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Karthikeyan’s winning design

International winner for Loughborough laundry design competition

A Loughborough University design competition to propose a new, sustainable laundry process has announced its winner.

Karthikeyan Gopinathan, from the Indian National Institute of Design, won the competition with his intuitive design process which aims to encourage a sustainable way of clothes washing in a large communal environment such as a university.

The competition, which attracted entries nationally and internationally, was run by PhD student Jak Spencer from the Sustainable Design Research Group at Loughborough’s Design School.

It was based on research into the cultural differences of the laundry process across Brazil, India and the UK carried out by Jak last year. On analysis of the results he found huge differences in the sustainability of the washing process across the regions.

On the winning design, Jak said:

“Karthikeyan was selected as his design shows a novel solution within the relevant context that he designed it for. He used the information available in the brief and the design guidelines and looked holistically at the process of washing.”

His design, which can be seen here, is based on his personal experiences of water recycling as he explains:

“The issue of sustainable laundry hit me long before this competition as water shortages are common where I live. This makes me use water efficiently. For example, I use the water from washing clothes to flush the toilet. At the same time, we have three separate washing machines at our college which were always busy and had to wait for our turn. 

“Connecting these scenarios to the design guidelines and sustainable behaviour concepts, the idea of viewing this as a social activity came in and the industrial design part grew out of this basic idea.”

The competition was supported by Forum for the Future – a non-profit organisation that works towards developing a sustainable world.

It was judged by panel of sustainable design experts, which included Dr Debra Lilley, a Design Lecturer at the University, Dr Garrath Wilson, a researcher from the Design School and design experts from Forum for the Future.

Karthikeyan has won a nexus tablet and the opportunity to present his work in front of the Forum for the future innovation team. 


Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 13/138

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. It has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league, and in recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 11 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.


Hannah Bateson
Public Relations
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228658

PR team

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