Eva's HSC Design and Technology major work is innovation in action.
2nd November 2023
Innovation in HSC design project
Domremy College Year 12 graduate Eva Kolokotas’ HSC Design and Technology major work is innovation in action.
Here she shares how entrepreneurial education initiative UpRising helped solidify her idea for positive change.
Eva decided to grow a biodegradable coffee table after observing the amount of curb-side furniture around Sydney destined for landfill.
She discovered mycelium – mushroom fibres that can be harvested and heat treated to create a strong lightweight, sustainable building material – while researching sustainable packaging.
“There is a lot of waste of fast furniture,” she said. “I thought I could use mycelium to solve that need.”
Eva grew and harvested mycelium before mixing it with hemp hurd, water and other materials to produce her design, then baked it in an oven.
“The heat kills off all the active mycelium, so I'm left with the raw material,” Eva said. “It doesn’t alter the size but it makes it much lighter. You can biodegrade it.”
Seed for change
Eva’s project was one of three in NSW to receive seed funding from education initiative UpRising, which offers Year 12 Design & Technology students the opportunity to develop their HSC major projects with mentorship from professionals from a wide-range of industries.
UpRising was founded by former Sydney Catholic Schools TAS teacher Richard Hainsworth, who said the sector-blind education initiative allowed students to gain support for their ambitions and helped to build the innovation ecosystem.
The seed funding is awarded each year to the top three UpRising projects as voted by an independent panel of industry professionals and entrepreneurs, and helps students to pay for materials to test and develop their project prototypes.
Eva said suggestions and mentoring from businesses affiliated with UpRising helped her to work through project challenges.
“I had so many experiences where I just kept growing mould instead of a table,” she said. “I kept learning from it and changing my approach and I was successful."
While Eva plans to study law at university next year, through UpRising a potential partnership with a North Sydney-based mushroom farmer is in the works to develop other mycelium products.
“UpRising created a day where they invited entrepreneurs and business owners to talk to us,” she said. “It was useful to see where the design and technology projects could go in a tangible business sense. It was great for inspiration.”
You can read more here.