It is our great honour and pleasure to announce that Valerio Di Giannantonio a master´s student in Design here at the IUA is this year's winner in Cumulus Green 2020: For A Circular Economy, an international student competition for his graduation project from the IUA FiloSkin. 638 projects were submitted to the competition, from 163 universities in 44 countries.



Valerio Di Giannantonio



FiloSkin is a speculative product and the system proposes a thread made of H. Pluvialis, a microalga that is capable of producing oxygen, filtering CO2 from the air, and responding to changes in the environment by taking on different colors. By enabling textiles to interact with our bodies through a symbiotic relationship with the skin, FiloSkin might serve to mitigate environmental problems while adapting humans to pollution conditions in the future.

Valerio Di Giannantonio is an Italian designer, he is a student at the MA Design; explorations and translations program. When asked he states that he participated in the Cumulus Green 2020 competition “because Cumulus is an innovative association that looks to sustainable solutions for our future, giving us the opportunity to contribute through our projects. I thought FiloSkin matched Cumulus principles very much and I wanted to give it a chance to be shared in such a community that encourages ideas, creation, and sharing. My belief is that we should all work towards a circular economy reality. FiloSkin is the demonstration that we have tools and materials at our disposal: we should all look at the scientific and technological community so we can rethink materials and production systems to get as close as possible to a circular economy.“

Di Giannantonio additionally says he would be interested in further development on FiloSkin: „I think it would definitely be very interesting to develop further the study of this specific biomaterial. In fact, for example, other living materials can be cultivated, from bacteria to algae, differentiating their characteristics.
At the moment I am already studying and working on the interactions of biomaterials with their sources of nutrients, let’s see how things go!“


Always good to get recognized

Garðar Eyjólfsson programme director in MA Design on what this could mean for the future of the program and speculative design in general:

It´s always good to get recognized. This indicates that we are on the right track with our studies and that there is certainly room for experimentation, hypotheses, speculation, and critical thinking within the design field. I expect, hope for expansion in the field for these type of projects. In a reality where many human systems are heavily criticized in the face of global warming along with many uncertainties related to upcoming technology and social change, there is an urgent need to question the known and explore the unknown. There is much to be learned, discovered, and gained from other perspectives by depicting and shaping a different kind of reality than the one we know; in the future, present, and past. The fact that the MA Design studio culture is international and interdisciplinary,  it underlines the possibility that we as a group can explore different projects from various angles. This broadens our horizons and increases our understanding of subjects.


Sigrún Alba Sigurðardóttir, Dean of the Design and Architecture Department has this to say:

It's great for the Iceland University of the Arts to get such a recognition, and it only confirms that we are doing good things in the MA Design program. Our students were competing with students from all the best art universities in the world and this competition has raised a lot of awareness internationally. Valerio has encountered some obstacles in his artistic research but has maintained his focus and found creative solutions. Although all the projects that were mentioned by the competition are probably outstanding, it brings joy to see the IUA being a leading force amongst some of the most renowned universities in this field, such as Parsons School of Design and Oslo School of Architecture and Design.


Cumulus Green

Since its founding in 1990, Cumulus has been a pioneer in advocating for the vital role artists and designers play in shaping a better and more humane future.

Cumulus is the only global association serving universities and colleges of art, design, and media.

The top projects were recognized by an esteemed international jury as outstanding exemplars that respond to the theme of Cumulus Green 2020: how to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) blueprint with a focus on SDG 12: responsible consumption and production. With input and resources by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the competition called on students from approximately 300 of the Cumulus membership—some of the most distinguished art, design and media institutions around the world—to enlist their students in addressing solutions for SDG 12 which is closely linked to the concept of a circular economy — one that is restorative and regenerative by design.

Here you can find further information on Cumulus Green 2020 and the other winners.


The IUA congratulates Valerio Di Giannantonio for his outstanding accomplishment and we look forward to observing the work of this innovative designer in the future.