October 22, 2021

The Dezeen Awards: Our Picks for the New Sustainability Categories

Winners will be announced next month, so here are the projects we hope to see at the top.

Dezeen’s yearly awards program is a great look into the best in architecture, interior design, and product design, with 2021 seeing the program’s fourth iteration. This year, with the addition of the three sustainability categories and five media categories, there are 47 categories in total to be judged by a panel of 75 leading figures in the architecture and design fields. The main criteria for all the awards are Beautiful, Innovative, and Beneficial, which leads us to our picks for the Sustainable Building, Interior, and Design categories.

Sustainable Building: The Arc at Green School Bali by IBUKU

The Arc is the latest addition to the Green School in Bali, Indonesia, which is renowned for its sustainability efforts in both infrastructure and education. Designed by IBUKU, the Arc is made from a series of bamboo arches, representing an unprecedented design that took months of research to engineer. The use of bamboo as a primary material is a wonderfully sustainable move as the plant grows extremely quickly, and as it’s native to Indonesia, the carbon footprint of materials transport is greatly reduced.

As the school’s gymnasium, the Arc had to accommodate international height standards using steep arches that rise fourteen metres above the ground. The building comprises a single uninterrupted room, serving as both a sporting arena and an assembly space for the school at large. The incredible structure is held together with anticlastic gridshells, which appear to hang from the arches despite holding them up. Taking inspiration from the human ribcage, the designers balanced tension and resistance to form an efficient, beautiful building for the school.

Sustainable Interior: VALO Hotel & Work by SSA Hotels Oy/VALO Hotel & Work

Located in Helsinki, Finland, VALO is the world’s first dual-use building. As both an office space and a hotel, the building subverts the common conceptions of either, ensuring that the building is in use twenty-four hours a day.

As hotels and offices are both generally vacant for alternating times of the day, VALO conserves energy by combining the spaces into multi-use interiors that can transform according to the required purpose. Their housekeeping staff can easily turn a hotel room into an office space and vice versa, utilising sustainable materials in all facets. With spaces available for family holidays, solo trips, private offices, and team workshops, VALO maximises the use of their building by catering for all kinds of work and hospitality.

Sustainable Design: Notpla by Superunion

Notpla is an incredible seaweed-based packaging alternative that quite literally disappears after use. From Ooho liquid sachets to biodegradable coatings for food containers, Notpla is already transforming how we conceptualise packaging – and they have heat-sealable films and plastic sachets in the works, too.

The start-up aims to help solve the global plastic problem that dumps eight million tonnes of plastic into our oceans each year – a damning indictment on single-use plastic. These plastics in the oceans and in landfill take centuries to decompose, which is where Notpla comes in: this packaging biodegrades in four-to-six weeks. It’s completely home compostable and releases zero microplastics, keeping our waterways clear.

What’s more, Notpla is manufactured from brown seaweed, which grows up to one metre each day – one of the most renewable resources on the planet. Growing this seaweed doesn’t take up valuable farmlands, doesn’t use up fresh water, and doesn’t need fertilisers, all while helping to de-acidify our oceans naturally.


So, there you have it – our top picks for the Dezeen Awards Sustainability Categories. While these projects are our favourites, we really think the judging panel can’t go wrong in these categories. All efforts towards sustainability are great projects worthy of awards, so we can’t wait to see who gets the crown this November!

If you liked this article, you might like our feature on the 9th Architizer A+ Awards from earlier this year.

casper magazine

Lastest Feature

December 1, 2021
Community-based solutions developing better futures for Aboriginal youth: Strong Grandmothers of the Central Desert

These amazing Aboriginal women are patrolling the streets to support vulnerable kids before they end up in prison.

November 29, 2021
Louis Vuitton and Off-White Designer Virgil Abloh Dies At 41

Sadly, we learn that Louis Vuitton's Men's Artistic Director, Off-White founder Virgil Abloh, passed away today.

December 2, 2021
ASMR: How Random Sounds and Whispers Can Help Your Mental Health

Watching ASMR videos on YouTube is no longer a guilty pleasure – it could give you a mental health boost!



Casper Magazine is an independent Australian-based digital magazine produced in Melbourne.

You're in! Please check your junk folder for a confirmation email.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.