OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

ArtWall interior surfaces for design studios & art classrooms

Learning facilities and schools around the world can benefit from sustainable interior finish materials that make art studios affordable

Photo of Chuck D

Written by

Our school system receives less government funding today than a decade ago. Budget cuts have targeted specialized programs including arts, sports & electives. Learning facilities and schools across the US and around the world can benefit from building & interior finish materials that make art programs more affordable & sustainable. 


ArtWall brings multipurpose Regrind interior finish materials to art studios & classrooms, with a proactive circular material economy of Repeated Reclamation & Repurposing.

This helps offset cuts to education funding and preserve quality of student life through art & electives.

ArtWall draws on principles of Minimalist Architecture, Circular Material Economy, and Human-Centered Design.

(Source: California compression-molding vendor)

ArtWall advances non-sports uses for compression molded regrind materials:

  • User-driven design and flexible redesign for studios & art classrooms.
  • Multipurpose surfaces for reduced need of creation & display equipment.
  • Compression molded regrind rubber materials for durability.

ArtWall brings more regrind material to more non-sports use cases with second- and third-life opportunities. 

Studios & classrooms fitted with ArtWall become part of the user experience, from user-driven empathic ArtWall design through the lifecycle of an installation. 

Mosaic wall panels present a range of design options, from the default regrind aggregate to single color mosaic panels for abstract patterns, pixelated shapes, or laid out as pixelated monospace lettering as pictured in the “NIKE" wall image here.

ArtWall transforms studios and art classrooms with multipurpose work surfaces made from regrind in compression molded panels & flooring:
• Circular reclamation & user-driven design make the room itself a dynamic user project.
• Work surfaces: Countertop & tackboard walls become stain-resistant surfaces for design teams & art classes to produce their creations.
• Display surfaces: User-designed mosaic of tackboard ArtWall surfaces for project reviews & displaying creations.
• Flooring: Durable, stain-resistant, adhesive-bonded regrind flooring perfect for high-traffic school environments and art creation.

ArtWall advances use of compression molded regrind with:
• More opportunities to use & re-use more Nike Grind in a circular economy in venues currently not benefiting reclaimable & reusable interior finish materials.
• Savings over single-life materials for user organizations.
• More feasibility of high-end studios & art classrooms for most schools & recreational learning facilities currently doing without for budget reasons.

ArtWall installations move large amounts of regrind from the Waste column to interior finish decor of professional  studios & high-end art classrooms in a variety of configurations:
• Standalone ArtWall: A single wall in a classroom, studio, or display space.
• Creative Corner: 2-3 adjoining walls & the adjacent flooring.
• Full Studio: 360-degree ArtWall mosaic, flooring & optional work table surfaces.

ArtWall advances regrind surface use cases with a sustainable, regenerative, non-sports application to expand viability of existing compression molded materials & techniques. ArtWall brings opportunity in every community & many creative professions to reduce waste. ArtWall is built green for a circular economy of Repeated Reclamation & Repurposing. 

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Outsoles
  • Rubber Flashings
  • Rubber Granulate
  • EVA Foam Injection Scraps
  • EVA Foam Flashings
  • EVA Foam Sheets & Blocks
  • EVA Foam Components
  • Laminated EVA Foam
  • Laminated PU Foam

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

ArtWall compression molded finish materials bring large quantities of regrind flooring, work surfaces & wall panels to creative arts classrooms and professional studios. From the outset, Artwall departs from the conventional single-lifecycle product mindset. ArtWall starts with the circular economy NIKE GRIND strives for. LIFECYCLE EXAMPLE • 2018 NIKE GRIND becomes 2019 ArtWall surface • 2019 ArtWall year-end reclamation becomes regrind & earns credit toward 2020 ArtWall • Design of 2020 ArtWall surface is the final project for the users of 2019 ArtWall PARTNERS • Supply: NIKE GRIND materials • Manufacturing: Existing compression molding finish surface vendors • Design: User-driven design for studios & classrooms that work • Installation: Existing compression molded surface installers & approved adhesives • Users: From students to professional designers & creators PRODUCTION • Regrind transferred to compression molding site (More NIKE GRIND reused) • Flooring & wall panel surfaces compression molded (More business for vendors) • Molded surface materials to installation site (More business for installers) • User-designed custom installation lifecycle (Empathic design = stronger UX) • Material reclamation to regrind for next lifecycle (Expanding circular economy) ArtWall surfaces expand the market for existing flooring & mosaic panel materials made of compression-molded regrind. From the waste column to school & creative industries infrastructure, scaling with increasing operating leverage.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

MATERIALS • Wall Surfaces: Interlocking quarter-inch panels of compression molded regrind • Floor & Counter Surfaces: Sheets of half-inch compression molded regrind

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing
  • Prototyping

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

ArtWall surfaces are ideal interior finish materials for recreational learning facilities, professional studios, art classrooms, gallery spaces & display venues. ArtWall surfaces advance interior finish options for creative spaces, reducing waste by creating new demand for compression-molded regrind materials. Launch market targets recreational learning & school art programs. As of April 24, a non-profit proposed its art classroom for a pilot program ArtWall installation.

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

The full aspiration of ArtWall surfaces is to present inspiring, sustainable, innovative, dynamic workspaces & display venues to every maker, creator, pro designer and finger-painting youngster. ArtWall has secured a preliminary agreement for a pilot program art classroom installation at an Oregon activity-based education non-profit. Target launch market scales to include professional design studios, art colleges, creative agencies, and creative arts programs. Leveraging an increasingly growing Regrind material economy and partnering with existing experts in manufacture & installation of compression-molded surfaces, ArtWall finish materials offer every art class & design team opportunities to make and remake the best studios & classrooms they can imagine. BENEFITS OF SCALE • More NIKE GRIND reused • More business for compression molding vendors • More business for compression molded material installers • Material reclamation for next lifecycle expands circular economy

How is your idea innovative?

ArtWall incentivized reclamation advances current regrind circularity, and levels-up the intent of existing reclamation efforts such as the Oregon “Bottle Bill” for beverage containers, or NIKE's used-shoe dropboxes. ArtWall advances green building with regrind by: • Reclaiming waste material for repurposing in second-life, third-life and beyond. • Reducing interior finish costs for art studios & classrooms. • Upholding safety & environmental standards for NIKE GRIND materials.

What inspired this idea?

• Asking: What new uses can deploy more Regrind? • Asking: What venues can replace virgin materials with Regrind? • Interview with recreational learning non-profit. • Nike-Doernbecher partnership. • Design experience in a university Architecture program. • The Nike Grind challenge to innovate.

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

Design background includes 5 years in Architectural Design studios and university Architecture program. Project Manager with diverse brand & creative experience. Conversation with array of makers and educators to inform Regrind use cases.

In what city are you located?


In what country are you located?


What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)

Sole Proprietor

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

• Material kit for full-scale ArtWall prototype & pilot installation. • Additional guidance, resources & collaboration toward a pilot program ArtWall installation at a recreational learning facility. • Momentum toward launching a startup leveraging sustainable materials to offset cuts to education funding and preserve quality of student life through art & electives.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Chuck Dye ,

A reminder that the ideas phase of this Challenge closes in less than one hour, at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Please have your submission updated by this deadline with content to all proposal questions complete.

Excited to have you in the Challenge!

Photo of Chuck D

Thanks for the reminder Lauren Ito -- I believe we're good to go & all proposal questions complete. Any last-second questions or recommendations to share?

Photo of Chuck D

Hi Vinamre Dhar -- Thanks so much for your comment about Ciela Plata, 'Sky to Plate' urban rooftop vegetable farming components 

Any feedback to share here on ArtWall interior surfaces for design studios & art classrooms ?

Photo of Cherry

Good for schools

Photo of Aakar Mehra

Hi Chuck Dye ,

Firstly, I like the way you have put together your concept in a very descriptive and easy to follow way. I have not found many contributions that provide details of every step like this.

Secondly, I like the idea of the ArtWall overall. I think it creates a great platform for people to showcase there creativity. In your description I saw that you gave a general life-cycle example for the products. I think given that this challenge is around circular design and sustainability, you should give more details on that.

Another concern that would be good address is about the assumptions that the ArtWall surfaces, once made by pressing processes, can be regrind into the same material type as Nike Grind. Once the pressing and fusing process completes, the rubber and foam might not retain the same properties as before. I think this provides a great opportunity for prototyping and maybe using some of the Nike Grinds current running tracks to see if that can actually be reused/regrind.

Similar to that, have you considered how the surface that are being used in the current year, be brought back to the production/grinding plants? The exact channels that will help with the circular flow of the material/product. Lauren Ito suggested on my idea that I should look at the Circular Design Guide's business model canvas ( I finished my BMC just yesterday and it opened my eyes to various opportunities that I had not thought of. (soon to be updated in my idea)

I hope my comments were helpful. Looking forward to seeing how the idea evolves.

Photo of Chuck D

Hi Aakar Mehra -- Thanks so much for your insights and for sharing the business model canvas! I checked out the canvas and plan to spend some time with it this weekend. Great help from you to share that resource.

The reclaimed shoe element of the Nike Grind material addresses some of your question:
• Shoes are returned and ground up. Thus the molded, adhesive-bonded shoe components join manufacturing surplus to become the rubber granulate of Nike Grind involved in this challenge.
• We have precedents back to the early '90s of Nike re-molding & re-gluing into second-life Nike shoe components, including a 3/4-top crosstrainer with Regrind rubber & foam I recall from my sneaker collection.
• Tracks, courts and artificial turf surfaces offer precedents for reginding, re-molding and re-installing these materials for subsequent purposes & lifecycles.

Thanks again for your insights and the business model canvas. I'd certainly like to continue to trade more notes on our projects in the weeks ahead. Any additional thoughts here, or points in your proposals you'd like questions or notes about?

Photo of Chuck D

Hi Aakar Mehra -- Thanks again for recommending the Business Model Canvas. That's uploaded to my proposal now and, as always, I'm interested in your insights. Likewise do you have updates or additional questions on your projects?

Photo of Chuck D

Hi again Aakar Mehra -- Related to our conversation here, I’m also interested in your insights on my proposal for Ciela Plata, urban rooftop vegetable farming components
Any thoughts to share in a comment there?

Photo of Aakar Mehra

Hi Chuck Dye I like the BMC that you uploaded. I hope it helped with seeing the channels and actual working of the process a little better. I will try to look at the other idea tonight. I think if you could look at my other contribution and give some feedback, that would be helpful to me. I am in process of updating some of the details in that contribution.

Photo of Chuck D

Hi Aakar Mehra -- Is it the sieve for collecting floating trash you're seeking notes on? Let me know, and I'll share my feedback there tonight.

Photo of Robert Smith

Hi Chuck Dye ,

You have an interesting and valuable proposal here!

I particularly like the idea that children can create artwork, or just explore, in a world with safe and vibrant boundaries. No concern about spilling paint or cutting the countertop, simply the freedom to create!

A few points to consider:

1. What techniques (screws, adhesives, tape, etc.) would be used to hang the thin wall material? (At only 1/4" thick, you may need significant backing to keep it from sagging).
2. Instead of regrinding 'last year's' ArtWall, could it get disassembled and pieces of it shipped on to another art studio, possibly providing some inspiration to them for color, shape or texture? They, in turn, could pass on sections of their wall to someone else, etc. (Circulating art inspiration).
3. Hospitals are notably (and legitimately) hyper about germs and cleanable surfaces, though there may be some areas, particularly common rooms or outdoors, where ArtWalls would be welcomed.

Good luck! -Robert

Photo of Chuck D

Hi Robert Smith -- Thanks for your notes, I appreciate your insights!

To your questions:
• In terms of techniques, I gather adhesives are most effective for Regrind mosaics & flooring. More research to do, and plenty of precedents as the knowledge base on Regrind installation reaches back to the 1980s.
• Reinstalling mosaic tiles at a new location vs. regrinding & remolding could certainly both be options. Either could potentially offer one aspect of the Operating Leverage I'm seeking in ongoing expansion of the material economy to create an efficiency in material cost.
• As you point out, the design studio couldn't be in a sterile environment :-)
Long-standing precedent on children's hospital programs providing a use case for studios like the ArtWall concept:

Thanks again for your insights! I'd certainly like to continue to trade more notes on our projects in the weeks ahead. Any additional thoughts here, or points in your proposals you'd like questions or notes about?

Photo of Chuck D

Hi again Robert Smith -- Related to our conversation here, I’m also interested in your insights on my proposal for Ciela Plata, urban rooftop vegetable farming components
Any thoughts to share in a comment there?

Photo of Bryant Chu

Hey Chuck Dye , love the motivation and scalability. With similar reground surfaces available, I wonder if you could run some quick prototypes to test things like mounting strategies, pinning, post-it sticking...all the things you might do in its natural habitat.

Photo of Chuck D

Thanks for your note Bryant Chu -- To your questions:
Toward ArtWall's next steps, I'm pitching a non-profit learning facility this week for an art classroom pilot program opportunity. With more time, guidance & backing, a pilot program can be a great proving ground and learning experience for the path from here to scale.

From existing Regrind mats & wall panels, we know the material is strong for user interactions like pinning and cutting surfaces. PostIt note adhesive works better with a smooth surface like glass & whiteboard, which can certainly also be present in any studio or art classroom.

If an opportunity for a real-world proving ground installation comes through, would you and/or your team have some interest in keeping in touch through that process?

Photo of Chuck D

Hi again Bryant Chu -- Related to our conversation here, I’m also interested in your insights on my proposal for Ciela Plata, urban rooftop vegetable farming components

Any thoughts to share in a comment there?

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Chuck Dye ,

I’m excited to learn more about your idea to create ArtWall. To understand more about how you might utilize the materials you've selected in your final product, could you please provide a few paragraphs to the question "How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?" Be as specific as possible about how the Nike Grind materials you've selected could be processed to create your final product. What would the steps be? It may be helpful to do some research on how analogous materials are processed and see how these materials may be used/substituted in that process as a starting point. 

Additionally, I did want to ensure you were aware that the goal of this challenge is not to source concepts that Nike would bring to market under their own brand. Rather, the goal of this Challenge is to support innovators in creating their own products and ventures using Nike Grind materials, but independent of Nike, with the potential for partnership.

Looking forward to learning more about your concept!

Photo of Chuck D

Hi Lauren Ito -- Thank for your notes! I made some changes to my material use section and adjusted ArtWall branding throughout. I'd very much appreciate any insights you can share about those updates. Any thoughts?

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Chuck Dye ,

Thanks for making those tweaks! I'm curious, how does one interact with your product? What needs is it fulfilling that are currently not being met? This storyboarding activity may be helpful in that process. Including a link here. Please upload the storyboarding images to your idea so we can understand the product journey!

Excited to learn more!

Photo of Chuck D

Hi Lauren Ito -- Thanks again for your notes and the storyboarding resource. I'll look into your design kit link, and meantime I'm uploading another prototype rendering that addresses your questions.

Photo of Chuck D

Hi Lauren Ito -- I added a few storyboards tonight, and I'm interested in your next insights. Any thoughts?

Photo of Chuck D

Hi Lauren Ito -- I've also added a Business Model Canvas. As always, I'm interested in your insights. Any additional questions or thoughts to share?