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A Competition about Plastic in our Oceans

Welcome to Plastic Worlds a challenge designed to fight plastic waste in our waters by focusing on rivers and oceans. Plastic pollution in our oceans is one of the biggest environmental problems we are facing today on our planet. It is no longer an occurrence reserved to isolated pockets of our earth, but rather a booming global phenomenon. We invite creatives and visionaries from all around the world to join in and fight plastic pollution through raw creativity, imagination and talent.

The urgency to act was the driving force behind this competition: a challenge designed to get the creative community engaged with our plastic world and propose innovative solutions from a design-led solution.

We asked the creative community to think of ways to fight the plastic problem in our waters – from rivers to oceans – and turn a threat into an opportunity. The competition was developed around two themes, each with a specific objective and site typology linked to it.

The first is the theme of ‘prevention’, which is linked to rivers and focuses on the concept of halting the plastic flow through interventions on these massive water infrastructures. The second theme is ‘action’, which is linked to the oceans and focuses on ways behind the cleaning up of the existing pollution.


Sponge Bait

Eliana Racho & Jeff Msanne

Decades have passed on plastic waste mismanagement that has led to vast swirls of plastic rubbish on the ocean’s surface, representing just the tip of the iceberg. “Sponge Bait” is the responsive solution to the tremendous disruption Mankind has made to our oceans. The ocean’s natural system of water purification came from its elder creatures, Sea Sponges. These cleaning species are able to filter and purify the ocean’s water. What if the cure to the ocean plastic crisis lies in the ocean itself? “Sponge Bait”, inspired by the composition of sea sponges, is a free-roaming structure able to collect encountered…

runner up

[CONT] tenants : Vessel with a View

Hoi Yee Julie Tse
(New Zealand)

Plastic is fantastic. It is praised for its amazing versatility and strength. Despite the tragic phenomenon we must acknowledge that it had served humanity with convenience thanks to modern technological advancements for keeping edibles fresh during transport and handling. Discarded plastic does its job once then forever floats at the bottom of a compounding chain reaction. The sin of discarded plastic is defined by Plastic’s linear product life-stages against Nature’s cycles with its entrapment within in a perpetual state of uselessness long after a single-use when it should take on a new life after meeting its original function, transforming into…

Honourable Mentions:


Weicheng Li, Susan Jones & Richard Mohler
(USA, China)

Plastic was a blessing as an invention. It has bought the world many conveniences and wonderful new experiences. However, it has built up to become a threat, not only to human beings but, more so to the other creatures on the planet. This material has been designed to be long-lasting. But Ironically now we are seeking for solutions to hide and destroy those ever-lasting materiality. What is exactly is plastic? How many types are there? How can we recycle more? Can we reuse plastic and how can we reuse it? This project will focus on answering those questions but in…

Message on a bottle

Jacob Low, Milen Low, William Deleporte & Nedzad Sahovic
(UK, France, Bosnia)

Plastic Worlds In 2018, 55% of the rubbish in the ocean was either plastic waste or cigarette butts, 65% of which was contributed by the OECD and EAP nations. Ten of the world’s major rivers carry 90% of all plastics to the sea. The front line of the fight to stop plastics entering the oceans is in the developing world. 20% of the world population still lack access to financial services that could strengthen their economic situation and improve their life conditions. 1% of the population of rich countries owns 99% of the global wealth. It is the responsibility of…

E-topia: Next Nature Architecture

Alexandra-Adelina Lacatusu

E-topia starts with the bold intention of eliminating all harmful plastic pollution from both terrestrial and aquatic environments in a fast and effective way that can also be sustainable at any scale, replicable across the world and adaptable to any political, economic, social, technological, legal or environmental context. As a result, E-topia defines a biomimetic architectural system – a next nature – comprised of both biological and synthetically developed organisms that grow and self-replicate by up-cycling plastic waste into food at multiple scales. From virus-sized e-seeds to e-tree forest networks, e-tree species are designed to populate and thrive in PET…

Memperbaru Jakarta

Amanda Mei Schwarz

Jakarta, Indonesia is home to some of the world’s most polluted rivers – clogged with plastic waste to the point of an environmental, infrastructural, and public health crisis. Running through the heart of Jakarta is the Ciliwung River, a point of convergence for plastic pollution entering the Java Sea. Memperbaru Recycling Center proposes a way of reconciling the byproducts of everyday urban life, appearing as an unexpected beast rising from the abandoned Dutch colonial Kota Tua along the polluted Ciliwung canals. A solution addressing current conditions and preventing further pollution, this is the outcry of a city that must heal…


Tongtong Zhang, Siyu Liu & Mark Douglas Heller
(China & USA)

Marine debris and sea level rise are two manifestations of the same problem – an overreliance on inexpensive consumer good inputs has produced skyrocketing volumes of plastics, the production of which from petroleum contributes to rising greenhouse gas emissions. The inclusion of microplastics in everything from synthetic clothing fibers to cosmetics and toothpaste has yielded an irreversible rise in the volume of marine debris as well as the sea level. Trashscape seeks to ameliorate this dual problem by proposing a hybrid industrial-educational site on the Reserve Channel in South Boston. We envision this project as a satellite campus of the…

W.I.R.M. Factory

John Wischmeyer & Zach Morgan

W.I.R.M. Factory, Waste Integration Research Management Factory, is a zero net energy, self-sustaining, floating laboratory that studies methods to accelerate the biodegradation of plastic in Earth’s oceans. When deployed in the most polluted regions, such as The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, W.I.R.M. Factory focuses on ways to decrease the millions of tons of plastic polluting our oceans. W.I.R.M. Factory is a linear system that extracts harmful inorganic material from the ocean and combines innovative strategies using microorganisms, worms, and mycelium containment, which culminates in soil production. Over time, the soil dissolves back in to the ocean. First, water and debris…

people's choice


Lovelyn Pastrana, Cece Roque & Dominique Turner

Upstream is a closed-loop plastic management system created to eliminate misuse. We have found that decisions made by companies, consumers and collectors are completely disconnected. This confuses responsibility and convenience. Upstream seeks to create balance by removing ownership of plastic and facilitating better use of the resource. We strive to be experts in the world of plastic and change mindsets for a sustainable future. The value of plastic shouldn’t be underestimated or misused. We want consumers to own the product, not the plastic. Reuse must be a dominant method of sustainability and through consolidation, we can simplify and better utilize…

Explore all the other amazing entries:


Meet our panel of world class experts, pioneers and fellow designers:

Luca Maccarinelli

Associate, Spark* Architects

Luca Maccarinelli

Associate, Spark* Architects

Coming soon...

Michael Pawlyn

Director, Exploration Architecture

Michael Pawlyn

Director, Exploration Architecture

Coming soon...

Safia Quershi

CEO, CupClub

Safia Quershi

CEO, CupClub

Coming soon...

Shannon Royden-Turner

Director, Actuality

Shannon Royden-Turner

Director, Actuality

Coming soon...

Chris Precht

Director, Penda

Chris Precht

Director, Penda

Coming soon...

Eloise Carr

Editor, Eleven Magazine

Eloise Carr

Editor, Eleven Magazine

Eloise joined Eleven Magazine in 2016 as Editor and Communications Director.

She was born in England in 1985 and grew up in a small village a stone’s throw away from Windsor. The world of art and design has attracted her from a young age and saw her experimenting with fine art, graphics, fashion design, photography, printmaking, textiles, screen-printing, jewellery design and digital media throughout her personal and professional life.

Eloise gained her BA (Hons) Fashion and Textiles degree in 2006 and later moved into the world of interior architecture obtaining a MA (Hons) Interior Design in 2011. She has worked on many diverse projects including collaborations with Tatty Divine, Cole and Son and the London Olympic Games.  

She is a full member of the BSME (British Society of Magazine Editors).

Eloise loves to travel to experience different cultures and sights, which inspires her creativity. In her spare time she enjoys designing at multiple scales, taking far to many photographs, going to the gym and returning home to a healthy dinner of wine and cheese!

Andrea Verenini

Founder, Eleven Magazine

Andrea Verenini

Founder, Eleven Magazine

Andrea founded Eleven Magazine in 2015 and currently works as its Editor in Chief and Creative Director.

He was born in Bologna in 1984 and spent his childhood and teen years growing up in Italy, Hungary, Russia and Austria. At the age of 17 he moved to the UK to pursue his higher education in Architecture.

Andrea holds a BA (Hons) Architecture degree (2006), a Diploma in Architecture (2009), and in 2010 was awarded a fully-funded doctorate studentship, which he successfully completed with a PhD in Architecture and Urban Regeneration in 2014.

His architecture career has seen him active in both research, academia and practice. He has worked for Grimshaw Architects in London and taught at University in both undergraduate and post-graduate levels on subjects ranging from architecture/urban history and theory, sustainable design, emergent architectural trends, modular/movable architecture, responsive dynamic design, and nature-inspired design.

Andrea is a full member of the BSME (British Society of Magazine Editors).

In parallel to Eleven, Andrea works as a freelance designer and architect on experimental projects and international collaborations.

In his spare time Andrea enjoys traveling, photography and (English weather permitting) riding around on his motorcycle avoiding woodland creatures on country lanes.

Richard James MacCowan

Director, Biomimicry UK

Richard James MacCowan

Director, Biomimicry UK

"I’m looking for something different, well researched and makes me sit up and say, ‘why didn’t I think of that’."

Richard is the founder and director of the Biomimicry UK, a social enterprise offering training in bioinspiration across a broad range of sectors. Richard has given talks around the world on a variety of topics, ranging from packaging, architecture, through to innovation workshops for super yacht designers. His current focus is on the manufacturing sector and how bioinspiration can help reshape this for the 21st century.

Richard has degrees in both real estate development and urban design. He is a co-founder of the startup Smart Stable Limited, focusing on technology to improve the health and wellbeing in the equine industry. In his spare time, he is focusing on bioinspiration and natural systems at the city-level for his PhD research.

Eleven's competitions are the ideal arena for generating pro-active international think-tanks in a whole variety of contemporary hot topics and contexts: from social issues to environmental threats, new technologies, shifting urban landscapes, exotic ecological havens, product design, fashion and - why not - even outer space!

We love competitions because they are instrumental in highlighting emerging talent and starting design-led revolutions around the world.

Our challenges have had exhibitions in Europe and the USA,  published in multiple international magazines such as the Architecture Review, the AJ, Dezeen, Archdaily and Designboom, and consistently win awards year after year.


2015 - Our inaugural competition 'Cambodia' wins the 3rd place in Bustler’s ‘Top-10 Best Competitions of the Year' Awards, and Eleven is officially in business.

2016 - 'Moontopia' is featured as 7th in Bustler’s ‘Top-10 Best Competitions of the Year' Awards.

2017 - Eleven becomes the most popular competition portal in the world with a double-whammy placement two competitions - 'Rome' (winning 3rd place) and 'Planetarium' (arriving in 5th place) - being featured in the top-5 places in Bustler’s ‘Top-10 Best Competitions of the Year' Awards.

2018 - Watch this space...

Cambodia 2015 Jury Team:

Andrew Maynard (Andrew Maynard Architects), Arthur Andersson (Andersson-Wise), Camillo Boano (The Bartlett, UCL), Christine Murray (Editor in Chief, Architectural Review), Elena Douvlou (Metropolitan University of Athens), Ingrid Bille (BilleByeSheid), Massimo Forese (+39 Architects), Mathilde Marengo (IAAC, Barcelona), Perry Hopper (Grimshaw), Shaun O'Rourke (BAC), Tom Kundig (Olson Kundig), Andrea Verenini (Editor, Eleven).

* This event was run in support of the Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) charity.

San Francisco 2016 Jury Team:

Amy Frearson (Deputy Editor of Architecture, Dezeen), The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), Carlos Arnaiz (CAZA), Chris White (BIG), Hasdai Westbrook (Editor, Impact Design Hub), John Barton (Dean of Architecture, Stanford University), Jonny McKenna (Metropolitan Workshop), Karen Nelson (Dean, BAC), Leon Roast (BIG), Lewis Knight (Gensler), Kristi Loui (Gensler), Matthew Mazzotta (MIT), NAP+P Architects (Winner of Cambodia 2015: consisting of members Natthapol Pongplanchai, Planin Chantalert, Porncharoen Orbanratmanee, Pratchaya Lertruck Sadee), Roger Hawkins (Hawkins/Brown), Trent Tesch (KPF), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event was run in support of the Project Night Night charity. 

Moontopia Jury Team:

ASPECT Studios (Winners of San Francisco 2016), Alberto Villanueva Galindo (IDEA Architecture Office), The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), Brent Sherwood (NASA), Christina Ciardullo (Carnegie Mellon University), Kriss J. Kennedy (NASA), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Biomimicry Jury Team:

Alexander Walter (Editor, Archinect & Bustler), Jan Utzon (Utzon Associates Architects), Richard James MacCowan (Biomimicry Institute UK), Timothy McGee (LikoLab), Yaniv Peer (Exploration Architecture), Marko Brajovic (Atelier Marko Brajovic), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Rome 2017 Jury Team:

Patrik Schumacher (Director, Zaha Hadid Architects), Francesco Gatti (3Gatti), Francesco Lipari (OFL Architecture / Cityvision Magazine), Emanuel Jalbert (In Situ), Lorenzo Catena, Onorato di Manno and Andrea Tanci (SET Architects), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Planetarium Jury Team:

Christina Ciardullo (Architectural Designer and Educator), Thomas Wang (Partner, Ennead Architects), Lars Lindberg Christensen (Head of Education and Public Outreach, ESO), Dan Goods (Artist in Residence, NASA JPL), Eric Hanson (Founder and Partner, xRez Studio), Jim Sweitzer (Astrophysicist and Museum Consultant), Stephen Dubois (Secretary, Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society), Charles Beichman (Executive Director, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Caltech / NASA JPL), Dennis Cohen (Creative Director and Experience Designer, Ralph Applebaum Associates),  Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event was run in partnership with Christina Ciardullo and sponsored by the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society (MAPS)

Shelter 48 Jury Team:

Abeer Seikaly (Architect & Cultural Designer), Narinder Sagoo (Partner, Fosters + Partners), Hakan Gürsu (Founder & CEO, Designnobis), Amro Callam (Executive Director, Architecture for Society), Karina Ashrapova (Winner, Eleven's Biomimicry Competition), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven) Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* Poster graphics designed by Concept BRE

Safari (Matobo, Zimbabwe 2017) Jury Team:

Beks Ndlovu (CEO, African Bush Camps), Derek Solomon (Animal Behaviour and Communication Specialist/Author/Private Guide), Rob Janisch (Biomimicry and Genius of Nature Guru/Private Guide), Chris Browne (Owner, Fox Browne Creatives), Debra Fox (Owner, Fox Browne Creatives), Charlene Hewat (CEO, Environment Africa), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event was run in partnership with African Bush Camps and also in support of their charity African Bush Camp Foundation.

Marstopia Jury Team:

Andrew Aldrin (Son of legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Director of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute), Alberto Villanueva Galindo (Architect and Academic, IDEA Architecture Office), Jessie Andjelic (Founding Partner of SPECTACLE and Head of Mars Studio at the University of Calgary), Marc Guberman (Team Leader of the Mars Habitat Project and Partner at Fosters + Partners), Stefano Boeri (Founding Partner, Stefano Boeri Architetti), SEArch Architects (Awarded first place in NASA’s 3D Printed Mars Habitat Challange), Vera Mulyani (CEO and Founder, Mars City Design), ZA Architects (Directors and Co-Founders Dmitry Zhuikov and Arina Agieieva), Monika Lipinska, Laura Olivier and Inci Ogun (Winners of Eleven's Moontopia Competition), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* Competition friend: Mars City Design

Macro to Micro Jury Team:

Adam Vickers (Managing Director of Squareyard Landscape Architecture), Wayne Hemingway (Chairman at CABE and Founder of Hemingway Design), Max Farrell (Senior Partner at Farrells), Lisa Kinch (Associate Architect at Farrells and Lecturer at Manchester School of Architecture), Katy Lock (Policy Manager at Garden Cities and New Towns, Town and Country Planning Association), Steve Sheen (Housing Strategy and Partnerships Manager at Manchester City Council), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event is run in partnership with BETA Events, sponsored by Square Yard, and is part of the event BETA Housing 2018 (12 July, Manchester, UK).

Malecon (Havana) Jury Team:

Peter Noever (Professor, Principle at No/Ever Design and original member of the 'Havana Project'), Wolf D. Prix (Professor, Principle/CEO at COOP HIMMELB(L)AU and original member of the 'Havana Project'), Theodore Hoerr (Founding Principal, Terrain Work), Paul Bulkeley (Design Director, Snug Architects), Carl Prusha (Professor, Director at CP Architects and original member of the 'Havana Project'), Carlos Arnaiz (Founding Partner, CAZA), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Plastic Worlds Jury Team:

Chris Precht (Founding Partner, Penda), Luca Maccarinelli (Associate, Spark* Architects), Michael Pawlyn (Founder, Exploration Architecture), Richard James MacCowan (Founder, Biomimicry UK), Safia Qureshi (CEO, CupClub), Shannon Royden-Turner (Founder, Actuality), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Sponsoring a competition is a great and fun way to not only support creative innovation and foster talent but also raise your profile and visibility. We offer a wide range of sponsorship packs tailored to fit all budgets and designed to maximise your global outreach.

If you like what we do, then why not inquire about how you could sponsor a competition today?  Contact us to find out more.