińska Karolina


Sails are made of specialized materials such as: dacron or a combination of kevlar, carbon fiber and mylar. The combination of these materials makes them hard to recycle.  Unfortunately, with time and impact of atmospheric factors sails are getting gradually distorted and replaced with new ones. Old sails are thrown away or end up in hangars, where they deteriorate over time.

The idea of our project is to give them new life and help them return to circulation. Windproof, waterproof material inspired us to design a jacket that provides protection against unfavorable weather conditions which can be taken on an expedition. The main goal was to use only elements which the sail is made of. For example we used a rope ended with a Bosun's knob (one of the sailing knots) to fasten a pocket. Additionally, it was important to us to make a jacket handy. Therefore, after taking it off,  you can easily roll it up, zip it in your pocket, put it in a backpack and take it with you on a trip.


SOL stitium


Beata Kuracinska


This lighting is a form of a certain choice, designer and consumer in one, crossing, crossing the border of consciousness in sustainable design, upcycling also conscious consumption.

Solstice is an astronomical phenomenon, the consequence of which is the longest day of the year. It is also connected with the symbolic aspect that affects beliefs and traditions in many cultures around the world. The solstice is also a kind of breakthrough moment. The name received lighting has lighting that has arrived at this critical moment, in which it should be directed to care for the environment in response to future generations. About 90% of SOLsistium was created from the secondary processing of waste. The basis for creating the product was a scrapped rim, plastic material from a nearby warehouse and loose sand. Recycled materials developed a new product life innovative product.


Compassio for nature

fashion collection

Alicja Tkaczyk


The collection is designed for people who value hand-made clothing and care for a balanced wardrobe. Looks are unique, therefore gender, size and age do not matter, because each assortment is individually tailored to the customer.

The Compassio collection is an allegory of an ecological catastrophe and a story about compassion with nature. Birds trapped in plastic bags and seals in networks are examples of how people, in his will to develop civilization, condemn wild animals to their unconscious "dressing". Similarly, plants-lawns look decorated with colored papers. It is a brutal kind of disguise that man gives to nature. We feel sorry for it if we put up the garbage ourselves, experiencing mental discomfort and discomfort (the clothes are fully usable and comfortable) The collection is made of garbage. In her hand-made assortments, the designer uses her own techniques, using candy bars and rice bags as materials. Almost all the materials used are recycled – threads / yarns are leftovers. The Compassio collection is a contest of what is happening around ecological themes; expresses opposition to the progressive degradation of the natural environment, while supporting the fight for environmental protection. The whole thing is part of the trashion trend, which will soon redefine the perception of the world of fashion and will go into the mainstream.


Harmless luxury


Agnieszka Gębska, Dorota Pawlicka

Poppy Lotta


The Harmless Luxury project meets the growing demand for interesting and ethical fashion. These are visually attractive, in line with global trends, fabrics and patterns made of recycled materials and sewing leftovers.



street furniture

Łukasz Gąska, Marta Sowińska-Gąska, Michał Gawron

Gąska Studio


PARO is a street furniture securing and caring for green areas along the city's communication routes. The object protects from the degradation of greenery, and through the steam supply of moisture, supports its regeneration. It is an expression of concern for the protection of nature.

PARO protects from the degradation of greenery, and through the steam supply of moisture, supports its regeneration. The spot locating form ensures flexibility in use in areas with different surfaces, preventing the entry and parking of vehicles in prohibited places.

PARO is made of two overlapped shells made of recycled plastic put one on another. The object is placed in the ground through a compatible bolt foundation. With the help of a simple ultrasonic evaporator, the collected water is converted into mist, released and then evenly distributed. The cyclical activation of the device allows for regular moistening of lawns, creating a favorable biotope and an interesting visual phenomenon. Whole device is powered by a small photovoltaic panel.

PARO has been developed in various forms, creating a collection of street furniture with varied functions. The whole range of possibilities of arrangement of these elements allow for the creation of configurations tailored to the needs of a given place. PARO is a response to one of the many problems faced by city dwellers. It is the result of the need to care for common space and solicitude for the environment in a micro scale.



multifuctional elements

Agnieszka Cieszanowska, Anna Jurgielewicz

LABA studio


The design is based on three elements from which it is possible to create various objects of everyday use. They were made of recycled plastic (obtained, for example, from bottle corks) using the injection molding technique. At the heart of the project is the Precious Plastic community.



rice cooking set

Beata Sroka


Ricebag is a  cooking rice set and it is made of natural materials. It is an alternative for the plastic bags, which during the boiling are producing BISFENOL A - carcinogen, affecting for our health negatively. It was designed from waste of the cotton and wood.

The set contains bags for the rice  cooking, clips and  measuring spoon. Elements  are created from the cotton  and wood waste. Materials are not contain dyes and dangerous substances. Bags are reusable. Ricebag is a project which help  in the simple, fast and healthy way, prepare favourite dishes from the rice or groats.




Agnieszka Cieszanowska, Anna Jurgielewicz

LABA studio


Upcycled Metal Lamps is a series of table and wall lamps made of perforated metal sheets. Metal scrap was collected from a local company, sanded, then rolled into shape, powder coated white, and cabling was neon colors.

The sheets were ground and formed using a rolling mill. The structure was fixed with twisted rivets and painted white. The assembly consists in inserting electrical elements and screwing five rivets (in the case of a pendant lamp). A wide range of cable colors is available, allowing you to personalize the lamp. The entire production method is designed with the industry in mind. Lamps will prove themselves in modern interiors, both as an atmospheric, subtle light source, and as the main design accent.



Joanna Szymczak

The pot is entirely made of recycling, where after its creation it is to become an element that recycles rainwater. it is a response to the shrinking surface area of freshwater and a continuous increase in water demand.



Natalia Komorowska

A set of plates with irregular edges and intense colors of green and blue is an example of incorporating the idea of recycling into the area of artistic creativity.



Szymon Łabuś

Biodegradable packaging for carrying and displaying potted herbs made of naturally colored recycled paper.


Second life set

Justyna Markowiak

Knitted coat and shoes – slippers, resulting from the processing of leftover yarns from industrial production of carpets. The tangle of polyester yarns can in fact be a material for hand knitting and crocheting, and at the same time creating unique products.