Peter Schmidt Group wins a Silver Nail in the ADC competition for its design project “Grace of Waste”

How beautiful can garbage be? And how useful? The Peter Schmidt Group created a soap set called “Grace of Waste” that celebrates the aesthetics of recycling and shows how sustainable practices can be implemented on a wide variety of levels. The design agency collected the coffee grounds produced daily in its offices and used them to make high-quality care products. The project provided new food for thought for the agency's business partners – and also impressed the panel of judges of the Art Directors Club Germany, who awarded “Grace of Waste” with a Silver Nail, making it the only top award winner in the category “Sustainable Design.” The trophies presented by the ADC are considered to be among the most important awards for creative excellence in Germany.

“Grace of Waste” was created by the Peter Schmidt Group in autumn 2018 from a simple idea about the coffee machine. The coffee grounds produced daily usually ended up in the garbage – although they are a natural product with numerous valuable properties. The agency's creative talents developed an upcycling idea and produced a set of three different soaps from the coffee grounds. The soaps were intended as a valuable Christmas gift for business partners and aimed to spark a discussion about the potential of sustainable design. Accordingly, the project did not stop with the production of the soaps. For the packaging, the agency used a cardboard box made of recycled coffee cups, while the typography was optimized to minimize the use of printing ink – in fact, hardly any ink was used at all. An Instagram campaign aroused curiosity and excitement among the target group and raised awareness about the project far beyond the circle of its intended recipients.

“As designers, it is our greatest privilege but also our highest duty to contribute new approaches and solutions to issues affecting society as a whole. The fact that our planet is now threatened by environmental pollution is one such issue, and we designers should ask ourselves what we can do about it. It's a topic that shakes our society to the very core and calls into question the usefulness and desirability of most of our products. It's quite a dilemma that we design and create things – many of them more or less superfluous – that require a lot of resources,” explains Heidrun Angerer, Executive Creative Director responsible for the project. “Grace of Waste demonstrates an approach that points out the numerous possibilities there are for designers and brands – and shows that a consistently sustainable approach does not require us to forsake aesthetics. It is an initial inspiration for our customers, and a first step which we hope to follow with many further steps – integrated into each of our future projects.”

About the Peter Schmidt Group

The Peter Schmidt Group is currently Germany’s top-selling brand and design agency and part of the BBDO Group Germany. Its customers include major international companies such as Linde, Henkel and Imperial Brands, financial institutions such as Postbank and DZ BANK, fashion and beauty brands as well as cultural institutions. Since autumn 2017, the Peter Schmidt Group has also been responsible for the corporate design of Deutsche Bahn. Around 220 employees work at the agency’s offices in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Munich and Tokyo.