ASU students win $4,000 for innovative IKEA recycling truck concept

A rendering of the "Bottle Biter" concept, the winning group for The Design School’s Interdisciplinary Cluster Competition.


A team of four Arizona State University students won $4,000 for their concept of an innovative IKEA recycling truck they designed as part of The Design SchoolThe Design School is part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.’s Interdisciplinary Cluster Competition, an annual competition that allows design students from various design disciplines to work together and explore the intersection of their fields.

Led by Assistant Professor Milagros Zingoni and Assistant Clinical Professor Wil Heywood, design students engage every year in the 10-day-long Interdisciplinary Cluster Competition (ICC), applying knowledge gained in their studio practice to solve real-world design projects.

The winning team comprised ASU students Erika Hannon, Zachary Bursi, Courtney Kane and Rebecca Leonard. This year, 180 junior students across The Design School studying architecture, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture and visual communication design participated. Sixty non-design students also participated in the competition.  

Teams were tasked with re-envisioning retail experiences at a local and global level, using ASU’s campus as their laboratory to test ideas. Students explored in-store retail behaviors, digital shopping trends and the use and lifecycle of retail products. Their proposals showed a consistency in the values this generation seek when designing retail experiences, such as recycle strategies and providing recommendations to integrate current technologies to address long-term impact of products.

Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), the lead sponsor for this year’s event, provided $9,500 cash prizes for the winning teams. The W. P. Carey School of Business also provided over $30,000 of in-kind investments for needed materials and resources and to help hire students to document the event. The competition also continues to receive support from an investment made last year in the amount of $52,500 from ASU alumnus Jack Furst and Isaac Manning, manager of the Sun Devil Stadium renovation project for ASU.

The first-place “Bottle Biter” team proposed an IKEA truck designed to move through local communities and cities and collect items for repurposed use. Each of the four students on the team was awarded $1,000 for their concept.

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