• #plasticwaste
  • #material
  • #futurefood

Guilty Flavours

Eleonora Ortolani

  • #plasticwaste
  • #material
  • #futurefood


  • The Vulnerability of Innovation Prize
  • We are What we eat, What we throw away Award
  • Plastic-Free Prize
  • The Future of Food Sustainability Award





Judge’s Comments

Darlene Damm

Faculty Chair and Former Vice President of Community and Impact, Singularity University

The Vulnerability of Innovation Prize

We live on the cusp of using biotechnology to rebuild and redesign our world. While this holds great promise for solving environmental and social challenges, it also raises new questions. What is natural and unnatural? What is biological and what is material? What is healthy and unhealthy? What are the consequences of changing things? What are the consequences of not changing things? How much risk should we take? How much risk should we ask others to take? How do we not fear a future very different than our past? This project gently introduced these questions to the viewer. While much of the world engages in polarizing and destructive debate around technology and ethics, this project shows there is another way. We can experience and see possibilities for change and our future, while also remaining completely safe. I hope Eleanora will create other projects at the intersection of technology and ethics that allows more people to gently and safely explore the choices of our future.

Sachiko Hirosue

Osaka Namari-Suzu Seirensho Co., Ltd. President and CEO

We are What we eat, What we throw away Award

A speculative art project that makes us have a good hard stare through the looking glass, this projects also has parallels with purifying sewage water for drinking, an unsavory but soon to become reality. To many, the concept itself (our waste as our nutrition) may be distasteful, but as a society, we have to admit that microplastics are already appearing in our food-chain and in our bodies.

The historical, socio-political and biotechnological aspects of the vanilla bean makes the choice of vanillin very appropriate, given the themes raised, "natural : artificial" intertwined with “mass produced : scarcely sourced”. The ubiquitous presence of vanillin has rendered the rare vanilla (bean-derived) to mean bland, common, basic. The petrochemically-derived vanillin as "vanilla" replaced the precious vanilla bean resulting in mass-consumption of vanilla aroma and flavours. Now people are trying to make biotechnological super-beans to make vanillin to swap out the petrochemicals.

If the PET-generated vanillin were super rare, only made in small quantities, will it have the preciousness of the original vanilla bean, even if the origins can be traced to petrochemicals? Or do we industrialize this process to produce the vanillin that has made the once precious vanilla, a common ingredient in our sweets? The fact that PET-derived vanillin can be industrialized raises philosophical questions and eybrows. Why does society always want to produce so much? To what extent do we want to pursue pleasures so that they become banal?

Yuri Naruse

Architect, Founder of NARUSE・INOKUMA ARCHITECTS Co., Ltd.

Plastic-Free Prize

This project packs a powerful message: we should not lose sight of the fact that we have no way to dispose of plastic waste. What if we as human beings ate the plastic? In asking this question, the project is really trying to challenge the status quo. Even if the prototype ice cream can't solve all our problems, it works to broaden and deepen our thinking. While we all need to recycle plastic and reduce plastic use, this project shows us the importance of taking a different view of the problem.

David Tena Vicente

FabCafe Barcelona CEO

The Future of Food Sustainability Award

Guilty Flavours presents a revolutionary and experimental concept that reimagines the plastic waste problem through a radical yet intriguing lens. The project's vision of harnessing biochemical processes to convert plastic into edible substances is not just a creative endeavor but also a pragmatic solution to the global crisis of plastic pollution and a fundamental alteration of our relationship with plastic. The project has the potential to foster a new trend in research where we explore if we can transform what we previously considered harmful into new feasible solutions.


Special Prize Winners