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Global Innovation Design (MA/MSc)

Arnau Donate Duch

Arnau Donate is a designer and design strategist working in consumer technology, systems, and innovation. Understanding the relevance of working across disciplines, his projects merge design, engineering, and user experience to create digital and physical products that look for functionality and simplicity.

Relevant experience

Co-founder and Chief Design Officer @ Phare Labs (2021-Current)

UX Designer @ SEAT and CUPRA - VW Group (2020) 

Lead Industrial Designer @ Aiklo Technologies (2018-2019)



MA/MSc Global Innovation Design - Royal College of Art and Imperial College London (2020-2022)

B.S. Industrial Design Engineering - ELISAVA Barcelona School of Design and Engineering (2015-2019) 



2022 (upcoming - July 20th) Private View of the Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London

2022 (upcoming - June 1-4th) 41st International Young Designers’ Exhibition (YODEX), Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, Taiwan

2021 'New Contracts Exhibition', London Design Festival (Brompton Design District)

2021 40th International Young Designers’ Exhibition (YODEX), Taiwan (online due to the pandemic)


Winner, 'Design the new extraordinary' by OPPO

Semi-finalist, Terra Carta Design Lab

Semi-finalist, Mayor's Entrepreneur 2022

Show Location: Kensington campus: Darwin Building, Lower ground floor

Portrait picture of Arnau Donate

Where I am in 2022

As creatives, our practice is constantly being redefined and understood under new lenses, brought by exposure to new experiences, collaborations, and uncertain contexts.

My work over the past two years at the RCA has seen a shift of perspective, understanding the product as a medium to trigger an experience, and looking for a systems-level approach to problems, acknowledging the complexity of ecosystems we are part of, and recognizing its uncertainty and unpredictability.

RCA Showcase

In the RCA2022 show I am giving you a sneak peek of four pieces I worked on during my time at the RCA:

Phare Labs aims to rethink the role of the smoke alarm in our lives, Waves Radiography questions the concept of authorship and ownership over nature, Clear Card aims to help asylum seekers evidence their testimony by using collective intelligence, and finally, C-Earth uses images taken with phones to monitor the impact of climate change in the environment.

While the diversity of topics and outputs is palpable, common threads emerge across projects, leveraging collective intelligence and big data, and using Artificial Intelligence to make sense of it.

Phare Labs, media item 1
Prototypes layed out on a table in a grid
Carboard prototype on top of paper sheets with initial ideas sketched
User holding the prototype to the camera

Phare is a smoke alarm that uses indoor air quality (IAQ) sensors to better discriminate between fires and nuisances, and provides you with tailored actionable IAQ insights. It brings together the smoke alarm and the air quality monitor into a single device to bring safe, healthy air to your home.

Today’s smoke alarms are inaccurate and inadequate. They miss 43% of fires, have a 75% false alarm rate, and ignore all other pollutants in the air other than smoke.

The last significant improvement in smoke detection technology dates back to 1973. Current photo-electric sensors look for smoke, but most can’t distinguish it from steam, dust, and other harmful particles. This is particularly concerning as we spend 90% of our day indoors, unknowingly breathing air that is 2 to 5 times dirtier than outdoor air.

Phare complements the current optical smoke sensor data with indoor air quality data, looking at the air composition and using machine learning to understand which is the source of the pollutants in it. This allows us to give you tailored actionable insights on what you can do to boost your health, well-being and productivity while keeping you safe.

Know more on

Mockup of the platform interface
Interface mockups
Mockup of the physical tool printed

Clear Card is a design probe, a case study on decolonizing oppresion by design, with design. It is a toolkit for asylum applicants to improve their perceived credibility in the eyes of the UK Home Office and build their personal testimony.

At the end of 2020, there were upwards of 70,000 people navigating the UK’s asylum system. The UK has constructed an application system that is characterised by its hostility towards each individual. Many applications are rejected on the basis of a ‘lack of credibility’, a metric that relies on subjective case-worker’s perception of an applicant.

We designed two tools to tackle two key moments in the application process. The first is a digital platform that allows them to construct and narrate their individual story, and automatize the third party evidence collection to source data to support their testimony with credible evidence.

The second tool is a storytelling aid to help them navigate the substantive interview, which is where the decision to grant or deny the asylum is made. We designed a low-cost, standarized printable document that the asylum seeker can physically bring to the interview which visually cross-references their testimony and all the evidence collected on a timeline of events.

Clear Card was developed in collaboration with Ahad Mahmood and Aura Murillo.

Display of the artwork in the beach is was produced
Showing the process of submerging the canvas in the sea
work in porgress image of the paintingstill wet

MAREA's experimental techniques challenge the understanding of authorship, and their pieces question the human ownership over nature while vindicating the transience of our existence as a civilization.

"Waves are transient, like our lives. They appear and disappear. Give back what someone throws at them and take away what no one wants them to take. They are as tragic as peaceful. As ephemeral as constant, and as constant as changing."

MAREA is a collective of three artists with cross-disciplinary backgrounds in fine art, design and curation. Their collaborative work is part of the series "Waves Radiography", a portrait of pictographic pieces with marine hues that immortalize a moment that won’t happen ever again. Each of the pieces of this series is unique, and is captured in the northern coastline in Catalonia, in one of the “calas” of the Costa Brava.

Know more on

Cala Salionç I will be auctioned at the private view of the RA Summer Exhibition 2022 (20th July)

Girl taking a picture of a landscape with c-earth visible on the screen
C-Earth, media item 2
Zoom out view of the girl
Zoom in to the phone showing a message saying that C-Earth has been activated

C-Earth is a participatory system that uses images taken by citizens with their phones to monitor, at a local scale, how the environment changes over time.

A single image doesn't tell us much about climate change, but together with thousands of other images taken in the same spot through time, they allow us to create a live picture of how the environment changed and predict how it will change. This enables the scientific community to fill the gaps that traditional scientific methods like satellite imagery have, supplementing their macro with micro data.

C-Earth aims to leverage the intrinsic value in the 1.4 trillion images that are taken each year with phones. The system is embedded in the phone OS's camera. When the user is in a hotspot of scientific interest, the images taken go through an on-device AI filter that assesses the suitability and usefulness of the image, and then are labelled and uploaded to a global open-source database.

To monitor climate change we need to have real-time, first-hand, abundant information, which can only be achieved with a scalable, effortless solution that benefits from the generalized use of smartphones across the globe.

C-Earth was developed in collaboration with Ilayda Kal and Marco Da Re.