Material Matters - Wie ein neu gedachte Circular Economy uns zukunftsfähig macht
Material Matters - Het alternatief voor onze roofbouwmaatschappij
Material Matters - Developing business for a circular economy

About Thomas


In everything he does, Thomas Rau is being led by what will be needed in the future. This attitude is what he considers to be the only way for us to escape the tragic fate of one day having exhausted all resources that are needed for humanity to survive.

The one-dimensional foundation on which our linear economy was built has benefited us greatly—but it is now threatening to undermine all of its successes. At a time when we are becoming more and more dependent on the resources within the closed system that is our planet, we are also increasingly jeopardising the availability of those resources.   

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We cannot improve the world until we change the soul of our economic system

Thomas Rau


Thomas Rau (1960) is an architect as well as the founder of Turntoo and RAU architects, two of the first organisations in the Netherlands with a focus on the circular economy.

Since 1992, RAU have played a leading role in the fields of environmentally aware construction and healthy indoor climates. The architectural firm has introduced various innovations and developed the first benchmarks with respect to carbon- and energy-neutral construction. Meanwhile, it has developed into the leading authority on energy-positive buildings and circular architecture.

With Turntoo, Thomas has created some of the very first examples of circular economy concepts and business models, among which Light as a Service: a revenue model created in 2010, in collaboration with Philips. Along similar lines, he also developed a model for performance-based renting of washing machines, in collaboration with the Bosch manufacturing company. 

Together with co-author Sabine Oberhuber, Thomas Rau published the book Material Matters, in which they talk about their philosophy in detail, for the first time. The book describes the proposed transition from the current linear economy to a new economic model—one in which consumers become users rather than owners; within which materials are awarded rights and waste will become a thing of the past.

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  • RAU
  • Turntoo
  • Madaster
  • Turnaround Terminal
  • De Universele Verklaring van de Rechten van het Materiaal
  • Bodemwende

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Thomas Rau