Remix el Barrio, Food Waste Biomaterial Makers

IaaC Fab Lab Barcelona, The Remixers

Grand Prize – Innovative Collaboration: Awarded for innovative collaboration between industry or technology and the arts that opens new pathways for innovation.

Remix el Barrio
Foto: Fab Lab Barcelona

Over the last 30 years, plastic production has increased by 620%.
In Catalonia alone, every day, 720,000 kg of food is thrown away. This wasted food, totaling 260,000 tons per year, is equivalent to the food needs of 500,000 people for one year. Remix el Barrio was born with the ambition to propose a learning space to encourage and nurture new practices based on food-waste crafts. It is the result of a pilot program where various designers learn about biomaterial design and explore projects with food scraps using artisanal techniques and digital fabrication. Remix El Barrio was created in the regenerative district of Poblenou, more specifically in the ecosystem of Fab Lab Barcelona, where designers united to co-produce new forms of crafts from their individual aspirations, benefitting from regular peer-learning sessions, access to machines and tools, and learning from the maker open source culture present all over the place. Each designer has initiated a creative design driven material innovation approach where they identify a recurrent local food waste case, learn about its characteristics, investigate how to best collect and process it, and imagine future applications and material life-cycle narratives.

Remix el Barrio
Foto: Fab Lab Barcelona

Guided and mentored by experts from the field at Fab Lab Barcelona, they experimented with different recipes for making materials with appropriate flexibility, strength, and esthetics, and tested diverse fabrication techniques, from molding to extrusion, laser cutting, CNC milling, and 3D printing. Each project could have entered into an iterative loop of prototyping, fed by intrinsic people creativity and interactions with peers, lab gurus, external experts, local providers, and future users. This resulted in a strong diversity of projects with outstanding circular narratives, materials, products, and services:

Remix el Barrio
Foto: Fab Lab Barcelona

Beyond the pilot, Remix has transformed into a collective that experiences circularity, not only by creating materials with local food leftovers but also by exploring collaboration, inclusiveness, and self-management towards shared knowledge with local actors and global outreach.

The Remixers’ leitmotiv: “We are exploring new practices to stop wasting our time and our resources and act at a local scale to foster more social circular practices. We collaborate and involve local agents from the neighborhood such as restaurants, urban gardens, and neighborhood associations, to promote a local circular economy ecosystem. We affirm the potential of co-design, digital manufacturing, and crafts to reinvent our ways of producing, consuming, and living with awareness of the environmental ecosystem. We claim the need to imagine new models and techniques to innovate with what we commonly call ‘waste’. We value innovative and artistic practices as a motor for social change. We are convinced that living shared design experiences can facilitate the empowerment of territories to implement a circular economy.”

Foto: Fab Lab Barcelona


Fab Lab Barcelona at IAAC represented by the project team Anastasia Pistofidou, Marion Real and Milena Juarez Calvo. Fab Lab Barcelona is an innovation center rethinking the way we live, work, and play in cities. Located at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), it provides access to the tools, knowledge and means to educate, innovate and invent using technology and digital fabrication to allow anyone to make (almost) anything. The institution supports contemporary educational and research programs related to the multiple scales of the human habitat. Fab Lab Barcelona is also the headquarters of the global coordination of the Fab Academy program in collaboration with the Fab Foundation and the MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms.

Anastasia Pistofidou is a digital fabrication expert, wearables and e-textiles practitioner, biomaterial maker, and educator. Part of the Fab Lab Barcelona at IAAC team since 2011 as a tutor, advanced manufacturing office manager, coordinator and researcher she is currently leading the Materials and Textiles strategic area. In 2013 she co-founded FabTextiles and in 2017 she co-founded Fabricademy, a new Textile Academy, a globally distributed program that explores the implications and applications of new technologies at the intersection of textiles, digital fabrication and biology. She also works as a content curator for Fab Foundation.

Marion Real is a systemic design researcher exploring co-creation processes in the territorial transformations toward circular economies and cosmopolitan localism. She is currently working at Fab Lab Barcelona at IAAC where she has coordinated the 10 pilots in the SISCODE project, including Remix el Barrio. She is also associate researcher at Estia, Chaire
Bali and Centre for Circular Design.

Milena Juarez Calvo is a Brazilian environmental engineer with master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies in Environmental, Economic and Social Sustainability and specialization in Urban and Industrial Ecology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. She currently coordinates the CENTRINNO Barcelona pilot at IAAC and works as an action researcher for the SISCODE, FoodSHIFT and REFLOW EU projects.

The Remixers collective has emerged as a group incubated in Fab Lab Barcelona within the SISCODE EU project pilot. They experience the value of co-creation and open knowledge and formed a group of like-minded individuals who defend sustainability, cooperativism, shared infrastructures, and circular glocalism. They wish to further collaborate in establishing a space to experiment with local food waste and biofabrication with a goal to connect with local services, activate circularity, and scale up by collaborating with open-minded and visionary industries. The Remixers is formed by Arleny Medina, Clara Davis, Dihue Miguens, Elisenda Jaquemot, Giorgia Filipellini, Joseán Vilar, Lara Campos, Laura Freixas, Nuria Bonet Roca, Secil Asfar, Silvana Catazine, Susana Jurado Gavino and local agents from Poblenou and Barcelona.

Remix el Barrio is part of the SISCODE project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation under grant agreement programme nº788217.

Jury Statement

Remember the 19th century Arts & Crafts Movement? Remix el Barrio can be seen as translation of Arts & Crafts into our times, confronting well-known contemporary issues with manufacturing and consumption in our daily life. Remix El Barrio is a collective of designers who propose projects with food leftovers using artisan techniques and digital manufacturing. They collaborate with agents from the Poblenou neighborhood to promote a more local and circular ecosystem. In their manifesto they want to “promote artisan-manufacturing sites and designer/craftsman cooperatives in the development of short-loop products, creating direct synergies with neighborhood actors, facilitate the access and the rehabilitation of abandoned sites, support logistics, and partnerships between local actors.”

The jury was most impressed by the wide array of beautifully up-cycled products made from waste—ranging from dye colors made from avocado stones, bioplastics out of orange peel, soaps from used oil, or paper made of coffee peels. Their initiative, Organic Matters, explores the intersection between design, biology, chemistry, technology, material science, community, and self-sufficiency. It could be interpreted as a reformulation of the STARTS idea itself.

View full Jury Statement here.