Circular Design Lab

Our mission

We combine human-centred design and life-cycle thinking with newest insights from applied research to develop sustainable technologies and products, as well as business, service and ecosystem solutions. ​

With our experience in identifying user needs, customer demands, upcoming legislation and societal trends we help you to define requirements and translate them into sustainable technology solutions that contribute to a circular economy.

Circular Design Lab



Strategic design

Through Strategic Design Thinking we explore possible futures, analyze trends and translate those into business opportunities. from the discovery to the execution phase we help organizations to fulfill their strategic intentions and adapt to upcoming changes.


Eco-design & circular design

From product over service to business design, we co-creatively design economically and ecologically balanced concepts. We support the development of sustainable technologies by combining design and  environmental assessment methods with applied research. Our aim is to develop solutions which contribute to a more sustainable future.


Trainings & workshops

We develop and facilitate creative, interdisciplinary in-house circular design sprints or open cross-sectorial circular design trainings. We have a proven track record of developing new methods or adapting existing design tools to your specific needs (e.g. product, service, business design) – integrating user-centric design, life-cycle thinking and design-thinking.


Design research

We develop new circular design methods, tools and processes to support the development of solutions for the Circular Economy. We combine latest insights from User Experience, strategy and business development, sustainability research and sociology in order to create appropriate sustainability strategies for the early technology development stage.

Meet the team

We are a multi-disciplinary team united in the purpose of using design methods for holistic sustainable solutions. With our mixed backgrounds and expertise we understand engineers, designers, scientists and managers and moderate co-creative processes – because collaboration is the key to sustainability!

Reference projects


Ecodesign of Sensor Gateway

Temperature and Humidity + Solar Radiation device redesigned

Redesign of the device and intelligently integrate all functions and components into 2 plastic parts, reducing the number of parts required and achieving higher water and dust tightness. Based on the study we suggested improvement recommendations and ecodesign guidelines on what to consider in product development and how to design sustainable low carbon products.


Sensing Emission, Citizen Science approach torwards better crowd based emission sensing and communication.​

A mobile NO2 measuring device developed by Scholz & Volkmer in Wiesbaden was used to enable air quality to be measured in a decentralized, 'crowd-based' manner by citizens and to visualize the relative distribution of city pollution in the form of a map. ​

The sensor network will enable citizens to contribute to collecting and using emission data, creating greater transparency for citizens about local emission levels and to control or change their individual mobility behavior.​

 SEE USecase


Circular Design Lab
© Scholz & Volkmer GmbH


Rethinking of Fashion in Research and Artistic collaboration for Urban Manufacturing

We supported 6 Teams in the creation of sustainable wearable artefacts. Our Support included eco-design sprints, development of eco-design criteria, support in the selection of sustainable materials and technologies – especially related to e-textiles or electronic devices.

We accompanied the teams along their research and development process in order to optimize the selection of technologies and materials with respect to their environmental performance along the life-cycle.

Circular Design Lab
© Jessica Smarsch, Connextile, Foto: Lisa Klappe

Circular design toolkit

Togehter with design centres and leading service design agencies we developed methods that help designers and environmental experts to design product and service offers for the Circular Economy.

The design phase is crucial for any innovation and the development of sustainable business practices. Decisions taken in this pahse determine the sustainability across all life cycles. New technologies, communication means and deriving servitizable operations open up entirely new opportuinites for circular business models. The toolkit supports in idetifiying them and translating them into feasible strategies and actionable design concepts.


LCA Screening

A pharmaceutical supplier was interested in how to make consumer goods for the pharmaceutical industry more sustainable.

In order to anchor life cycle thinking in the development teams, we worked with the teams to create a simplified life cycle analysis (LCA) for two products and supported the data collection process (life cycle inventory). Based on the "hotspots" of the environmental impact, we identified eco-design measures at product level together with the development teams in a workshop. We calculated the reduction potential of the measures to check their impact. We handed over the LCA model to the team so that they could continue working with it. We also translated the findings from the LCA into a generalised ecodesign guideline for development. We presented the procedure and the results of the project to other product developers in a short training session. We also identified measures at a strategic and operational level to stabilise eco-design as a process within the company. These were presented and discussed in a management meeting.

MoDeSt circular smartphone concepts

The Modest Circular Smartphone vision was a joint project of TU Berlin's MoDeSt Project and the Fraunhofer Circular Design Lab. Inspired by „Cultural Probe“ user studies we made use of our department's extensive expertise in sustainable electronics and circular design to invent two iconic concepts for future smartphones. Both address environmental along with user challenges and are ready for a circular economy.

more info

Moedst Arch
© Fraunhofer IZM | Tapani Jokinen & Robin Hoske



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