December 12, 2018
by AIA New York
BetterBin Competition finalists. Image courtesy of DSNY.
BetterBin Competition finalists. Image courtesy of DSNY.

The NYC Department of Sanitation, Van Alen Institute, the Industrial Designers Society of America, and AIA New York have announced the three finalists in the BetterBin competition: Group Project (Colin P. Kelly), IONDESIGN GmbH Berlin, and Smart Design. The competition offered designers an opportunity to reimagine New York City’s iconic green wire litter basket.

New York City is home to more than 23,000 litter baskets that offer pedestrians a convenient way to dispose of refuse and recycling on the go. The most widespread design—the green wire-mesh basket—dates to the 1930s. While iconic to the streets of New York, the basket is in need of a redesign to address the current and future waste needs of the City.

The BetterBin competition offered designers from around the world a chance to envision a new litter basket with a sustainable, environmentally conscious, and ergonomic design that could improve the quality of life for New Yorkers and the service experience for sanitation workers across the city.

The three finalists were selected out of nearly 200 submissions from around the world. Each finalist will receive $40,000, which includes an award and funding to produce full-scale prototype baskets for testing out on New York City streets. Prototype testing will take place in summer 2019 and will be accompanied by a public opinion survey. After the testing period, the judging panel will select a first-place winner based on prototype performance, public response, and feedback from the Department’s sanitation workers. The winner will be eligible to contract with the City for further design development to ensure the ability to mass-produce the basket at a reasonable cost, as well as refine technical issues.

About the Finalists

Group Project (Colin P. Kelly)
Design Team Members: Colin P. Kelly, Brit Kleinman, Brandon Massey, Chris Glaister

Group Project is an interdisciplinary design team passionate about improving the everyday experiences of urban life. With diverse backgrounds in architecture, art, industrial design, and engineering, Group Project reframes problems and derives innovative solutions for a more sustainable future. Group Project is thrilled to partner with DSNY, Van Alen Institute, IDSA and AIANY on developing a litter basket for New York City that will better serve sanitation workers, modernize the streetscape, and change the public’s perceptions and behaviors towards waste—with the goal of achieving zero waste by 2030. The team’s proposal utilizes modularity, complementary materials, and a NYC-inspired aesthetic to achieve a solution that significantly improves the servicing experience, keeps our streets clean and orderly, and symbolizes a new future for the NYC Department of Sanitation.

Design Team Members: Anja Götz, Christoph Fleckenstein, Tom Ruthenberg, Martin Binder, Christina Schäfer, Dario Zadra, Annika Rauch, Amir Reza Ameli

IONDESIGN’s interdisciplinary work spreads across product, public, graphic, web, packaging, exhibition and interior design to architecture. The studio treat graphics, objects, and spaces in an integrative manner. For IONDESIGN, there are no boundaries between the design disciplines; products and buildings equally serve daily use. Their purpose becomes recognizable in their shape. IONDESIGN’s approach is aimed at longevity and continuous improvement of the ergonomic, technical, economic, cultural and aesthetic functions, which opens up immeasurable creative potentials. IONDESIGN was founded in 1993 in Berlin by Anja Götz and Christoph Fleckenstein. Today the eight-person team from various backgrounds combine their skills to track down the ideal design solution for every task. IONDESIGN has been honored with numerous international awards, among them RedDot, iF, FOCUS, German Design Award, GOOD DESIGN Award Japan, and the GOOD DESIGN Award of the Chicago Athenaeum.

Smart Design
Design Team Members: Davin Stowell, James Krause, Dan Grossman, Edward Laganis, Meegan Daigler, Albert Kwak, Grayson Hild

Founded in 1980, Smart Design is a strategic design company based in New York and London. Smart Design believes in designing with people, and for people, to create a smarter and more sustainable world. With a rich heritage in humanizing emerging technologies, and unique expertise in bridging the physical and digital, the company’s fundamental goal remains the same: make experiences more intuitive, enjoyable and relevant. From redesigning the New York taxi to launching category-defining products and services for clients such as Ford, PepsiCo, OXO, Sephora and Samsung, our multidisciplinary design experts continue to create solutions to our clients’ toughest challenges.


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