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September 19, 2023

Open Call for Global Award to Design a Circular Society– the crQlr Awards 2023

The crQlr Awards (“Circular Awards”), which has garnered attention worldwide, launches its third edition, which seeks to bring professionals from diverse fields together to pursue the realization of a circular society.

FabCafe Global Editorial Team

FabCafe, a global creative community hub, and Loftwork, a creative company in Asia, will be hosting the 2023 crQlr (“circular”) Awards from September 19th to November 10th. The crQlr Awards invites projects and ideas from across the world that seek to design a circular economy. 

“crQlr” is a consortium focused on designing for a circular economy.  The crQlr Awards is one of the four main initiatives of crQlr, which consists of awards, events, exhibitions, and projects. The awards first started in 2021 as Japan’s first award specifically focused on circular design. The award aims to nurture a community where the players can connect across industries and countries, sharing knowledge and technologies, to create new value.

Since establishing the crQlr Awards, winners have been able to connect with global leaders, other businesses, and designers to expand their efforts. Winners and Judges have discussed how to realize a circular society through hybrid events such as the crQlr Summit and crQlr Meetup series, which are held around the world, including Japan, Taiwan, Barcelona, and more. The crQlr Award’s previous winners have also experienced new business opportunities as a result of winning the crQlr Awards, triggering a first step for many winners toward sustainable growth.

This year’s third edition of the award will continue to adhere to our three guiding principles:  “Circular, not linear,” “Action, not prestige” and “Gain from global perspectives.” We invite submissions from around the world that work towards the realization of a circular economy. Submissions of both large and small-scale projects, activities, and ideas in their early planning stages are welcome to apply.

This year, the Special Prize, known as the FabCafe Global Prize, will be awarded under the theme of “New Relationship Design”. This prize aims to select and honor projects and ideas that embody circularity by creating new relationships among stakeholders while transcending traditional industrial structures and frameworks. All projects submitted to the crQlr Awards will automatically be considered for the FabCafe Global Prize.

The judging panel will consist of 8 experts from diverse fields, alongside 2 representatives from FabCafe Global, for a total of 10 judges. All selected judges aim to celebrate and support the winners who are exploring ways to realize a circular economy.

Individual comments and prize names will be provided by all of the judges to the crQlr Awards winners. In addition, selected winners will receive various offers, including invitations to events such as the crQlr Exhibition and the crQlr Summit in Tokyo, both scheduled for March 2024. 

Do you have an idea or project that provides a circular design* solution that creates more meaning in our lives, while improving the environment and our economic system?  We look forward to receiving your application! 

*Circular Design refers to the design of products and services with the aim of achieving a circular economy. This includes the design of products, services, materials, educational as well as supply chain systems that promote circularity. We believe art also creates an important impact on our society and economy and therefore welcome artistic expressions as well.

Application Site:
Official Site: 

Past winners of the crQlr Awards have provided comments regarding the impact the award had on their project and/or business.

Winning Project Name: GURUGURU Radish, “A home-delivery circular economy that transforms waste to resource.” (“Waste-Not Circular Design Prize”, crQlr Awards 2022)/Oisix Ra Daichi Inc.
Project URL:

Comment: “Since winning this award, we have been able to create new cross-industry collaborations, which have led to our customers and company fostering a deeper understanding and recognition of the circular economy. This contributed to the further growth of our brand. We have seen a notable positive impact over the past year since receiving the award, including the restructuring of overlooked services in our company and using new perspectives to accelerate product development. As these kinds of changes don’t happen overnight, we truly appreciate the value of this award, which creates connections among those who share similar values and spotlights innovative ideas.”

Winning Project Name: INOW(”Good Life Prize”, crQlr Awards 2021, an educational homestay program in Kamikatsu, Tokushima)
Project URL: 

Comment: “Winning this award gave us the opportunity to collaborate with many people who have a comprehensive understanding of circularity. Being a part of crQlr inspired us and has allowed us to reach people we couldn’t have reached before. As a result of winning the award, we were able to meet and have a discussion with David Benjamin, a professor at Columbia University, and his graduate students, who took part in INOW’s educational program. This interaction gave us a valuable opportunity to exchange ideas and receive feedback. By holding workshops and other activities, we were able to convey the purpose of INOW, and we are truly grateful for this experience.”

The crQlr Awards 2023 jury panel is composed of 10 expert judges from diverse fields, each with achievements in various fields such as innovation, design, architecture, community, sustainability, and technology. Guillaume Charny-Brunet, founder of Denmark’s innovation lab SPACE10, will also be serving as a judge for the second time. 

First line, from left to right:
Guillaume Charny-Brunet (Co-founder & Director of Strategy, SPACE10), Anni Korkman (Programme Director of Helsinki Design Week & Weekly, Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale, Luovi Productions Ltd), Darlene Damm (Faculty Chair and former Vice President of Community and Impact at Singularity University), Lucy Lu (Director General of Cultural Affairs Bureau, Chiayi City), Irie Hiroshi (Manager at the East Japan Railway Company in the Innovation Strategy Division, Digital Business Unit)
Second line, from left to right:
Aining Ouyang (Chief Operations Officer, REnato lab), Sachiko Hirosue (President and CEO, Osaka Namari-Suzu Seirensho Co., Ltd.), Yuri Naruse (Architect, Founder of NARUSE・INOKUMA ARCHITECTS Co., Ltd.), Kosuke Kinoshita (Marketing and Production, FabCafe Kyoto MTRL), David Tena Vicente (CEO, FabCafe Barcelona)

Awarding “New Relationship Design” 

The crQlr Awards 2023 special prize will highlight and recognize projects and ideas that put “New Relationship Design” into practice. We deeply value projects and ideas that go beyond traditional industrial structures and frameworks to build new relationships among stakeholders in order to achieve a circular society. We believe that by joining hands with various partners and collaborators, we will be able to discover a new future that surpasses what we can achieve on our own. 

At FabCafe, we have valued the concept of co-creation since we were established over a decade ago. We firmly believe that approaching circular design through co-creation can be an effective strategy.

In the systems of mass production, mass consumption, and globalization, the one-way model of “creator to seller to user” has become the norm. We want to challenge this preconception and discover what would happen if we take this model and rearrange it into a relationship that emphasizes creating something together.

What if we expanded the scope of co-creation to encompass not just society, but the planet? Imagine the possibilities of co-creation with people from different countries, backgrounds, and from the next generation.

Creating a system of circularity cannot be achieved by one person. Rather, it involves reopening networks that have been closed off and expanding the potential for co-creation with an array of diverse stakeholders. This should be the first step in practically implementing circularity.

Read the full statement here:

  • Comments and feedback from crQlr Awards judges
  • Opportunity to exhibit and present at the crQlr Exhibition Tokyo, planned to be held in March 2024 at FabCafe Tokyo. Travel expenses, including round-trip airfare from within Japan or abroad, and three nights accommodation in Tokyo, will be subsidized for one winner

1. Circular, not linear

Most design awards are linear. Entries are solicited and evaluated, winners are decided, and prizes are awarded at a final gathering. The crQlr Awards are different. More than a simple awards ceremony, they include networking events open to all entrants, where ideas are developed and catalyzed through exchange.

2. Action, not prestige

The crQlr Awards exist to put ideas into action. From large-scale projects to ideas in the planning stages. From ideas that have lost traction to ideas still being nurtured in secret. The point is not to reward achievement, but to support the realization of ideas through feedback, mentoring, and public support from our international panel of judges.

3. Gain from global perspectives

 The crQlr Exhibition will be held at three FabCafe branches (at FabCafe Tokyo and two other global branches) in March 2024. The crQlr Summit Tokyo will be held at FabCafe Tokyo offline and/or online in the same month. The aim of the crQlr Summit is to provide a forum and place of learning including open feedback, questions, and discussion.

Award Name crQlr Awards 2023
Submission Guidelines Any genre of project is welcome, as long as it relates back to circular design. Circular ideas, projects, products, prototypes, and works in progress that contribute to society, the environment, and/or the economy are also welcome.
Submission Period Tuesday, September 19, 2023 – Friday, November 10, 2023, 12 PM JST
Eligibility Anyone can apply regardless of nationality, age, or gender. Entry is open to the public and can include individuals, groups, municipalities, startups, and/or established companies. Working professionals as well as students are welcome to apply.
Cost of Entry Free
How to Enter Entries should be submitted using the AWRD (“Award”) online platform at operated by Loftwork Inc. 
Judging Criteria

    • For People: Is the work creative? Does it show an insightful understanding of circular economy or novel collaborative relationships?
    • For Planet: Does it have an overall positive and measurable impact on the environment? 
    • For Profit: Does the work provide solutions to the challenges faced by society and business for activating a circular economy?
    Perspectives for Project Ideas
    Material, Products and Services, Art, Education, Community Development, Systems

    The 10 judges will each select five projects based on their respective unique viewpoints. Selected projects will receive a prize alongside the judge’s comments.

    • Winners will receive individual prize names and comments from the crQlr judges. These prize names and comments will be posted on the Loftwork and FabCafe media channels. The comments will be considered as Creative Commons and winners are permitted to use them freely.
    • Winners will receive the “crQlr Awards Winner” certification logo to promote their award-winning project by publicizing their efforts in contributing towards a circular economy.
    • Media coverage on Loftwork and FabCafe websites and social media. Media coverage on outside media sponsor communication channels, such as IDEAS FOR GOOD and Circular Economy Hub.
    • Select winners will be interviewed and have their projects promoted on IDEAS FOR GOOD and Circular Economy Hub.
    • Select winners will have their projects exhibited at a FabCafe branch (either in FabCafe Tokyo or another branch) as part of the crQlr Exhibition scheduled for March 2024.  We will provide support for round-trip airfare from within Japan or overseas, as well as a 3-night stay in Tokyo (up to one person per winning project). 
    • Select winners will be invited to the crQlr Summit Tokyo scheduled for March 2024 to present projects, take part in open discussion sessions, and receive live feedback from judges

    Irrespective of genre or scale, this prize seeks projects and ideas that put circularity into practice by going beyond traditional industrial structures and systems, and instead, focus on fostering new relationships among stakeholders.

    *All entries automatically qualify for the Special Prize.

    See more information here:

    As part of the crQlr Awards Special Prize, we are pleased to offer the following:

    • “crQlr Awards Winner” certification logo to use in promotional materials
    • Comments and feedback from several judges
    • Select winners will have the opportunity to exhibit and present at the crQlr Exhibition scheduled for March 2024 at FabCafe Tokyo. We will provide support for round-trip airfare from within Japan or overseas, as well as a 3-night stay in Tokyo.
    • Participation in business, academia, and creator networks committed to promoting the circular economy.
    • Media coverage on Loftwork and FabCafe websites and social media. Media coverage on outside media sponsor communication channels, such as IDEAS FOR GOOD and Circular Economy Hub.


    • OPEN CALL period … Tuesday, Sep 19th, 2023 – Friday, November 10th , 2023, 12:00 JST
    • Evaluation Period … Wednesday, Nov 22, 2023 – Wednesday, December 6, 2023
    • Winners Announcement … January 2024 
    • crQlr Exhibition … March 2024

    Launched as Japan’s first award in the field of circular design, the crQlr Awards aim to broaden sustainability players’ perspectives through exposure to not only practical know-how in existing industries but also to inspiring projects from all over the world. The overarching goal of the crQlr Awards is to enable companies, artists, and various professionals to make full use of their creativity in a wide range of fields toward the implementation of circular economy systems.

    Last year’s awards attracted 131 projects from a record-breaking 30 countries, and applicants included companies, organizations, startups, and designers. Among them, 53 award-winning projects were awarded and received “crQlr Certification” kits to support and promote their circular economy initiatives.

    View past initiatives of the crQlr Awards: 

    View 2022’s awarded projects here:

    • FabCafe Global

    • Loftwork Inc.


    • Circular Economy Hub


    • FabCafe Global Editorial Team

      This articles is edited by FabCafe Global.

      Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this article with us.
      Contact us

      This articles is edited by FabCafe Global.

      Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this article with us.
      Contact us

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