Established in 2011 by three university graduates, KaCaMa Design Lab is a Hong Kong-based product design company, which reuses waste materials in its designing and manufacturing of high-quality consumer products. The company works to reduce overall waste and instil into consumers the value of sustainable product design.
Current society is driven by a linear take-make-dispose industrial model that is exacerbating climate change and resource scarcity. The unsustainable exploitation of finite raw materials to manufacture products that have a short shelf life and are discarded once it no longer serves its purpose is highly inefficient. Transforming this wasteful consumer culture requires developing a circular economy through sustainable product design. A circular economy emphasises the values of remanufacturing and upcycling. Remanufacturing increases the product longevity and reduces overall waste by taking discarded products and remanufacturing them into new products, while upcycling is the process of converting discarded materials into new, high quality and functional materials (EMF 2012).
KaCaMa Design Lab reduces end-of-life waste when products are discarded after serving their initial purpose, through the remanufacturing of everyday products. Inspired to take action by the amount of waste generated at the 2008 Olympic Games and after major conventions, the first product launched was the Living Pixel desk lamp that incorporates discarded advertising banners into individual light shades. KaCaMa Design Lab has also started engaging with local plastic and electronic recyclers, event organisers and schools to increase their source of discarded materials. Their product range now includes pens manufactured from discarded wine corks, tables supported by recycled plastic hangers and tote bags created using waste leather collected from handbag factories in Hong Kong.
KaCaMa Design Lab has participated in various regional and global design awards competitions since 2011, including the prestigious Design for Asia Award and the Red Dot Design Award based in Germany. KaCaMa Design Lab also aims to achieve social impact through connecting with local enterprises and engaging with vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. They have employed disabled people, mentally ill patients and retired clothing manufacturers to help with their design and manufacturing process to improve social inclusion and instil the value of environmental sustainability into society. KaCaMa Design Lab is also the designer of the Mody Road Garden, an award-winning redesigned public community space with specially designed art and outdoor furniture that encourages social interactions and promotes the values of sustainable living. The group also engages in active advocacy to call for a wider restructuring of the recycling facilities in Hong Kong, to ensure that more discarded products and materials can be re-used or remanufactured.
“Towards the Circular Economy Vol. 1: An economic and business rationale for an accelerated transition.” Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Cowes, Isle of Wight, United Kingdom, 2012. https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications/towards-the-circular-economy-vol-1-an-economic-and-business-rationale-for-an-accelerated-transition. Accessed 12 October 2020.