This quarter, the class focuses on issues of design and environment and takes on LA’s toughest challenges: what to do about mountains of waste. Students will conduct thorough research around waste and pollution, will work in collaboration with the UCLA Office of Sustainability to understand UCLA’s challenges and solutions towards waste management, and will create projects that are both useful and amazing from the pile of institutional junk. The projects will focus on creating compelling and meaningful messages, delivering them with words in public spaces and documenting them in a publication.


JUNK BATTLE! brings design and architecture students together from across LA County and turns them loose on one of our toughest challenges: what to do about mountains of institutional waste. JUNK BATTLE! features upcycled design innovations developed by teams from UCLA, ArtCenter College of Design, Otis College of Art and Design, California Institute of the Arts, and LA Trade Technical College competing to see who can create the most amazing and useful stuff from a big pile of their own institution’s trash.


Schools across UCLA and  the Los Angeles County area contribute their unique waste streams to landfills and incinerators. These disposed materials contain valuable and potentially useful items. Junk Battle! provides an opportunity for creative and visionary design and architecture students to re-imagine, re-purpose, and re-create trash. Student teams will collaborate with leading professionals on this shared social, environmental and economic challenge. A selection of the final concepts and prototypes will be presented on April 22, 2019, and winners selected.


The concept: The purpose of the Junk Battle! is to make something useful and amazing from a pile of trash that originates from one’s own institution. The W2019 class engages with words and images to create compelling messages in public space to raise awareness and to encourage behavioural change towards a more sustainable lifestyle. The institutional junk will be used to create typographic messages to be delivered as sculptures in public space around UCLA campus. Results will vary, from creating an alphabet, to using multiples as pixels, all from junk found on campus. Each student will create and prototype a concept that applies design and lifecycle thinking to upcycle waste material to benefit the zero-waste by 2020 goal. Working with the Sustainability Office at UCLA, spaces to display the sculptures within the campus will be identified.

The need:

The University purchases close to a billion dollars’ worth of goods every year, a percentage of which winds up in area landfills. UCLA targets a zero-waste goal by 2020. To reach it, we’ll have to change the game. The essential challenge is the same for institutions large and small across the Country. Recycling alone is not enough. We all need to engage in all the stages for a more sustainable lifestyle: REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, ROT, and REPURPOSE, where REFUSE is the most important. For the class, we focus on the ‘REPURPOSE’ stage and through this method to communicate the complete cycle.

Art and design can be a force for social change. An important current discourse is around  “sustainist design,” in which ‘sharing, localism, connectedness and proportionality are creating a new agenda for social design,’ and in which design is judged not only for its form and function, but also for its social and environmental impact. As storytellers, designers and artists have an opportunity to contribute to and change the conversation around environmental justice. This class is an opportunity to create a space for sharing expertise and knowledge, and for discussions about institutional waste, our own waste and sustainability.

This is a time when circumstances are calling on everyone to engage, and I believe that we, as creative thinkers and communicators, must respond in the face of prejudice, find our voice, and make an especially powerful contribution to a better society.  

The requirements:

Final design and prototype must be transportable to the competition site. Supporting data should include the type and quantity of waste collected, and percentage incorporated into the final design. The ‘new’ life cycle of the waste material should be diagrammed. Documentation of the process is required, such as images and/or video.



[1]: Process Book

[2]: Junk Sculpture on site

[3]: High quality photographs of the Junk Sculpture on site

[4]: Printed Publication: ‘Manifesto’


a): Research summary: Situation Analysis

b): Findings: Most significant facts/information/messages

c): The Idea: The Message / The Sculpture concept

e): The Junk

f): Typographic Sculpture photographs


Week 1-3:

Research and findings / Junk mining

Week 4–5:

  Message copy writing / Junk mining / Sculpture concept and design

Week 6:

Sculpture design / Manifesto concept & content development

Week 7:

Sculpture design / Manifesto content development & design

Week 8:

Sculpture production / Manifesto content development & design 25%

Week 9:

Sculpture production / Manifesto content development & design 50%

Week 10:

Final presentation & Installation / Photography / Manifesto design 50% / Printing tests

Week 11:

 Manifesto final design 100% & print production


Course Description: 154. Word + Image (5) Studio, six hours; outside study, nine hours. Preparation: completion of preparation for major courses. Enforced requisite: course 101 or 104. Focus on relationship of type to content, image, and materials. Acquisition of knowledge of and sensitivity to typography in context of complex communication problems in print and digital media. Research, concept and content development, and articulation of methodology for visualization. P/NP or letter grading.

Class structure: Classroom time will be used primarily to review work either as class discussion or individual meetings. Every week you will have a new phase of the project due the following class meeting or week. Work is to be presented according to instructions (to come) by 9:00 am.

Expectations: You must demonstrate through the readings, projects (both process and end project) as well as through classroom discussion that you grasp the material being taught.

Attendance: You must attend each class. This class will cover a lot of material in a short period of time. There is little, if any, way to make up for a lost class. You are responsible for work due on the day you are absent and for projects given on the day you missed. An emergency or illness is the only acceptable excuse. You must let the T.A. and me know, prior to the class meeting, that either you will a) miss the class and the reason; or b) why you did not attend. Class begins promptly at 9:00 am. There is a 5-minute grace period. If you arrive to class between 9:05 and 9:15 am, you will be marked tardy. Three unexcused tardies are equal to one unexcused absence. If you are later than 15 minutes you’ll be marked absent. Each unexcused absence will result in 1/3 grade point down on your final grade (A+ to A). Four unexcused absences will result in a failed grade in the class (F).

Grades: Each class you will be evaluated as follows:

● 80%: Success of projects

● 20%: a) Presentation of projects; b) Quality of effort; c) Class participation and engagement; d) Understanding of the reading material: 10%

● Attendance will also affect your grade as stated above.

DMA Lectures: Your attendance is required in at least 3 lectures offered by the DMA during the Winter quarter.

The following Lecture is required: Lars Müller on January 22, at 5:30, EDA http://dma.ucla.edu/events/calendar/?ID=1098

Each missed lecture counts as an ‘absence’ and affects your grade as stated above. Brenda Williams or your class T.A. will record your attendance, in addition, to record your attendance, take a selfie at the event and send it to your T.A.

Other: Turn off cell phones during class. No food in class. No text messaging, ichatting, skyping , or emailing during class.

W2019 Project Description:

Taking on Big Junk.

This quarter, our class focuses on LA’s toughest challenges: what to do about mountains of waste.

Some preliminary remarks

On average, Americans throw away their own body weight in trash every month

Circular Economy

“We live in a defining moment in history – a moment where the international community has come together to agree on an ambitious framework to resolve some of the world’s most daunting challenges. Anchored in a set of universally applicable Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all 193 members of the United Nations in September 2015, underlined a common determination to take bold and transformative steps towards a better future for all. Now is the time for implementation. We must now begin to practice what we have preached – changing our production and consumption patterns in order to create virtuous cycles rather than depletive ones and harnessing the global interconnectedness, communications technology and breakthroughs in materials science.”

–Foreword to: The New Plastics Economy, Rethinking the Future of Plastics

Future industry

Waste360: “What advice would you give to someone looking to have a career in the waste and recycling industry?”

Heather Repenning, LA Commissioner on Board of Public Works: “Go for it. Waste disposal is a very basic part of existence, and you can have a huge impact on the environment and the quality of life by working to improve the concept of waste disposal. In the waste and recycling industry, there is a lot of room for innovation and growth. There are also many opportunities to create satisfying careers in this industry.”

Conversion technology

Each day, 135,000 tons of trash is sent to California landfills. These materials represent a resource that could be better used to benefit the businesses and residents of California.

21st century conversion technologies are changing the way we think of trash or waste. The County of Los Angeles sees trash as a potential resource, and conversion technologies are an innovative way to convert that resource into renewable energy, biofuels, and other useful products.

Restorative Enterprise

Can we not only eliminate our negative impact on the environment, but also have positive impacts? Could we knit together fractured communities, economies and ecosystems as we do businesses?

[b] https://biomimicry.org/

Research Links:


[a] http://robgreenfield.tv/trashme/

[b] https://www.saveonenergy.com/land-of-waste/

[c] https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/global-waste/?utm_term=.e193304c25ef

– https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/the-world-is-drowning-in-trash-but-can-it-be-a-resource

[d] https://www.biocellection.com/



[a] https://www.ted.com/talks/van_jones_the_economic_injustice_of_plastic

[b] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/06/the-hands-of-thomas-and-making-good-in-a-disposable-world

-> explore the phenomenon of contemporary repair cafes

[c] http://www.formafantasma.com/filter/home/Ore-Streams-1

– http://radio.abc.net.au/programitem/pgOG2Yogn7?play=true

[d] http://www.recyclepoints.com/



a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7rewjFNiys

The Art of Letting Go | The Minimalists


[b] http://sublimeimperfections.org/

[c] http://bionic.is/

[d] https://www.5gyres.org/


[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w96osGZaS74

How To End The Food Waste Fiasco | Rob Greenfield | TEDxTeen

[b] https://www.recyclebank.com/

[c] From Junk to Art: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JnEmWPWra4

[d] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ethical-living

Read at least 5 articles: tell us about 3.


[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwOHpWTRsbE

Natural Resources Defense Council on food waste

[b] http://www.cewep.eu/

[c] Bordallo II



[d] http://ashadevos.com/



[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF72px2R3Hg

Why I live a zero waste life | Lauren Singer | TEDxTeen



[b] https://www.ecotricity.co.uk/


[c] https://www.demilked.com/biodegradable-algae-plastic-replacement-ari-jonsson/

[d] https://www.hongkiat.com/blog/recycled-art-masterpiece-made-from-junks/


[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSUmo-40pqA

Two adults, two kids, zero waste | Bea Johnson |

[b] https://www.ted.com/talks/janine_benyus_shares_nature_s_designs


[c] https://www.whatdesigncando.com/about-our-challenges/


[d] https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/141204-gyre-video-complete

Gyre: Creating Art From a Plastic Ocean


[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWnsmzSSgdI

Zero Waste is not recycling more, but less | Bea Johnson |


[b] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du5d5PUrH0I


[c] https://davehakkens.nl/






[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw75xPQEbhk

Going Green: Tips for a Zero-Waste Lifestyle | Haley Higdon |

[b] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsZQEdNblfo

[c] https://weburbanist.com/2008/06/04/recycled-art-from-trash/





[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuvz-cYS2RQ

Zero Waste – Why the little things matter | Milena Glimbovski | Berlin


[b] http://www.repairsociety.net/


[c] http://www.complex.com/style/2013/05/the-25-best-artworks-made-from-trash/doors

[d] https://www.dezeen.com/2016/06/29/video-interview-piet-hein-eek-scrapwood-furniture-totally-new-movie/


[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hb9uEbUaREE

The non-disposable life | Lindsay Miles


[b] http://web.mit.edu/12.000/www/m2016/finalwebsite/solutions/landfill.html









[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G22DOQ0-Vn0

What if we refuse trash? | Andrea Sanders


[b] http://thenextgeneration.org/ especially look into Tom Steyer

[c] https://www.trashionfashion.org/



[d] https://waterkeeper.org/?s=trash



[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1E_irYHyrGU

Rethinking the future of plastics | Michiel De Smet

[b] Dame Ellen MacArthur Foundation – https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/


[c] http://pormpuraawartculture.com/ghostnet.html



[d] https://www.ted.com/talks/paul_stamets_on_6_ways_mushrooms_can_save_the_world


[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTgTWLYCeOU

Find out more about the speaker

[b] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14r7f9khK70


[c] http://chrisjordan.com

[d] https://www.dezeen.com/2013/02/16/open-source-sea-chair-by-studio-swine/


[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez4pMe8M4hM

Recycling Sucks! The History of Creative Reuse: Garth Johnson

[b] https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2008/aug/05/japan.recycling


[c] https://www.studioswine.com/work/

[d] http://zerowasteusa.org/


Humanity will become extinct


Neri Oxman:


Leap Manifesto:





[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zj8HJntlP4

The masterpiece of a simple life | Maura Malloy


[b] https://sjackson.infosci.cornell.edu/RethinkingRepairPROOFS(reduced)Aug2013.pdf

[c] http://www.parley.tv/

[d] http://robgreenfield.tv/foodfreedomwhy/


[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyKmpyYy14k

The less you own, the more you have | Angela Horn | TEDxCapeTown


[b] http://www.ex-tax.com/

[c] http://oceansole.co.ke/


[d] https://www.ted.com/talks/capt_charles_moore_on_the_seas_of_plastic


[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxovD2LQVUQ

What do we truly need in our lives? Mathias Lefebvre at TEDxQueenstown





[c] https://www.ted.com/talks/chris_jordan_pictures_some_shocking_stats

[d] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp6y6wzJWi4


[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0dTdJTHTIk

Adventures with Minimalism and Happiness: Marty Stano @ TEDxUMDearborn



[c] https://bureo.co/

[d] https://inhabitat.com/tag/trash-art/?variation=a


[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXlNvlzd9M8

Get rid of the unnecessary to get down to basics | Colin Wright | TEDxINSA


[b] www.plasticbank.org



[c] https://weburbanist.com/2008/06/15/7-more-awesome-trash-artists/





[a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jczZodRWKyE

Recycling Doesn’t Matter – So What Does? | Terra Heilman | TEDxMtHoodSalon

[b] https://www.facebook.com/UTWnow/

[c] https://weburbanist.com/creative-recycled-art-architecture-and-design/

[d] https://www.plasticbank.com/


[a] https://www.ted.com/talks/sylvia_earle_s_ted_prize_wish_to_protect_our_oceans

[b] http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_New_Plastics_Economy.pdf





[c] http://www.michelle-reader.co.uk/gallery/index.html

[d] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0trJDH12yI

WEEK 2: MONDAY _ 01/14

RM: Identity Creative Process: Who are you? What do you say? To whom do you say it? How do you say it?

Student presentations: Research: Group A. Class discussion.

Homework Due Week 3: Wednesday, 01/23 Individual and Team Research Findings Presentation—Teams 1 through 3.

A research finding is a series of facts, a quote, piece of information, and/or image that stands out for its significance and power.

RESEARCH FINDINGS: What do you say?

Today, Monday 14, you will be assigned to join a team with which you will share your individual findings and arrive at the most compelling group findings. Part 1 of the homework is for you to come up with your own research findings (15 findings). Upload these as a pdf (no printing required).  Part 2 is to meet with your team in person, share your individual findings formally as a pdf and together arrive at the most compelling group findings (30 findings, in order of significance) to present to the class.

Presentation: Create a well-designed template and print (black & white) each one of the 30 findings with large type in an 8.5 x 11 sheet, horizontal, and tack to the boards in class, 6 rows of 5.

For your homework to be considered ‘turned in’ and receive a grade, you need to upload the ‘Best’ quality pdf to the class drop folder. Upload both the pdf of your individual and team research findings.


Student presentations: Research: Group B. Class discussion.

Homework Due Week 3: Wednesday, 01/23: Individual and Team Research Findings Presentation—Teams 4 through 6.

A research finding is a series of facts, a quote, piece of information, and/or image that stands out for its significance and power.




Student presentations: Findings Groups 1-5

Homework Due Week 4, Wednesday 01/30

1 ) meet as a team 2) review all class research findings 3) select an area of focus from the stages for sustainability: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle and Rot, as well as from the general themes we defined: Innovation, Social Concern, Pollution. 4 ) Expand your specific research and brainstorm to refine your focus 5 ) select the content for your manifesto 6 ) the idea: think of what do you want to say from all the newly focused research and what is at the core that is worth saying.

Bring it all as a pdf presentation, well designed.

WEEK 4: MONDAY _ 01/28 |

Tour and Presentation with Kikei


Student Presentations: Group Manifestos

Homework Due Week 5, Monday, 02/04: What do you say?  Group A

Homework Due Week 5, Wednesday, 02/06: What do you say? Group B

1: Message copywriting / 2: Junk mining / 3: Typographic Research / 4: Sculpture ideas

Students go back to working individually (not in teams).

Create mood boards of the following. As many pages as needed to be presented digitally as a pdf.

1: Message copywriting.

  1. Choose one stage from the ‘sustainable lifestyle’ to focus on: REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, ROT, or  REPURPOSE.
  2. Working from the ‘overall class research and findings’ select one stage to focus on and gather all the research and findings pertaining to that stage. The stage may be the one you originally researched, or a different one. For example, a student can select REFUSE in relation to PLASTICS, where the messages focus on REFUSING PLASTICS. Another student can choose RECYCLE in relation to PLASTICS, where the messages focus on RECYCLING PLASTICS, and so on. Expand on the research—quotes, facts, charts, diagrams, etc… and write concise messages.

2: Junk mining

  1. UCLA junk? Become aware of what constitutes UCLA waste. Each discipline has a very specific waste: School of Medicine has very different waste than Astrophysics, or Art. Explore! Photograph and make visual mood boards of your findings.   

3: Typographic Research:

  1. Make mood boards of artists and designers using typography for social messages in public space.
  2. Make mood boards of modular typography (uses repetition of units) such as pixel fonts, etc…

4: Sculpture ideas:

  1. Begin to conceive of your sculpture. Present sketches of your ideas in any medium—drawings, photographs, collages.

For your homework to be considered ‘turned in’ and receive a grade, you need to upload the ‘Best’ quality pdf to the class drop folder. Upload all four pdfs.