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WORTH Partnership Project

Identity 560

Sustainable desk lamp made from an innovative composite that is fully biodegradable/compostable

Identity 560

The project

Identity 560 is the first interior product based on advanced bio-composites, which is fully recyclable and/or compostable. This project will demonstrate that high-class design in combination with advanced bio-composites provides an answer to the current challenging circular business concept. The base of the lamp is produced in a combination of silica with a biodegradable bioresin. The arm is based on braided polylactic acid fibres with low and high melting properties and the cap and small parts are made from injection-moulding bio-composites. All components will be recyclable and compostable, avoiding metals.



This story is about the design process for a fully circular desk lamp. 
It is mended to show the development process of a full circular product and to show the potential of it for a future range of circular durable goods. 
The Identity 560 desk lamp considers the functionality and personality of Arapaha BV, a Dutch company for fully recyclable bio-based design products. Its designs integrates aesthetics, local cultures, advanced biomaterials, recovery systems, and recycling technologies altogether. And Arapaha BV, is just providing that.

Identity 560 - image 1

Just imagine that each product is made in a way, that when it returns, somebody takes care of it and brings all the materials used back to new raw material, up to molecular level. And then it starts all over again… This was the starting point for the project “Identity 560” desk lamp. Design as it should be in a circular economy.
To make a product feasible and desirable, we have to understand how the product is designed and for whom. 
We can understand human behaviors by analyzing the (micro) interactions which occur between the user and the product, to finally understand which intimate moments influence ingrained habits. 
An effective circular product design has as starting point that a tangible product leads to change an intangible action and it stimulate behavioral change. In the case of the “Identity 560” desk lamp, they are several layers consumers will understand and be influenced by. Local identity is perceived (comparable to local food, clothes and architecture) as well the recyclability of the product. 
After a useful life “Identity 560” will be returned to the producer. The materials will be transformed to new building blocks for new applications, to create an endless loop. People will understand, that materials are valuable and they shouldn’t get lost in a landfill or incinerated. They will understand that enjoying luxury in the future is possible as long as we take care of the materials and used them again and again.

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The concept of “Identity” is intended to combine local cultures with advanced materials/design and recycling technologies.
For the design of the Identity 560 project, Jörn Behage started with the mining industry in Limburg, the southern part of the Netherlands, as inspiration. With this design the intention is to combine new materials and technologies such as fully recyclable bio-based composites materials based on polylactic acid also known as PLA and create a local identity to which people of a region feels attracted to. People recognize the shapes they already know for such a long time. So, the original coal shovel transforms into a slim lampshade with LED technology and the composite arm of the desk lamp is an analogy for the vanished coal industry in Limburg (NL). The glass base refers to the lights used in the mines. It wasn’t the intention to copy the shapes of an object but to use them as an identity for the specific region. As an inspiration for a design. The same concept would and should look very different in other parts of the world, but the idea of “Identity” can be applied to an endless variety of products in an endless number of places in our world… 

What makes Identity 560 unique?

  • Design and Aesthetics are locally oriented;
  • Product is fully suitable for circular business concepts;
  • Application of fully recyclable advanced bio-based materials;
  • Designed for repair, reuse and to be fully recyclable, both mechanically well as molecular recycling;
  • Application of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to provide transparency about the product in general as well information about recovery and recycling of the product/materials;
  • After a useful life, full recycling of the Identity 560 desk lamp is carried out by Arapaha BV.
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While we usually thought that having a competitive advantage is the best way to be successful, a circular design requires a new game within the system.
We should understand, that other services and / or products exists and that these “teammates” are essential for us in a circular world. 
The choice of materials, production processes, assembly, sales, etc. are revised and merged to a new whole. We understand the relation with like-minded companies and understand what we can learn from each other and where we can cooperate. To make recycling of PLA possible a substantial amount of post consumer PLA is needed. To solve this problem cooperation between companies with different waste streams is needed to create enough input material for a recycling run. So, the success of recycling a desk lamp depends from other waste streams such as packaging (yoghurt cups, e.a.), textiles and foams, etc. Currently a consortium including Arapaha BV is planning a pilot plant in the Netherlands, to test the recycling possibility of different waste streams altogether.


The “Identity 560” project is the starting point for a large collection of products. The “Identity” collection will be completed with three other lamps: a desk lamp, a standing lamp and a ceiling lamp.
The material and technology applied in this project will also be applied in sporting goods such as paddles, kayaks and surfboards. This project is the starting point of a new way to design and develop products in which not only environmental friendly materials. “Identity 560” is the first fully recyclable product in which it is possible to go back to the initial molecules and use the recovered material for a new generation of products without losing any material performance.


Dieter Rams forgot this one: Good design is fully recyclable – up to the molecules.

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Projects Edition
  • WORTH Partnership Projects I
Project Call
  • 2nd Call Projects
Project Sector
  • Furniture - Home Decoration
Project Challenge
  • Circular Economy



JÖRN BEHAGE product designer based in Maastricht (NL). Currently he develops advanced biomaterials for the interior market in cooperation with research institutes and companies in Europe.

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THOMAS KÖHLER expert in the optimisation of (bio) composites for mass production. He studied engineering at the RWTH in Aachen (Germany) and specialises in production technologies and financial services.

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