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Design Products (MA)

Xinwei Tang 汤昕蔚

For years, urban food markets have been receiving resources, selling food, and importing waste, all while visitors come and go, consuming without a second thought. It's a convenient yet anthropocentric way of consumption, neglecting the facts of transportation emissions and untransparent food waste management.

But what if we could have a decentralized food system and let no food waste travel outside the market?

Food Market Tomorrow does it by integrating people's engagement.

Xinwei is with her prototypes of a community biogas digester in a neighbourhood. This is a workshop for residents to feedback.

I design fun and inclusive platforms that empower citizens to take an active role in driving sustainable changes. My design process involves extensive scenario research, technology analysis, model-making, user testing, and iterations based on feedback.

I dedicate myself to developing platforms that enable citizens to collaborate and contribute towards building a more sustainable future. I believe that people would be happy to participate in sustainable transformations once the pathways are well designed.

this is the ecosystem mapping of the market
this is the stakeholder diagram of the market
this is the operational model diagram


The circular system in Food Market Tomorrow includes a scaled-down biogas plant, a hydroponic greenhouse, segregation bins and biogas dining sheds. It upcycles food waste into biogas for market energy and on-site ingredient growing. The design includes visitors, locals and sellers to play a small part in keeping the system running and rewards them for their contribution. 

In Food Market Tomorrow, visitors, locals and sellers are empowered with a sense of engagement, and can have instant interactions with the outcome of their sustainable practices.

It is an engaging space to hang out, a market using less energy and a starting point to spread sustainable ideologies in urban area.

The market system was designed together with this model to explore the touchpoints mapping, and the interactions of stakeholders.

this is a picture of a visitor in the market model
this is the 3d model mapping of food market
A worker is sending a pumped-up biogas ring ouside the biogas center.
A worker is transporting a used-up biogas ring from the dining shed back to the biogas center.
Growers are checking the conditions of the herbs at their allocated pots in the hydroponic greenhouse.
A visitor is adding site-grown herbs to her food at a dining shed window.


Cardboard, Foam Board, Acrylic Sheets, PVC, photo credit: Poul
this is a scaled-up model of dining shed


To motivate visitors to segregate waste and participate in the circular system,

I created an intimate interaction between visitors and the impacts of their recycling behaviours. The dining shed shows the main two things processed from the waste in their hands: a pumped biogas ring and herbs grown from bio-fertilizer.

I build a large scale model to iterate the concept of the dining shed.

Because it's powered by biogas, the shed needs to be made of temperature insulation materials to save energy. Meanwhile, I've observed that visitors like to take pictures of novel or natural spots in the food market. Therefore, I designed the shed as a strawbale building, which saves energy, cost and is attractive to attract people's attention and spread the sustainable idea.

this is the inside of the dining shed
this is the dining table with free-to-pick basil on the side
this is the dining table going out the shed and people outside the shed can access basil
these are posters in the shed
someone is picking herbs at the shed
someone is adding herbs in her food


straw, carboard, wood, paper, basil, photo credit: Poul
this is the cover of brochure
the inner page explaining the project's ambition and circular system
the inner page explaining the roles of visitors, growers and sellers


In previous units, I've experienced with anaerobic digestion, which is a process to turn organic waste into biogas. After conversations with a biogas expert, I realized the technology is very mature and it's important to educate people about this accessible energy generation and let people participate. After workshops in neighbourhood communities, I realized that food markets are the suitable scenario for the education experience to happen.

Therefore I started the research in diverse food market and observe people's behaviours in markets. The purpose is to make sure my design suits in the physical and psychological context.

research in borough market
pictures in camden market
factors of people that I observed from site research