The Re-Use Atlas

The re-use atlas: A designer’s guide towards a circular economy

The Re-Use Atlas: A Designer’s Guide Towards A Circular Economy
Author: Duncan Baker-Brown
Published by: RIBA Publishing

This book is a highly illustrated ‘atlas’, taking the reader on a journey via four distinct ‘steps’ (recycle, reuse, reduce, closed loop), from a linear economy towards a system emulating the natural world – a circular economy. Featuring over 20 detailed case studies describing design examplars from the worlds of textile and fashion design, product design, architecture, interior architecture, and urban design, this book shows designers how they can successfully navigate and exploit the emerging field of resource management and the circular economy.
Each step (recycle, reuse, reduce, closed loop) includes an in-depth interview with an expert who is successfully tackling one or more of these challenges that face all designers today. The steps are supplemented with contributory essays from, among others, Professor Walter Stahel of the Product-LifeInstitute and Professor Jonathan Chapman, author of Emotionally Durable Design.

Featured reviews:

Duncan Baker-Brown takes the abstract concepts of waste, energy, materials, and use–and brings them to life with vivid and inspiring examples to outline a fresh way of looking at architecture and the world.
This book points to a new paradigm, replacing the design of single, static, solitary buildings with the design of complex adaptive systems.

Professor Dr. Michael Braungrart Co-Author Cradle to Cradle


Duncan Baker Brown’s notion that we are beginning an era where we will be ‘mining the Anthropocene’ nicely captures the concept that humans are impacting not only earth’s surface and its atmosphere, but its crust too. This concept is well observed and game-changing. If we think as Baker-Brown does, cease our despoiling plunder of finite resources and turn to ingenuity in the re-use of that which we have already extracted, it may yet not be too late. He is a leading thinker who also demonstrates the way forward in practice. That’s what the best architects do.

Benjamin Derbyshire, Chair, HTA Design, RIBA President Elect


This book is full of positive stories, with tangible examples of projects that will inspire designers young and old to “mine the Anthropocene”. Politicians respond to ideas that have real, demonstrable examples backing them up. The Re-Use Atlas is full of those. I hope people get inspired, take note and take action

Dr. Caroline Lucas MP 


The genius of the human species is pretty much all that stands between us and a steady descent into hell on Earth. Through its uplifting narrative and inspiring case studies, the Re-Use Atlas showcases that genius at work in the material world, grafting elegant, super-efficient and circular solutions onto today’s insanely wasteful, linear economy.

Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future 

Closing the loop