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A Competition about Plastic in our Oceans

Our latest challenge is an effort 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.

We are now witnessing the exponential growth of a world-wide plastic epidemic, as our planet is becoming covered in man-made waste. Every year, we produce over 300 million tonnes of plastic. In other words, the total plastic weight we produce annually is equal to the total weight of the entire adult population of our planet.

By design, plastic is virtually indestructible and hence very hard to deal with as waste in an ecological way. Between 8 to 12 million tons of plastic pollution end up in our oceans every year, fuelled by gigantic river systems which pump the discarded plastics from our cities to our seas. From toxic microparticles in the deepest parts of the ocean, to gigantic waste islands the size of countries, the oceans today are riddled with plastic. Over 80% of marine litter is now plastic, with an estimated 46,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometre in the world’s oceans and over 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating around our waters.

This is quickly killing our planet’s marine life – from plankton to whales, corals, birds, seals and turtles – and destroying their delicate ecosystems. But this is just the beginning, as the amount of plastic in the ocean is set to increase tenfold by 2020 and with figures suggesting that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish by weight.

The urgency to act is 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 ask you 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 is 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.

Between these two themes, there are infinite degrees of cross-pollination, which you are also free to explore in your designs. For those who are interested in a more comprehensive strategy, there is also the possibility of dealing with the whole plastic pollution route: from source (river) to destination (ocean).

The competition brief is designed to describe the context and lay down some key questions within which you can operate and, by doing so, act as a kick-starter for more questions and concepts to flourish through your designs. Ultimately, it is up to you individually to define what the scope of the challenge is and what the outcome of this competition will be. Is it a structure, a series of structures, a product, a vehicle, an idea, a new place, a strategy or a combination of things?

You decide.


Interested in launching a competition with Eleven? Find out more.

Want to find out a little more about Eleven? Find out more.


Awards are per team and are as follows:



+ Publication in Eleven Magazine and our global media partners

+ Induction in Eleven’s Hall of Fame



+ Publication in Eleven Magazine and our global media partners

Honourable Mentions


No cash prize (boo)… but lots of glory nontheless (yay!)

+ Publication in Eleven Magazine and our global media partners

Peoples' Choice


+ Publication in Eleven Magazine and our global media partners

+ Induction in Eleven’s Hall of Fame

In addition, all awarded entries will be given a free voucher to enter one of Eleven’s future competitions (one voucher per team).



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.

But there is more... The general public will also have a chance to vote for their favourite entry while the jury deliberates behind the scenes. The project with the most public votes will win the People's Choice Award.

Competition Timeline:

  • 11 September 2018: Registration Opens. Early Bird discounted fee applies.
  • 9 October: Early Bird discounted fee ends. Standard Registration fee applies.
  • 28 December: Standard Registration fee ends. Late fee applies.
  • 11 January 2019 @ 11AM (UK Time): Competition closes. All entries are due for submission!
  • 16 January: Public voting opens online for People’s Choice Award.
  • 10 March @ 11AM (UK Time): Public voting closes online for People’s Choice Award.
  • 11 March: Winners and awarded entries are announced. Time to celebrate!

Registration Fees:

  • Early Bird: £60 per team
  • Standard: £90 per team
  • Late Bloomer: £120 per team
  • Student Discount: We offer a 10% discount to students. Please email us today to find out more.

Registration Requirements:

Open to students and/or professionals competing as individuals or as teams of up to four people.

Submission Requirements:

Two landscape A1 digital sheets and 500 words explanatory text per team. Physical models and/or videos are optional but welcomed. Projects to be submitted online by the 11th January 2019 by 11AM (UK Time).

Accessing the Full Brief:

This page represents a synopsis of the competition scope. A full competition brief will be provided in PDF format after registration.


  • Q1: Who can register?
  • A1: Anyone is welcome to register, be it students, professionals or enthusiasts.
  • Q2: How many people are allowed per team?
  • A2: A maximum of four people are allowed per team.
  • Q3: How many projects can one team submit? 
  • A3: One project per team entry is allowed. Teams who wish to compete with multiple designs can register their team multiple times. If this is the case, please email info@eleven-magazine.com.
  • Q4: Where can I access the full brief? 
  • A4: A full PDF brief, containing all of the competition materials and detailed information is accessible once you register for the competition. However, if you have any questions about the brief or the competition prior to entering, please feel free to email a member of our team on info@eleven-magazine.com. Be sure to put ‘PLASTIC WORLDS’ as the subject line of the email so that we can prioritise your response and get back to you quicker.
  • Q5: When do we have to give you the names of all the members of the team? Before or after the payment of the fee?
  • A5: After. You can add/remove/update your team members through your competition portal, which you will gain access to after you register. You will be able to amend this until the day you submit your project.
  • Q6: How do I submit my work?
  • A6: Online through your competition portal, which you get access to once you register. More information about the nitty gritty of submission criterias are found in the competition brief which you will be able to download once you register… so don’t leave your registration to the last minute!
  • Q7: How do I register for the competition?
  • A7: Simply click on ‘JOIN’ and follow the instructions. Please note that you will have to have an account with Eleven before you register, but this takes 2 minutes to do and is 100% FREE. We value our user community and your privacy. All account details are strictly confidential to Eleven.
  • Q8: What forms of payment do you accept?
  • A8: The quickest and easiest way is to pay with your PayPal account or with your Credit/Debit card. This will give you instant access to the competition and brief. Alternatively, we do accept Bank Transfers, but in this case your registration will be activated as soon as payments clear in our account only. This may take 5-7 days from when you instruct your bank, so if you are planning to pay via Bank Transfer, please leave yourself plenty of time to do so!
  • Q9: Are there any discounts for multiple teams entering the competition?
  • A9: Yes, there are! If you are a practice, an academic institution or a university who wishes to enter multiple teams in the competition, then please email us in regards on info@eleven-magazine.com for more information. Be sure to put ‘PLASTIC WORLDS’ as the subject line the email so that we can prioritise your response and get to you quicker.
  • Q10: Are there any discounts for students?
  • A10: Yes! We now offer a 10% discount to students. Please email on info@eleven-magazine.com for more information.

How can we help?

Need any help or wish to enter as an academic institution with multiple teams? Then please get in touch. Email Us

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.