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The Re-fulfilment Centre – Theatre of Return Products

WINNER of Market 2.0: Circular Economy Hub


Market 2.0: Circular Economy Hub

The Re-fulfilment Centre – Theatre of Return Products


Name: Ka Wah Francis, Cheung

Instagram: franc.ckw

Nationality: Hongkonger

Institution / Company: Royal College of Art

Returning products has become the norm of online shopping. Roughly 30% of the items are returned for various reasons – half of them get back to the suppliers, while the other half are dumped in landfills. 

The Re-fulfilment Centre proposes to turn the dramatic effects of the Return Culture – on the environment and on our relationship with objects – into a possibility of change. The idea is that retailers could get rid of unwanted returns with a partial compensation while the local communities could take advantage of the ample return inventory to create something useful and meaningful. The Re-fulfilment Centre is a new form of charity shopping, taking the shape of a more comprehensive in-house mechanism – from capturing returned goods, to upcycling them in the communal workshop, and reselling rejuvenated items on the local market. 

The building is made of three main elements. A light roof supported by a grid of light columns. A system of shelf-walls that support the internal horizontal slabs disposed in a terrace layout. The envelope of perforated metal sheets, which gives to the building an enigmatic post-industrial look. Entirely colonised by objects, the building is a theatre that showcases the spectacle of a new logistic that could give a different value to everyday objects. Envisioned as a reverse of online consumption, this new return industry can allow breaking away from consumerism and come together as a community of makers – a Re-fulfilment Centre that is truly fulfilling. The project challenges the “bizarre normal” of shopping culture, in pursuit of changing practices & collective engagement.

Jury Comments

+ Kasmir Jolma

The Re-fulfilment Centre – Theatre of Return Products gives a tangible solution for solving a growing problem of e-commerce with an intriguing presentation style.

+ Tao Liu / Chunyan Cai

The project is very sensitive, point out the new type of waste caused by the online – return culture, and give out a solution with careness.


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