She invented the coffee-capsules that decompose. We are interviewing the winner of the Model Young Package 2018 Veronika Janeckova

Anyone who drinks coffee and thinks about ecology can be thrilled. In 2018 Model Young Package competition, dedicated to coffee packaging and everything to prepare and consume coffee, the revolutionary design of compostable capsules won in the main category. Designer Veronika Janečková, was firstly awarded with the First Aid Jewel design in 2013, and later won the award in 2016 for the playful and innovative “Drink Water, Play with the Bottle” design, bringing the material and the process of its creation up front.


1. místo, Universities & Designers, Veronika Janečková, Save the Ocean, Czech Republic

How do you feel after the victory, did something change in your professional life?



VERONIKA: Winning the competition convinced me that what I do is meaningful. I did not expect such a high rating in the huge competition of works from around the world. I appreciate the success. In the professional life, there are no changes until now.



What have you been up to since your last Model Young Package in 2016? Do you design professionally?



VERONIKA: I did a job in a graphic studio that was not very interesting for me. I have never done design professionally, but I studied it. From October 2016 I work as a full-time mom. For design I have a little less time now, the family comes first. Even so, I can find the time to create, and in the evenings, for example, compostable coffee capsules are created. 🙂 It is still my dream to dedicate myself to the packaging design even in my professional life, and I hope that even thanks to the competition the dream will come true. I think there is still a lot to be discovered in this area.


3. místo, Studenti vysokých škol a designéři do 30 let, Veronika Janečková, Drink Water – Play with a Bottle, Česká republika, foto: Tomáš Polák

“I tried to use the materials we would normally throw into waste, but it has the potential to become a new raw material.”


In older interviews, you say that you are interested in recyclable materials that can be used in packaging design, so is it mainly paper or other specific materials that you explore for its use?


VERONIKA: Paper belongs among my favorite media in any form – from paper to cardboard. It is not just about this material. I am mainly interested in nature, fruits, plants, plant fibers – how to make material that has similar or better qualities as well as paper. I want to come up with a solution that does not burden the environment, it will be easily accessible and innovative. It’s a long run, but I’d like to do such a research in the future.


The jury’s assessment states that the capsules are made from “kitchen waste converted into a new material, similar to a bioplastic.” It can be traced to the fact that bioplastic is not an ecological substitute for conventional plastics, could you please tell us from what material is your design made, specifically what it consists of, is not complicated for production?


VERONIKA: In each interview I say that it is not a bioplastic, as we know it. I used only similar technology in production. For classic bioplastic, the basic raw material is corn, potatoes, or cereals – I chose recycled papers in the base, supplemented with other binders on a natural basis. I tried to use the materials we would normally throw away, but have the potential to become a new raw material. For example, a coffee grounds – if we throw it into compost anyway, why not use it for compostable material Production in domestic conditions is a bit complicated, but in general it is not.


So did you invented this material yourself? Where did you look for inspiration?



VERONIKA: We had lectures on art materials in college. The colleague was working on a seminar paper that focused on bioplastics. During the presentation he introduced us the bioplastic he made at home in the kitchen. It was my first encounter with new material. Since then, I have been interested in this technology. Not about working in an industrial operation, but about how to make materials from home-made raw ingredients without unnecessary chemistry. It was difficult to find the right raw material ratios, and it did not always work well. I have also become inspired by other biodegradable materials that already exist. I am fascinated by the look of these materials, a connection with nature. I wanted to create something similar, but from my own raw ingredients.


2. místo, Studenti vysokých škol a designéři do 30 let, Veronika Janečková, Šperk první pomoci, Univerzita Tomáše Bati ve Zlíně, Česká republika, foto: Filip Šach

“There are lots of instructions for home “bioplastic”. But none of them works the way I imagined. That’s why I decided to go my own way. “


How long have you been working on the design?



VERONIKA: I have been working since the publication of the competition up until the deadline. It was about five months. For a long time, I was wondering how to make a “Coffee Mania” packaging, and I wanted to make something different, original and unknown, and the idea of ​​making compostable capsules came unexpectedly.


Will your design go into production?



VERONIKA: I think every designer’s dream is to get his work to public and not to work “for the drawer”. For the time being, it is only a prototype of the material, and it will take a long way to make the production in normal operation real. I would not hinder cooperation with other designers, technology, or firm to bring the idea to a successful end.


What would you highlight on your design, what do you like best about it?



VERONIKA: First of all, I would highlight the properties of the new material. It can be constantly expanded to complement the new ingredients that would normally end up in the waste. It has almost unlimited shaping capabilities – we can create a sheet of paper or a spatial object. I like discovering new combinations and colors. Once the material is soft, sometimes it is firm. Sometimes it’s fragile, sometimes it breaks easily. It smells differently, it changes in structure, roughness.



Do you drink coffee, and how do you prefer it?



VERONIKA: I did not like coffee until three years ago, but I love it very much now. I prefer to drink it in the morning, from a mug, flavored with sugar and milk, along with some sweet breakfast.


Thanks and good luck!


Veronika is 2018 Model Young Package competition winner. See 2019 Model Young Package proposal.

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