Sustainability by Design: Innovation for a Circular Economy

Swiss & Bay Area designers explore the benefits and challenges of sustainable design.

cc0 via Pixabay

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94111 United States


January 14, 2020
6:00pm - 9:00pm
San Francisco



Join us for a discussion on the role of designers in actively shaping the path towards a more equitable planet. Alongside design experts from the Bay Area and Switzerland, we explore the question of social responsibility around consumer goods — and how design can incentivize people to live and act more sustainably in today’s societies. The event will shine light on how design can incite social change by including ethical considerations into the practice. 

As part of our Design Accelerator program with Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and Design Preis Schweiz, swissnex San Francisco will host design studios from Switzerland who will present innovative products and ideas in breakout sessions. These Swiss studios have been selected for our Swiss Design Accelerator arranged through an open call launched last September for a pilot program initiated between Pro Helvetia, swissnex San Francisco and Design Preis Schweiz.

This event is part of the Swiss Touch USA campaign, highlighting Switzerland as an innovative and forward-thinking partner in today’s ever-changing global community. 


6:00pm — doors open
6:30pm – intro by Nicola Ruffo, swissnex SF, Andréa Muller (Pro Helvetia), Michel Hueter (Design Preis Schweiz).
6:35 pm – panel discussion
7:15pm — q&a
7:30pm — networking & presentations from Swiss Design Studios
9:00 – doors close


Curime Batliner

Curime Batliner is an artist that works at the convergence of architecture, robotics and new media, interested in the shifting relationships between the natural and the artificial in the creation of culture. His artworks have been exhibited at Mextropoli, Museo Nacional de Arte Mexico and Design Miami. Curime has worked with a variety of brands such as Creative Artist Agency and TBWA on activations and commercials and collaborated on GL Form’s RV Prototype as well on the world’s first Active Energy Building by Falkeis2Architects. Curime is faculty in the robotics lab at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. His design research about collaborative design between humans and machines is published at the ICRA IEEE International Conference for Robotics and Automation as well as Robots in Architecture.

Dava Guthmiller

Dava Guthmiller is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Noise 13, a branding and design agency focused on lifestyle brands. She has over 20 years of experience leading strategy and design projects with clients such as Uber, Tile, Planet, Twitter, Pacific Catch, World Wrapps and Paso Wine. Dava is also the co-founder of In/Visible Talks, a community, and a conference that celebrates the art of design and creativity. Dava is also a board member for Slow Food California and the Visual Media Alliance. She has been featured in publications such as HOW, Communication Arts, Forbes, Huffington Post, and Print Magazine.

Michel Hueter

Michel Hueter has been Managing Director and Curator since 2011 and is, since 2018, co-owner of the Swiss Design Prize — Switzerland’s leading competitive design promotion platform. Previous career stations include Head of Communications International at the Swatch Group brand RADO Watch Co., where he was jointly responsible for the repositioning of the RADO brand, Head of Marketing communications for Presence Switzerland at Swiss appearances at international events such as the World Expo. At the beginning of his career, he worked first in Sales International and later in PR for various Swiss watch brands of the Swatch Group. Michel completed an apprenticeship as a restoration specialist, a commercial school and a training as a PR specialist.

Carolien Niebling 

Carolien Niebling lives and works in Zurich. She is a designer and researcher who specializes in food-related projects. Her work creates a bridge between science and food, using design as the medium to do so. Her book, “The Sausage of the Future” — supported by ECAL and published by Lars Müller Publishers — takes the reader on a journey through all the building blocks of a sausage. It just has been awarded at the Design Schweiz Preis in the Research category.

Sarah Steiner

After spending 10 years in the management of a food company, Sarah Steiner joined WormUp to make sure that worm activities are headed in the right strategic direction. WormUp offers a way to process organic waste using earthworms — simply recycle at home and convert it to a wonderful fertilizer. In addition to her profession as a project planner, Sarah is a passionate hobby gardener with a keen interest in permaculture. Sarah has found her new love in worms.

Claude Zellweger

Claude Zellweger is an industrial designer and leads Immersive Design at Google, where he is responsible for the VR/AR space and future hardware categories. He joined in 2016 and since helped launch the Daydream View as well as shape of upcoming AI driven hardware. Previously Claude held a position as VP of design at HTC, where he oversaw the design of their smartphones as well as the industry defining VR system, HTC Vive. As creative director Claude played a central role in turning HTC into a brand recognized for its design. Claude joined the organization in 2008 after his design agency One & Co was acquired by HTC. His work has appeared in numerous tech, design and fashion publications and has won 50+ international awards in the categories of consumer and industrial design. Claude also served as a juror on the ISDA awards for 2 years, in the categories of product, transportation and entertainment design. Claude was born in Switzerland and moved to California to study design at Art Center. Today he lives and works in San Francisco.


AATB | Andrea Anner & Thibault Brevet |
AATB are Andrea Anner & Thibault Brevet, both graduates from ECAL. Having previously worked on interactive objects, the tandem then explored the use of industrial robotic arms, crystallizing their research and leading them to investigate the potential of robotics and industrial automation outside of the factory.

WormUp | Sarah Steiner |
WormUp has set itself the goal to prevent any biogenic household waste from ending up in the traditional garbage where valuable nutrients are lost in incineration plants or cause methane emissions in landfills by designing an in-house compost bin powered by worms. This vermicompost system is easy, odorless and stylish.

Carolien Niebling | Sausage of the Future|
Born in the Netherlands, Carolien Niebling lives and works in Zurich. She is a designer and researcher who specializes in food-related projects. Her work creates a bridge between science and food, using design as the medium to do so. Her book, The Sausage of the Future — supported by ECAL and published by Lars Müller Publishers — takes the reader on a journey through all the building blocks of a sausage. It has been awarded at the Design Schweiz Preis in the Research category.

Douma/Guittet | Salim Douma and Victor Guittet |
Douma/Guittet is a Paris-based design studio founded by ECAL alumnis Salim Douma and Victor Guittet. They collaborate with startups and SME to design innovative products and meaningful experiences. They intervene in different sectors as medical, mobility, connected devices and office and living furniture design.

Genoma Grotesk | Robin Eberwein |
With his work Genoma Grotesk, Lugano-based Robin Eberwein created a variable screen font, which adjusts to its surroundings in real time. It was developed as a part of his Bachelor thesis at SUPSI in Canobbio (Ticino, Switzerland). The project underwent three work stages and additional applications for are being considered in the field of entertainment and marketing. Genoma Grotesk won the Rado Star Prize at the latest Design Preis Schweiz.

Swiss Design Accelerator

Pro Helvetia, swissnex San Francisco and Design Preis Schweiz have partnered to implement this cultural program at the interface of art and technology. swissnex San Francisco is part of the global swissnex Network for international collaboration and facilitates Swiss artists promotion and cultural exchanges with the US West Coast. With a solid understanding of both the Silicon Valley and Swiss innovation ecosystems, its mission is to connect people and ideas from Switzerland and the San Francisco Bay Area to foster exchange in research, education, innovation, and the arts.

Swiss Touch

Swiss Touch is an event series and social media campaign pushing Swiss innovation and creative ideas forward, through the participation of prominent Swiss and American stakeholders, a selection of compelling topics and unusual locations. Follow their journey throughout the U.S. at

Event Photos