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Design As Catalyst

Lea Randebrock

Lea is a Finnish-German designer who aims to create products which tell a story. She grew up in Germany and then proceeded to study furniture design in Finland at the Lahti Institute of design. After her graduation, she has worked in the field of furniture and product design and studied Design Business Management at the Aalto University in Helsinki from where she continued to do her master degree in Design Products at the Royal College of Art. 

She is inspired by traditional manufacturing techniques and materials from all over the world. With her designs, she is aiming to challenge the perception of material and shape with a systemic perspective. With her projects, she is rethinking how materials are perceived, made and used.  

Her work has been exhibited multiple years at Habitare Helsinki, at Milan Design Week at Ventura Lambrate and in the DAAD exhibition at the Copeland Gallery London in 2019. 




Degree Details

School of Design

Design As Catalyst

In the situation followed by the challenging spring of 2020 I believe it is more important than ever to include
empathy in our society. Any aspects of everyday life are challenged and need to be redesigned and restructured. While this is a challenging time, this is a chance to question the status quo. As a designer, I hope to contribute in a positive way to a Post-Corona society.  

The Root Stool — is designed for root vegetables, which require a dry and dark storage location.

The Fruit Shelf — offers a suitable location for the presentation and storage of fruit.

The Tempered Box — gives a storage solution for smaller vegetable, which prefer a humid and cool environment, such as lettuce and tomatoes.

The Watering Jug — is designed to be a part of the collection. It can be suspended next to the Fruit shelf for easy access.

Orientation Maps

Orientation Maps — help to give people and overview on how to store their fruit and vegetables and when they are in season.


Food waste is one of the great challenges, that nations are facing, which is contributing to climate change. About one-fourth of the food waste, which is generated in industrialized countries goes back to the actions of consumers and the busy lifestyles of western countries in combination with a lack of knowledge.

Food waste is quite a new phenomenon. In the past solutions like pantries and root-cellars made it possible to store produce throughout the whole winter. These habits are not part of current lifestyles anymore, where food is cheap, always available and taken for guaranteed. Most people live in big cities, are therefore detached from nature and thus many people have little to no relationship to the food they consume.

The approach of the Clay Pantry is to provide a suitable environment for the fruit and vegetable, which have the highest waste count. It has been inspired by traditional storing methods and which are applied to modern living scenarios. Clay has been used since ancient times as a storage solution for food and drinks. The porosity of earthenware gives the material cooling properties when soaked with water. It has been used in many countries for preserving fresh produce. Utilising this property, the Clay Pantry is a new principle of storage in small urban apartments. It is a collection of furniture, which is taken care of similarly to the watering routine of a plant. This ritual puts the attention to the produce effortlessly, providing a suitable environment to store fruit and vegetables. The Clay Pantry is a collection of objects, which can be flexibly placed around the apartment, where space is available.


Terracotta, Wood
clayCoolingCraftsmanshipFood Educationfood wasteFurnitureFuture of Foodorganic foodReduce WasteSustainabilityTerracottaUrban Living

Research Results — A lack of overview/visibility is often the reason for not eating food in time.


Visibility — By watering the objects like plats, the focus goes effortlessly to the objects and the content.

Research Results — A lack of suitable space makes it hard to store fruit and vegetables in the right environment in small city apartments.


Flexibility — Modularity makes the objects adaptable to small apartments.

Research Results — Many people have no understanding of how to store their fruit and vegetables.


Education — A map shows the user what fruit and vegetable can be stored together and what should be rather stored apart. For example, Ethylene sensitive vegetable and fruit will ripen more quickly, when placed together with ethylene producers.

Preparation and 3D-Printing

Adjusting and Testing

Process shapes — The shape was explored by creating a wide range of objects to test the feasibility and explore the final shapes.

Making of - The Clay Pantry - Lea Randebrock
Responding to the challenges of producing a final project during the Lockdown in London, the objects are 3-d printed in pieces and assembled from pieces. The prototypes were made with a hacked 3d printer based on open source instructions. Through the exploration of shape and material, the final design was driven by the nature of its design process.

Fusion Library

The Process

The first Samples

Fusion investigates the possibility of using recycled bottle glass as a material for local manufacture. Glass is widely recycled and infinitely recyclable, but usually the products have a short lifespan. Fusion looks for a new opportunity in this system to increase the value of the recycled material and find opportunities in the use of contaminated glass. Using ancient glass-forming techniques, it creates a distinct aesthetic and functional value, while considering the Circular Economy principles.

The project consisted of two phases. The first phase was research-based in collaboration with a local glass recycling company on what kind of materials could be created from recycled bottles-glass, which provide aesthetic and functional values. It resulted in a material library of a wide range of samples with different properties. The second stage of the project was to propose an application for some of the materials.

The product proposal is based on one material from the sample library. It is a tile, for growing microgreens at home. Microgreens are the aromatic smaller version of a fully-grown plant vegetable, such as radish, kale, broccoli and basil. Nutrient levels in microgreens can be up to nine times higher than those found in mature greens and they can be easily grown at home. Domestic cultivation of food reduces the carbon footprint of healthy greens, by avoiding transport and waste during the production processes. Usually, microgreens are grown on one time use substrate and earth. The tiles provide a reusable clean base, where microgreens can be grown without the use of substrate. The design enables the user to place them vertically, where they occupy unnecessary space and they can catch a maximum of sunlight. Depending on the species, microgreens can be harvested in a week’s cycle. After the harvest, the roots can be brushed off and the growth-cycle can be started again.



DAAD, German Academic Exchange Service

20 July 2020
13:00 (GMT + 0)

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