Hyundai Motor Group and Royal College of Art announce winners of the inaugural Hyundai Awards for Excellence in Sustainability and Creative Practice 2023
  • The awards have been created to celebrate projects in any art and design discipline, to recognise the importance of employing different perspectives when tackling global issues
  • Winners selected in three categories: Inspiration, Innovation, and Aesthetics & Craft.


WASTE NOT by Ella Nartey, Future Farm by Qing Duan, Symbiosis by Eileen White

Hyundai Motor Group (the Group) and the Royal College of Art (RCA) today announced the winners of the inaugural Hyundai Awards for Excellence in Sustainability and Creative Practice 2023. 

The awards, organised by the Hyundai-Kia Innovation Laboratory at the RCA’s Intelligent Mobility Design Centre (IMDC), celebrate projects that question current norms within society, and suggest solutions or provoke emotions in the face of climate change and the challenges around sustainability.

RCA students graduating in 2023 were invited to contribute creative responses in three categories, Inspiration, Innovation, and Aesthetics & Craft. The winners have been selected by a panel of experts including Peter Schreyer, Executive Design Advisor, Hyundai Motor Group & representatives from the Hyundai brands as well as Professor Dale Harrow, Chair of Intelligent Mobility at the RCA.

“The depth of practice - across many disciplines - was highly impressive, we saw well thought through ideas that connected clearly to real-life issues.” said Peter Schreyer, Executive Design Advisor at Hyundai Motor Group.

The winners were announced today at an awards ceremony hosted in the IMDC at the RCA’s new Battersea campus, designed by world-renowned architecture practice Herzog & de Meuron.

Award winners:

  • The Inspiration award for provocative responses to climate change and sustainability awarded to Ella Nartey (Interior Design MA, 2023) for WASTE NOT.
    • WASTE NOT aims to re-evaluate our view on waste and our reliance on traditional raw materials within the design industry. By designing a zero-waste restaurant, sustainable brand and developing a number of biomaterials using food waste and by-products, Ella aims to promote sustainable material innovation and circular design within the built environment, whilst celebrating waste as a resource. Inspired by the former Siemens Brothers’ Factory in Woolwich, the restaurant design salvages and repurposes the existing architecture, industrial language and colour palette with waste reuse at the forefront of the menu, materiality and restaurant programme.
  • The Innovation award for projects that propose art or design solutions to make the world more sustainable has been awarded to Qing Duan (Interior Design MA, 2023) for Future Farm.
    • In Qing’s vision of the future farm, hydroponic systems, LED lighting, rainwater storage, energy diversion, and solar panels work together to create a recycling system of permaculture. Through this integrated system, the structure is divided into three main sections to grow crops hydroponically: the bottom of the innovative tree-like structure is used to grow leafy greens; PVC tubes connecting the roof to the ruins are used to grow herbs; and crops are hung from the roof to grow fruits.
  • The Aesthetics & Craft award for stylistic practice that explores the theme of sustainability has been awarded to Eileen White (Print MA, 2023) for Symbiosis.
    • Eileen White asks what the role of the artist in the age of the Anthropocene is? Working in the field of photography, Eileen has developed reciprocal ways of working that are slow and mindful. Transforming homemade, grown, recycled or waste materials into alternative, non-toxic, darkroom chemicals or printing substrates enables Eileen to use a low tech, sustainable, cost-effective and safe approach to art making; something which has become a form of environmental activism. 

“Our partnership with Hyundai has allowed us to invite a broad range of high quality applications, which reflect the expansive work of the RCA into current social challenges. I was surprised and delighted by the presentation of work.” said Professor Dale Harrow, Chair and Director of the Intelligent Mobility Design Centre and Head of the Intelligent Mobility Design programme.

The Hyundai-Kia Innovation Laboratory, the first industry-funded research lab launched at the IMDC, was established in 2016 to foster the creative exploration of the future of mobility. In the laboratory, the team collaborates on research projects that conceive and explore new areas in mobility systems, vehicle design, digital technology integration and transport experiences.

The annual Hyundai Awards recognise the interdisciplinary dialogue between art and design, and the importance of employing different perspectives in tackling global issues. They provide opportunities for the entire RCA student community to refine their understanding of mobility challenges and creativity while developing an understanding of relevant industry propositions.