Metropolis Forums

September 8TH, 12:00PM–1:00PM EDT

Designing for a Circular Economy

Presented in Partnership with ECONYL® by Aquafil

Everything in nature is created, transformed, and decomposed in closed loops, so the most sustainable materials, objects, and buildings are those that follow a circular model, with as little waste and emissions as possible. But most architecture and design practices today still work in a linear fashion—with buildings starting with materials pulled from theearth and ending up in landfills. Join design visionaries who are breaking that pattern, and find out how manufacturers, designers, and architects can create for a circular economy.

Sponsored By

Econyl by Aquafil

Designing for a Circular Economy



773.avinash Rajagopal Headshot Credit Nicholas Calcott

Avi Rajagopal

Editor in Chief

Avinash Rajagopal is the editor-in-chief of Metropolis magazine. He is an expert on product and interior design in the digital age, as a historian of contemporary design as well as a frequent speaker at key industry events. He is the author of Hacking Design (Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, 2013). and has contributed to numerous volumes on architecture and design, including Adhocracy (Istanbul Design Biennial, 2012), Making Africa (Vitra Design Museum, 2015) and Atlas of Furniture Design (Vitra Design Museum, forthcoming). He has lectured on design history and writing at the School of Visual Arts, New York; the University of Texas at Austin; and the National Institute of Design, India.


Amanda Kaminsky

Amanda Kaminsky

Founder + Principal

Amanda Kaminsky is Founder and Principal of Building Product Ecosystems [BPE] LLC, collaborating with building owners and cities to optimize material resource cycles for whole system health.

BPE leads multi-disciplinary collaborations that evolve feedstocks, recycling, infrastructure, and logistics for optimal systemic health and performance of building material resources. BPE pilots improvements to product, process, standards, and infrastructure on behalf of building owners, their design and construction teams, supply chains, recycling networks, and impacted communities, engaging regional policy makers and academic research as needed. Collective pilot learnings are shared amongst collaborators for expedited industry progress. Informed by piloting and lab testing, solutions are quality-controlled and streamlined for scaled implementation via evolution of existing codes/standards, and creation of new ones.

BPE was originally founded by Amanda and The Durst Organization as a public private partnership with The New School, City University of New York, Healthy Building Network, and Vidaris. Before and during early stages of BPE, Amanda also led sustainable construction and procurement efforts at The Durst Organization, from 2005-2015. In collaboration with New York City Department of Sanitation, she managed execution of New York’s first high rise residential organics collection/compost program, and further deployed those learnings in roll-out of the first portfolio-wide commercial organics collection program in NYC. Amanda Chairs the Health Product Declaration Collaborative Board, and is a Director on the Recycling Certification Institute Board. BPE is also a Reuse Partner of Build Reuse. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from University of Virginia.

Garry Cooper

Garry Cooper


Dr. Garry Cooper is the CEO/Co-founder of Rheaply. Dr. Cooper is also an Advisory Board member of Techstars Chicago, Scholar at Google for Entrepreneurs, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Physiology. Before Rheaply, Dr. Cooper was a Management Consultant at Ernst & Young, LLP in the Life Science Advisory practice where he worked in performance improvement and supply chain for clients. Before joining consulting, Dr. Cooper was a post-doctoral fellow at Northwestern University in the department of physiology at Feinberg School of Medicine, where he worked with Profs. Richard Silverman, Eric Weiss, and D. James Surmeier in furthering efforts to develop and identify a therapeutic measure to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

Giulio Bonazzi

Giulio Bonazzi

CEO and Chairman

Giulio Bonazzi has dedicated his career to evolving Aquafil S.p.A. into a leading player in the global carpet and textile materials industry.

An innovator and disruptor, Bonazzi is transforming his family’s manufacturing business into a sustainable global enterprise. To achieve this vision, Bonazzi challenged the organization to develop a recycled nylon material by turning trash from landfill and oceans into high-quality, beautiful fibers. After several years of investment in R&D and a relentless pursuit of a new way to regenerate nylon, ECONYL® was born in 2011, and today it is used by more than 1000 brands in fashion and design.

As a registered architect, Karen was admitted to the prestigious College of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). In 2010 she was appointed by President Barack Obama to the United States Access Board, a policy position that she still holds today. Most recently she was awarded the 2019 Whitney M. Young Jr. award by the American Institute of Architects in recognition of her leadership in civil rights for people with disabilities, social sustainability, public policy and universal design. Karen is also an active volunteer and non-profit board member.

Lona Rerick

Lona Rerick

Associate Professor

Lona Rerick is a sustainable designer and specifier who focuses on materials selection and transparency. At ZGF, Lona guides clients, design teams and contractors through the intricacies of system materials selection, product research for locations and writing specifications to assure that project goals are met during construction. Lona leads the ZGF Project Performance Team’s efforts to select and specify low-impact, healthy materials. She also educates clients, staff, and manufacturers on the important transformation to building materials selection using transparency tools like Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), Health Product Declarations (HPDs), Declare Labels, and Living Product Challenge certifications.

Currently, Lona serves on the Health Product Declaration Collaborative’s Board; as a current member of AIA National’s Materials Knowledge Working Group which created the Materials Pledge; as a member of the LEED MR TAG; on the mindful MATERIALS Steering Group; and as a founding co-Chair of the Portland Materials Transparency Collaborative.

Richard Shirtcliffe

Richard Shirtcliffe


Richard, a New Zealander currently resident in Boulder Colorado, is the co-founder and Co-CEO of New Zealand/US DTC furniture brand: noho, which is committed to transforming the well-being of both people and planet by enriching lives through beautiful, ergonomic home furniture manufactured from waste plastic and sustainable materials.noho’s first product is the extraordinary nohomove chair, made from up-cycled discarded fishing nets and end-of-life carpet, and designed to bring dynamic comfort into the family home.

Richard’s career has been anything but linear. He escaped law studies in the early 90’s to market New Zealand’s winning Round-the-world yachting campaign; manage the NZ Dragon Boat festival; create social impact brands like Smokefree; and take a year off to pretend to be an actor in a couple of films and TV series; before not so serendipitously launching NZ/UK tech company Netenz the day tech bubble really burst. He sold Netenz in 2003 to UK company Imano before kite-surfing his way home to NZ.

Since then he has been CMO and CEO of global lifestyle brands like phil&teds, Mountain Buggy, Tuatara Brewing, and Coffee Supreme International. But it was an epiphany while surfing in Bali in 2018 that led to him committing to finding commercial ways to turn the tide on waste plastic.