Photograph: Jagoda Wisniewska

Biodiversity and Design: How Paula Cermeño León is Shaping Circular Economy

Sustainable Designer Paula Cermeño León will be in San Francisco at Switzerland’s Innovation Outpost, Swissnex, during the Swiss Design Accelerator.

Photograph: Jagoda Wisniewska

Refined Remedies

The Designer’s Work
Biodiversity and humans’ relationship with plants is the starting point for Paula Cermeño León’s practice. In her work, she combines design tools with knowledge of different experts working with plants, such as botanists, biologists, engineers, and artists.

Paula graduated from ECAL, one of Switzerland’s leading design schools, and has a strong focus on combining academia, research, and design, acquiring a diverse skill-set in this process. She was the Head of the Industrial Design Program at PUCP (Lima, Peru), where she led academic projects and events related to topics such as circularity, biomimicry, and design fiction. Paula has released personal care products and sustainable packaging made from natural materials and native plants.

Her latest product design was a biodegradable packaging for Palo Santo incense, developed for Peruvian brand Misha Rastrera. The philosophy behind the Peruvian wellbeing brand is centered around sustainability and the empowerment of local plant producers. One of their best known products is a therapeutic incense made with pressed Palo Santo wood sourced from the Northern Coast.

Palo Santo Packaging

Photograph: Paula Cermeño León

The main objective of this packaging design by Paula Cermeño León is to propose a local, compostable, and viable alternative to the plastic film packaging that the client had been using previously. Paula thus used the surplus corn husks that are produced during corn farming and are normally burned when not chosen for food wrapping. The texture of these dry corn husks provides insulation and protection. The corn husk was chosen to develop a packaging that would require very basic wrapping skills. The final shape is based on the traditional way of wrapping tamales, a typical dish in Latin American countries.

Related Event

Design for the Bay

Join us on Wednesday, November 9, for an exciting networking evening with design and innovation enthusiasts and meet the three selected Swiss design studios participating in the Swiss Design Accelerator at Pier 17.

Photograph: Jagoda Wisniewska

For Interview Requests, please Contact Swissnex Communications:
Julia Kuhn Mirza, Sr. Communications Manager: [email protected]
Sophia Burri, Communications Associate: [email protected]

Press Images Available Here


Swiss Design Accelerator
The program is a collaboration by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and Swissnex in San Francisco. Pro Helvetia under the label Design Switzerland, aims to connect emerging Swiss designers with the international markets at key industry events, and enable them to gain visibility, build professional networks and reach their business goals. Swissnex’s experience and established network will enable the studios to access key industry experts from the US West Coast and to reach their entrepreneurial goals.

More about this year’s Swiss Design Accelerator