100 Minds

Aus der ganzen Welt

Thomas Rau


Amsterdam, Netherlands

I am proposing performance-based consumption. And an economy based on values not markets, driven by innovation but respecting the environment.

Conusing (from consuming to conusing)

At present there is much talk about a looming energy crisis. I don’t believe in this alleged crisis, because we have renewable energy in abundance.

But I do believe that we will be facing a shortage of raw materials. At least if we don’t transform our current linear economy into a circular one. And it’s easier to do than you think.

Here is my dream:

I envision a future without ownership, in a society where consumption is in tune with nature and products are used to fulfill a fundamental need and don’t merely serve the material exhibitionism of individuals.

Manufacturers will remain the owners of their products and the raw materials used to produce them. Consumers will only pay for the performance or the service of the product, not for the raw materials: furniture as service, light as service, image & sound as service, home laundry as service, healthy indoor climate as service, etc.

Everyone would win in such a situation: consumers, manufacturers and the environment. Consumers would get more innovative products at a lower price. Manufacturers would always be ensured of the raw materials for the next generation of their products. And the environment would be spared further exploitation.

The idea of a circular economy isn’t new. But what I propose goes beyond the current concepts for the circular economy. At the basis of my proposal lies a reversal of our current concept of ownership. I am proposing performance-based consumption. And an economy based on values not markets, driven by innovation but respecting the environment.

Thomas Rau Bio:

Thomas Rau studied fine arts and dance at the Alanus University of Arts in Bonn (DE) and architecture at RWTH Aachen University (DE). He has been working as an architect in Amsterdam (NL) since 1990. He established RAU architects in 1992, the oneplanetarchitecture institute think tank in 2008 and ®turntoo in 2011. He is ranked among the Top 30 Dutch key players in sustainability, a ranking published by national daily Trouw.

Social and environmental commitment, regard for the cultural context and mutual respect are at the heart of Thomas Rau’s approach to work. For this reason, he closely involves clients in the design of their projects.

Thomas Rau regards "state of the art" to be merely the starting point for his work. The WWF Netherlands head office in Zeist (NL, 2006) is CO2 neutral and self-sustaining, while the Woopa office Lyon (FR, 2011) and the Christian Huygens College in Eindhoven (NL, 2011) both produce a surplus of energy. He also initiated the development of the world’s first energy-generating revolving door.

In response to the increasing scarcity of raw materials, and inspired by Cradle to Cradle, Thomas Rau founded ®turntoo, a company which, by means of a new business model, acts as a driver for the circular economy.