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Ellie Banwell

MA work


Metablaze is a complete redesign of the circular economy guided by natural laws. It proposes incineration as a solution not for how to deal with waste, but as a way to collect precious resources that could not otherwise be recovered. Considered as part of the whole system, incineration becomes a method for recycling resources rather than how we dispose of what we can't. Once we recognize and learn to exploit the value locked in ash, the way is opened for a completely new approach to sustainable design that says 'yes' to high-tech materials, like composites and adhesives, and reconsiders the potential positive impact of previously taboo techniques, like designed obsolescence.


  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Innovation Design Engineering, 2015

  • Ellie Banwell is a scientist and designer specializing in biomimetic design and the circular economy. Prior to becoming a designer, Ellie completed her PhD in Chemistry at Bristol University and has worked as a post doc in the UK and Japan, where her primary research focus was the design of protein-based biomaterials. She is particularly drawn to wicked problems and her design portfolio includes projects to create stronger community links between Israelis and Palestinians as well as ways to restore lost metals to the industrial resource cycle. She is a Schmidt-MacArthur Fellow.
  • Degrees

  • PhD Chemistry, University of Bristol, 2008; BSc Biomedicine, University of Lancaster, 2002