Upcycled! Upgraded!

Bulky rubbish, waste, cheap materials: pure gold! And so it is, at least in the eyes of many designers. ‘Pure Gold - Upcycled! Upgraded!’ treats rubbish. The focus falls not on solutions for avoidance or reminders about recycling for producers and consumers, but on approaches to processing waste that result in producing a new product.

The international exhibition project presents 76 objects created by a new generation of designers from all over the world who work in an ecological and ethically sustainable manner. They work on solutions to a serious global problem of the present: waste and its processing. Images of the littering of the oceans and gigantic garbage dumps in remote regions of the planet are everywhere. Despite its grave consequences for the global ecosystem, the handling of waste is changing only slowly. Upcycling – the use of already processed material as raw material for new and higher quality objects – raises the awareness for alternative production techniques and contemporary European and non-European design developments. The designs use seemingly inferior raw materials, combine diverse objects in unconventional ways, or creatively process unwanted by-products.

Digital platform as a collaborative network

The touring exhibition is supplemented by the digital platform www.pure-gold.org, where the exhibition is networked with the respective design scene. Local designers, artists and students can engage in practice-oriented workshops with regionally developed upcycling methods. The results will be integrated into the on-site exhibition and made available online as ‘Instructable’ videos. The platform also provides a forum where interested people can gather globally, gain experience and exchange notes.


Europe: Volker Albus, Frankfurt am Main
Latin America: Adélia Borges, São Paulo
North Africa/Middle East: Bahia Shehab, Cairo
East Asia: Zhang Jie, Beijing
Sub-Saharan Africa: Tapiwa Matsinde, London
South Asia: Divia Patel, London
Southeast Asia: Eggarat Wongcharit, Bangkok
Workshops & platform: Axel Kufus, Berlin

Exhibitions worldwide

With over 20 touring exhibitions currently travelling across the globe and with its diverse event programmes on contemporary art, the ifa links the German art scene with internationally active cultural creators and forms cooperations and networks. The projects, many of which were developed in co-creation with local partners, cover the various disciplines of modern and contemporary fine arts – from current themes in architecture, photography and design to Bauhaus and monographic exhibitions such as Rosemarie Trockel or Wolfgang Tillmans. These projects generate local meeting platforms and allow international perspectives on topics of global relevance. The ifa also provides loan exhibits to interested museums.

Find out more


Overview exhibitions worldwide (PDF)

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