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Creating Sustainnovation


The Team (left to right)

Sophie Simpson, Associate, Edinburgh
Jennifer Williamson
, Graduate Engineer, Edinburgh
Victoria Lee
, Graphics Manager, London
Holly Jessop, Year in Industry - Junior Graphic Designer, London
Grace Savage, Senior Graphic Designer, London
Natalie Groves
, Senior Marketing & BD Executive, Newcastle

The Sustainnovation team stood in front of the vinyled exhibition windows


Victoria stood in front of a wall of wooden doors with red hanging lampshades

Victoria Lee

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Natalie wearing a short sleeve white t-shirt smiling to camera

Natalie Groves

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Head and sholders shot og Grace wearing black top standing in front of wooden trellis and green plants

Grace Savage

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Sophie Simpson smiling looking towards the camera wearing a dark blue top

Sophie Simpson

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The Sustainnovation exhibition was born from our ambition to champion sustainability through the use of Cundall’s core values: creativity, excellence, collaboration and integrity. We believe it is important to use our industry influence to keep momentum going for the sustainable built environment movement. And the best way to do this? By exciting people about a sustainable future.

Our aim was to create an exhibition of the most sustainable, innovative solutions coming onto the market at the moment. With a digital exhibition, physical exhibition and launch event, we wanted to get our clients, the industry and the wider public talking about sustainability, its importance and its future.

As industry leaders, we aspired to identify solutions at the forefront of sustainability. This meant not only collaborating with our existing contacts in academia and industry, but also exploring new channels to identify research groups and small businesses with whom we wished to collaborate. We found one of our exhibitors, LightFi, via the UK Green Building Council’s Solutions Library, which highlights practical and commercially viable ways to help address common sustainability challenges across the built environment.

After approaching our chosen exhibitors, we organised meetings with them to explain who we were and to discuss our vision for the exhibition.

With a 100% success rate for getting our chosen collaborators on board, we worked together to create an exhibition embodying the character of each exhibitor.

We were sent samples of their products not only to display, but also to use in our Edinburgh office. LightFi created a digital layout of our office and their sensors have been installed to measure air quality as well as occupancy, which can be used to reduce HVAC energy consumption. The self-watering wall planters we received from the start-up Shirinoku are now on display in the entrance to our office, improving air quality and having positive effects on our health and wellbeing.

Since the launch of Sustainnovation, our exhibitors have demonstrated excellence in their field and proven our belief in their solutions. Kenoteq’s K-Briq, which is made from over 90% local recycled construction and demolition waste, has won the public vote for sustainable design of the year in the global Dezeen Awards 2022. The Simon Square project by Fraser/Livingstone Architects has won three awards in the Edinburgh Architectural Association Awards 2022, including the Wood Award for the best use of timber technologies. This project, which can be found in our exhibition, used cross laminated timber to lock in carbon and reduce the building’s carbon footprint.

The future of the solutions we have exhibited is also exciting. We collaborated with the Biocomposites research division at KTH Royal Institute of Technology to display their novel and fully bio-based transparent wood biocomposite (the first 100% renewable transparent wood). This was an amazing material to see up close, and they’re currently researching a yet unexplored range of applications for transparent wood, such as smart windows which change colour in response to temperature and UV radiation.

“Preparations for the build started months in advance. With the initial design on paper then prototypes and strength testing. Once we transported all of the materials up to the Edinburgh office we set about putting the structure together. After cutting the poles fixing them into joints, securing the Perspex panel and info panels, testing the technology and a quick polish we were then ready to showcase the products and stand back and admire our work!”

Grace Savage

Designing and building a flexible, sustainable modular construction

From initial sketch to a two day build the Cundall graphics team considered the requirements of a structure that could vary in size and shape to accomodate a variety of innovations, in a changing exhibition space, whilst keeping costs to a minimum.

Creating an exhibition that lives up to it’s name

The graphics team hand cut recycled composite piping to 500mm lengths using elbow fixing joints to allow the installation to adapt to its current environment with the thought of moving to the next officein mind.

All innovations were carefully and uniquely displayed. With information and direction to the digital exhibition via QR codes, visible from both inside the exhibition space and at street level to the passing public.

A private view to celebrate

Launch night saw both the physical and digital exhibition our team had created bringing clients, industry exhibitors and our engineers together. The exhibition was displayed throughout summer with an estimated footfall of over 7,000 people.

“Our passion for sustainability goes further than what we as engineers can control. We want to share our passion but more importantly educate the industry and beyond; Sustainnovations was the perfect way to do just that!”

Natalie Groves

“Sustainnovation has been an incredibly inspiring project to be a part of, and its future place in promoting sustainable solutions within the built environment is something we really look forward to seeing. The development of the London office exhibition is already underway, and there are plans for Sustainnovation to continue it’s roadshow throughout our offices globally with companies proactively contacting us to try and occupy a space!”