In one of the most prestigious design universities in the world, right at the entrance - The Street -  you will be able to catch a glimpse of the Airstream, home to our first circular material hub: the Swap Shop.

What is the Swap Shop?

The Swap Shop is an initiative conceived by the Climate Emergency Network and UAL students and technicians, originally set to facilitate material swapping between students and staff and now powered by Renée Materials.

Today the Swap Shop is a space dedicated to unwanted or unused materials that can be creatively re-used and re-purposed. The system helps UAL’s community save money whilst reinforcing an important message about the difference between “end-of-use" and “end-of-life".

How does it work?

Students can come to the Swap Shop and either drop off, pick up or borrow displayed materials.
All the materials have been either donated by the University’s workshops, facilities, staff and students or by external companies or organizations that are part of Renée’s network.

Once the right material has been found, students check out with staff and register the material’s main information (such as weight and description). This helps UAL keep a critical archive on the Swap Shop’s materials, while measuring its impact.

Students are always asked to follow up with the Swap Shop through pictures of the material’s transformations. This helps the material hub keep up with the item's life and students shift their perception around waste and free resources, whilst enabling more circular behaviours in the creative field. All the offcuts, or the finished product, if unneeded, can be brought back to the Swap Shop, ready to be creatively reused by someone else.

Circular Material Hubs for creative institutions

Workshops, classes, labs, loading bays collect an incredible amount of unused materials, leftovers and scrap resources. Because of storage space or time constraints these materials usually end up in the skip. Other than being harmful for our environment, this is a great waste of energy, resources and finances. That is why we want to help institutions set up their own in-house Circular Material Hubs, giving a space to waste

Circular material hubs become key spaces where all unused resources can be collected and offered back to creatives to be reused for their projects.

We study closely the organizations’ formal and informal systems, behaviors and waste-streams and develop Circular Hubs that adapt to the users’ and institutions’ needs. At the same time we valorize precious materials and make do with existing resources, fostering circularity and creative reuse. Or, as we like to say, design new rather than buy new

Are you a company with unused or leftover materials?

Join us in our fight against wasted resources! Donate your offcuts, unneeded materials, damaged goods or leftovers to our creative network.

Does your institution want its own Material Hub?

Reach out to us! We'll help you build the perfect hub for your creative audience and help you cut off waste and wasted resources.