JUNK BATTLE! brings the County’s architecture and design students together with professionals to focus on one of LA’s toughest challenges: what to do about mountains of waste.

“Imagine TED meets architecture-and-design studio meets hackathon meets innovation black belts,” says Creative Director John Bielenberg, “and you’ve just imagined what JUNK BATTLE! can be.”

Case study: UCLA

A UCLA case study highlights the challenge. The university purchases close to a billion dollars’ worth of goods every year, a large percentage of which winds up in area landfills. UCLA targets a zero-waste goal by 2020. But to reach it, they have to change the game.

So we’re bringing LA County’s architecture and design community together with experts on waste and recycling to take on Big Junk.

JUNK BATTLE! includes a blow-out, showcase event held at the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI) in the downtown Arts District, and a specialist symposium held at UCLA.

The combination of events focuses popular attention on the problem, and convenes leading specialists to produce next-step solutions.

The showcase event includes:

  • TED-style talks.
  • JUNK BATTLE! design competition with countywide architecture and design programs.

Ted-style talks bring the County’s leading innovators and visionaries together to raise the bar on what’s possible in terms of waste and recycling and frame new inspirations.

The JUNK BATTLE! competition brings together LA County’s architecture and design schools to upcycle institutional waste in the most useful and creative ways imaginable. Professionals volunteer as project consultants. Work begins ahead of time and culminates on the day of the event with celebrity judging. Projects are displayed at key locations around the County.

We end with a blow-out, zero-waste party. “Saving the world has to be fun,” says advertising genius Alex Bogusky, “or nobody’s going to do it.”

The specialist symposium unites the energy of the JUNK BATTLE! event with some of the leading experts on procurement, waste, and recycling to focus on creating a zero waste roadmap.

The symposium is a curated event, specialist-to-specialist, focused on high-level problem solving, and will be held at UCLA.

The JUNK BATTLE! showcase event and specialist symposium will be a success if we:

  • Engage the County’s architecture and design communities for the common good of creating a more ecological LA.
  • Produce a buzz-worthy event that spotlights waste and how southland creativity is leading way.
  • Bring together better ideas and stronger connections for a zero-waste roadmap that can be applied countywide.

JUNK BATTLE! is produced by Pando Populus, John Bielenberg, Common and NCompass in collaboration with the UCLA Office of Sustainability and ArtCenter, CalArts, LA Trade Tech/Architecture, and What Design Can Do.

Executive Producers: Bonny Bentzin, Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer, UCLA; John Bielenberg, founding head, Think Wrong Institute; Mark Eckhardt, CEO, COMMON; Eugene Shirley, founding president, Pando Populus.

Producer: NCompass.

Chief Consultants, Competition Event: Nathan Cooke, ArtCenter; Shannon Scrafano, CalArts.

Chief Consultant, Specialist Symposium: Bonny Bentzin, UCLA.

Advisors: Heidrun Mumper-Drumm, ArtCenter; Adam Eeuwens, What Design Can Do; Marcela Oliva, LA Trade Tech, Architecture.

JUNK BATTLE! Is Made Possible By

  • Mark Eckhardt
  • Farbstein Family Charitable Foundation

And in-kind contributions from the following:

  • NCompass