Pratt Institute’s School of Design Announces the Winners of the 2022 Material Lab Prize

Pratt Institute’s School of Design recently named Charlotte Reiter as the winner of its Material Lab Prize, which for three years has awarded $1,000 to a student designer whose work considers the potential of reclaimed waste.

Reiter (Master of Industrial Design ’24 at Pratt Institute) conceived “Gonecrete,” a new material comprised of rice and corn starches otherwise wasted during harvesting and production, as a biodegradable alternative to concrete. After some 100 material tests over several months, they hit upon a formula which retains strength while dry but dissolves quickly in water; a biodegradable Shellac coating keeps the material together, but can removed with a quick scrub.

Terratiles—square tiles comprising six different patterns—brings Gonecrete into the material palette for architects and designers. “It rethinks applications in tons of places for replaceable tiles or more,” said designer and co-founder of OurCarbon, Elizabeth Bridges, a juror on the prize committee. 

Material Lab also announced a pair of honorable mentions: Hsiao-Chieng Hung, who formulated a terrazzo-esque tile with flecks of dried paint in a project called Paintdora, and Emma Winick, whose Durafluff transforms recycled cushion-filling into structural material. Both will win a $500 prize, ensuring that the future of design is sustainable

Charlotte Reiter.
Charlotte Reiter.

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