Design is not just about fancy materials transformed into pieces of higher aesthetics, it is also about the innovations that lead to a bigger change in the society.
One such prominent figure promoting sustainability through her works is design gallerist and curator Rossana Orlandi who presented the entries for the RO Plastic Prize challenge at the Fuorisalone 2019 in Milan. RO Plastic Prize, a challenge born out of Orlandi’s initiative ‘guiltless plastic’, was aimed at uniting the design community in order to motivate the next generation to come up with new and original uses for plastic waste.
This challenge received over 300 applications from across the world. At the Fuorisalone 2019, the designs were showcased according to the four categories they were being awarded in – Design, Home Textiles, Packaging Solutions, and Conscious Innovation Project.
Alexander Schul from Germany won the award in the Design category for creating a Substantial Chair out of plastic trash, while designers Hend Riad and Mariam Hazem of Cairo-based Reform Studio were the winners of Home Textiles category for their invention Plastex - a range of colourful textiles made by upcycling plastic bags.
The award for the Conscious Innovation Project went to Dave Hakkens from Netherlands for his project Precious Plastic, where he made open source video tutorials to boost plastic recycling across the world.
However, the jury led by Orlandi decided not to announce any winner under the Packaging Solutions category as they felt none of the submissions actually met the prerequisites.
All the winners received a prize of €10,000 each.
Orlandi, one of the most influential curators of the world, has a vision that sees growth on a barren land and that is clearly reflected in the set-up of her design gallery in Milan, a former tie factory transformed in 2002.
The same iconic place, Spazio Rossana Orlandi, also played host to MAISON&OBJET x Rising Talent Awards that celebrate emerging designers from different parts of the world. These awards recognise designers who have already launched their careers and are looking for new collaborations with international editors. MAISON&OBJET supports them throughout their careers and offers preferential rates when they join it as exhibitors.
This year’s lucky winners were Anastasia Nysten (Lebanon), Desormeaux/Carette (France), Federica Biasi (Italy), Sebastian Cox (UK), Farg & Blanche (Sweden) and Hongjie Yang (China).
Orlandi also put up an exhibition of recycled plastic products made by various artists, designers and architects like Patricia Urquiola, Formafantasma, Nacho Carbonell, Barnaba Fornasetti, and Piet Hein Eek among others.
The visitors to the exposition found themselves either scouting through the three-storey building or taking a walk in the courtyard that only offered a green sight for the eyes.
The hunger from all the exploring was looked after by ‘Aimo e Nadia BistRo’, a fine dining restaurant located next door. BistRo was opened in 2018 by Orlandi in association with Fabio Pisani and Alessandro Negrini. For anyone who felt at home sitting on the restaurant’s furniture and wished to take that comfort home, Orlandi was the genie to go to as the restaurant also displays and sells works of established and emerging designers.
The furniture menu comprises of pieces like Hayon’s Beetley seating, chairs by Hein Eek, a rug by Kiki Van Eijk, Jacopo Foggini’s methacrylate chandeliers, sizeable brass wall pieces designed by McCollin Bryan, and works of French artist Aurélie Mathigot, who combines photography with embroidery for her designs.
Orlandi does not limit her vision to the fancy furnishings but is striving on the path of sustainable designs as she has curated a space where sustainability and aesthetics meet each other. It is a space for the eyes to see, the mind to think, and the soul to get inspired.