Product Design for a Circular Economy

A case study towards a circular luminaire

Design goal

Philips sees CE as a boundary condition for a sustainable world. For circular product design however there is little information available. Therefore this project looks at what CE means for circular product design and how that can be applied by use of a case study.

Type of project

Graduation project at Philips High-Tech Campus in Eindhoven


Philips Research & Philips Lighting

Circular economy

In general the majority of the current economy is a linear economy based on a ‘take-make-dispose” model that relies on easily accessible resources and energy. This creates huge amounts of waste at end of life impacting nature and society. Circular Economy (CE) is a framework for change towards a restorative circular economy, done by redesigning products and rethinking business models. Materials can be used more effectively to deliver performance and value.

Learn more about CE on the website of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Design tools

An adapted CE model for product design is proposed that identifies five main topics. Based on the five main topics a CE guideline and several tools, such as a spidermap, have developed to support in circular design. In short, circular design can be summarized as:

make it future proof for endless performance and adaptability

with design for disassembly to allow

easy servicing for optimal performance

modular design to remake products

and optimizing for recycling at end of life

Circular luminaire

The luminaire is suited for a circular economy mainly because:

• The LEDs and driver are easily to acces and disassemble.

• The modular design takes a platform approach to create an ecosystem of modules. This allows to adjust to changing customer needs and be applied in a wide range of applications.

Some sketches