Undergraduate students design solutions for Everest’s first sustainable base camp with The NeverRest Project

Elisava students have designed products to improve sustainability in the base camp of the Mount Everest for the environmental engineering and technologic company The NeverRest Project. The sustainable proposals from students of the Degree in Design and the Degree in Industial Design Engineering reimagine a new base campsite model and answer to waste management, disorganization and overexploitation challenges derivative from the huge mass tourism growth. Four of the projects have been presented to the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and it is expected that some of them are tested next year.

Four of the students’ projects rethink, from its root, the Everest Base Camp (EBC), an ephemeral city that hosts about 3,000, to improve its organization and sustainability through design and propose new temporary city models. The projects are included in different categories: from planification and design, waste management, to energetic and hydric resources, or environmental conservation. A bottle to reduce a 42% the 240,000 urine litres that are generated each season or a portable tent with flexible solar panels are some of the eight developed solutions.

According to Javier Peña, Elisava’s General Director, “The projects carried out by Elisava students symbolize perfectly one of the university’s main purposes: the transference of knowledge between the university and the civil society. As a design and engineering school, we have the great responsibility of generation projects that make the world more sustainable and this is a perfect example”.


Four innovative projects that reimagine a new base campsite model Sunmit. Solar tent, by Marina Guzmán

The project Sunmit. Solar tent, driven by Marina Guzman, student of Elisava’s Degree in Design and Degree in Industrial Design Engineering, is a portable camping tent with a flexible solar panel. The panel, adhered on the tent’s exterior surface, oriented to the sun, allows self-sufficiency in the mountain. The system is designed to stand climatic conditions of extreme cold, and it is easy to transport and assemble, so that alpinists can carry the tent with them and reduce the environmental impact. Sunmit has a second function as a storage tent to protect electronic devices and mountain equipment.

Sumit has autonomy for two days, it can lighten eight lightbulbs during six hours and charge 11 mobile phones and two computers. This solution reverses the use of generators and fuel to obtain energy, and avoids their contamination. In the Everest’s Base Camp there is a consumption of 4,392,575 kW/da, equivalent to 450.44 litres of kerosene, approximately, according to The NeverRest Project’s calculations.

Tutorized by: Josep Puig, Roger Paez, and Massimo Menichinelli.

Nourea, by Paula Santacana

Nourea, designed by Paula Santacana, student of Elisava’s Degree in Design and Degree in Industrial Design Engineering, is a portable, individual, and foldable urinal. The project approaches the problem of urine accumulation, a residue that can spread infections and that can contain contaminants due to the medication that alpinists take and that ends up being poured in the Khumbu Glacier, located inside the Sagarmatha National Park. Nourea is a container that filters a 42% of urine components that pollute the floor and rivers. Its use is unisex and it has a filter that allows 240 uses.

During only a day of peak season more than 2,000 litres can be generated in the Base Camp, and 240,000 litres in a season, but it is an overlooked residue due to its liquid state and up until now it was not addressed. Nourea provides a solution to this ‘invisible residue’, it reduces environmental impact, and it also facilitates its use in adverse situations.

Tutorized by: Marta González and Roger Arquer.

MAKURA Weatherproof Shelter System, by Irene Morera

The student of Elisava’s Degree in Design Irene Morera has driven Makura, a system of housing units. This project solves three problems in the Everest Base Camp: disorganization and chaos in the usual housing units, the low temperature conservation in their inhabitant’s mobility, and their independence in the social area.

It consists of a system of modular tents in a geodesic dome shape that are complemented with a corridor unit that interconnects them. As tents are modular and interconnectable, the pieces that conform them become universal and interchangeable, and that promotes sustainability and reduces economic and environmental cost. It also avoids the need of going outside for walks between tents, and that benefits temperature conservation, the main threat at that height. Also, these ‘temporal cohousing’ systems encourage socialization and interaction between individuals.

Tutorized by: Fransesc Pla, Roger Paes, Manuela Valtchanova and Josep Puig.

Kapas, by Adrià Fàbregas

Kapas is a space operation manual for the Everest Base Camp, elaborated by Elisava’s Degree Design student Adrià Fàbregas. Facing the absence of organization by responsible exploitative companies to set up tents and urbanize the territory, Kapas suggests a process to organize the camp in a coherent, fair, resolutive and environmentally responsible way.

The elaboration of the manual implied the development of a mapping of Everest’s Base Camp. From the study of different levels of the camp and the design of its space as a fundamental base of the project, this operation manual offers touristic operators a clear and structured perspective to establish sustainable and efficient base campsites, from an equative ubication of camping tents, to environmental protection measures and security protocols. Kapas also promotes the use of collective spaces and the creation of communities inside the base camp.

Elisava students Arnau Jorge, with the project Waste Reuse; Dídac Pallarés, with the project Everwater; Eva Andrés, with the project Ever Site, and Paula Ferrés Membrado, with the project Ex Situ; have also designed innovative solutions for The NeverRest Project.