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Katrine Hesseldahl

PhD Work

Component wear and consumer experience for the circular economy

Katrine started her PhD project with the Burberry Material Futures Research Group (BMFRG) in 2019. The primary aim of her project is to establish a framework for designing consumer experiences that contribute to a circular economy by inviting and empowering consumers to participate in closing the material circles. She intends to establish this framework through a practice-based project, through designing a collection of key garments which are developed to work according to a circular model of manufacturing and use. By designing a collection of garments, she intends to map out the key moments in a product’s lifecycle where users can contribute to the circular flow. The resulting framework will take the form of a set of guidelines intended to inform future design practice. 

MA work

Strata Pace Layer Products: A new way of buying, owning and designing furniture.

This project offers a circular alternative to fast-paced furniture consumption that is having a negative effect on the environment and putting strain on increasingly scarce resources. 

Different parts of products have different life expectancies, leading to products being discarded as soon as one part is broken or outdated. By changing perceptions of products from single composed entities, to connected layers with different life expectancies,  users have the possibility to renew and personalise their home without compromising the environment. 

This is expressed through a 'Logic of Layers' that separates products into fast and slow layers. Skin Layers are fast, customisable and should be super-recyclable. These are the outer layers of products that users frequently interact with, and in conventional products have the shortest life-expectancy. Base Layers are slow, and usually make up the inner parts of the product. They are resilient, long lasting and robust.

The project is demonstrated through a physical product, a furniture system, with each layer designed to fit the logic, and a service/business model that explores how the products can be accessed by customers.


  • PhD


    Materials Science Research Centre


    Materials Science Research Centre PhD, 2019–

  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Design Products, 2017



  • Katrine's work aims to intrigue, interest and invite people to take steps in the direction towards a more sustainable, fair, fun and beautiful future for our society. She is deeply concerned with the scale and complexity of the problems we are facing today, e.g. climate changes, overuse of resources, social inequality, and feels a natural responsibility to be part of creating solutions for these problems.

  • Degrees

  • BA Industrial Design, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, 2014; MA Design Products, Royal College of Art, 2017
  • Experience

  • Visiting researcher, Burberry Material Futures Research Group, London, 2019; User experience designer, Intelligent Mobility Design Centre, London, 2018 - 2019; Workshop co-creater and co-facilitator, Circular IKEA 2025, IKEA, Delft, 2017; Research associate, Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, London, 2017; Maker in residence, British Council, “Hello Shenzhen” exchange project, British Council, Shenzhen, 2017; Design intern, WRAP, Banbury, 2016
  • Exhibitions

  • Recycling. Sorted. (Fix Our City: The London Design Festival), Machines Room, London, 2016; Hello Shenzhen UK Makers, British Council, OCAT, Shenzhen, 2017
  • Awards

  • Realys Design Award for Work Futures, Helen Hamlyn Design Awards, 2017; Robin & Lucienne Day Prize, Royal College of Art Graduate Show, 2017
  • Conferences

  • Space – A Layered Approach to Space Habitat Interior Designs, International Astronautical Congress, International Astronautical Federation, September 2017; Strata Space – a layered approach to interior designs, International Astronautical Congress, International Astronautical Federation, September 2017; Curating Opportunities', Eleventh International Conference on The Inclusive Museum, The Inclusive Museum, September 2018; 'Using Design Thinking to Develop New Methods of Inclusive Exhibition Making', Universal Design & Higher Education in Transformation Congress, UDHEIT, October–November 2018
  • Publications

  • Katrine Hesseldahl, Chris McGinley, Georgia Monk, Using Design Thinking to Develop New Methods of Inclusive Exhibition Exhibition Making, Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, Volume 256, 2018, p.151 - 160