From disposable to Zero Waste

Testo di Tiziana D'Amico

Not many decades ago the concept of disposable items spread like wildfire. Only over the years has it been possible to understand the real criticalities of this attitude and, to date, a change of direction is underway.

Relatively a few decades ago, the concept of disposable object spread like wildfire, to the point of becoming prevailing. This same concept, at the time as revolutionary as it was short-sighted, generated the so-called throwaway society and brought with it all the relative criticalities of which only today we understand (perhaps and in part) the real significance.

And that's how that somewhat obsolete predisposition of " I'll keep this, who knows that it won't be useful to me … ”is being rediscovered as topical as ever. In fact, even before facing the essential problem of disposal, it would probably be interesting to tackle that of reuse .

Ready-made of the concept of ready-made

 Duchamp's urinal

That seems to come back to our mind idea that we all know with the Dadaist term of “Ready-Made” and that most of the time we associate with the figure of Marcel Duchamp. The emblem of this concept is precisely Urinoir, its urinal which, from a decidedly uncool object, is transformed - thanks to a “simple” decontextualization operation - into a work of art. If in turn we operate a ready-made process with respect to this concept, then if we decline it to other contexts, we realize how much an object at the end of its first cycle of use can actually be used in another way, undertaking to all intents and purposes a second life . At this point the question of how to dispose of it does not even arise.

Mezzadro (1957), Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni , Zanotta

 The Mezzadro chair by the Castiglioni brothers

In a world already overpopulated by objects, the theme of“ ready to use ”could actually be if not an answer, at least a reflection. And this had already been thought of by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni with some of their projects that appear just like sophisticated ready-made exercises. Think, for example, of the Mezzadro stool that borrows its seat from the components of a tractor.

Toio (1962), Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, Flos

 The Toio collage lamp by the Castiglioni brothers

Or, in the same way , to the Toio lamp which looks just like a collage of rediscovered pieces. The luminous body is a car headlight, the base is a large transformer that acts as a counterweight and the loops of the electrical conductor are the rings of a fishing rod.

On the other hand, what a need is there to produce new things if there are already so many of them and if those that exist can be reinvented? The concept of new does not always have to coincide with that of "just created", but can sometimes be identified with that of "just re-created".

Tour table (1933), Gae Aulenti, Fontana Arte

 The Tour table of the teacher Gae Aulenti

A similar reasoning is also found in the older Tour table designed by Gae Aulenti. The glass top rests on four 360 ° pivoting bicycle wheels, certainly curious to take a tour of the house. And indeed the table moves easily!

111 Navy (2010), Emeco

 The Emeco chair that saves the sea from Coca Cola bottles

Project born from the collaboration between Emeco and Coca Cola to make a contribution solving the problem of PET bottles left in the sea. Each chair, in fact, is produced using 111 waste Coca Cola bottles, thus saving them from water and the issue of disposal, with a view to circularity where nothing is created from scratch. Furthermore, the philosophy of the American brand is to give life to products that last for generations, as different as there is from the concept of disposable.

Favela chair (1991), Fernando and Humberto Campana, Edra

 The Favela chair of the Campana brothers

The concept of object trouvé also recurs very often in the poetics of the Campana brothers. The well-known Favela armchair is emblematic, with no internal structure and entirely composed of pieces of waste wood inspired by the splinters of fruit boxes in Brazilian slums.

Accidental carpet (2008), Tejo Remy

 Accidental Carpet by Tejo Remy

Tejo Remy has also stopped to reflect on how throwaway objects can be reused in practice. The result is a rug made from the composition of old woolen blankets which, at the very end of their life, find a new purpose. Each rug is obviously unique because it is made with the material and colors available at that time.

100 Chairs in 100 Days, Martino Gamper

 100 chairs in 100 days by Martino Gamper

A project by Martino Gamper curated by the Nilufar Gallery in which the theme the reuse of seats or discarded components is intertwined with the reflection on new combinations of author's pieces and anonymous pieces. The mixture of styles is the master of a project that does not limit creativity.

Melting Pot table, Dirk Van Der Kooij

< p class = "p2">  The Melting Pot table by Dirk Van Der Kooij

Another example of a“ collage ”of waste objects, this time in plastic, are the Melting Pot tables by Dirk Van Der Kooij. Vases, furniture, chairs, CDs recovered from the landfill are assembled through a slow melting process until they become solid multicolored tables.

Ecobirdy (2016)

 The circular design of Ecobirdy: toys that are seated < / p>

Circular design for Ecobirdy: plastic recovered from old disused toys takes on new life in a collection of furnishings that always target children. Small tables, chairs and colored and smiling lamps.

< strong> TranSglass (1997), Artecnica

 The reinvention of glass waste from the Transglass collection

Another interesting case designed by Emma Woffenden and Tord Boontje: glass objects - vases, glasses, bottles, candle holders - which in turn arise from glass objects. A new shape is given back to the wine bottles of the restaurants, appropriately dissected and processed by Guatemalan artisans. “Nothing is created and nothing is destroyed: everything is transformed” Lavoisier would have said.

Trashformers (2019), Savvas Laz

 The alien polystyrene objects: Trashformers

The Greek designer Savvas Laz wondered what happened to all the polystyrene that characterizes the packaging of the products - often very bulky - that we buy. And this is how Trashformers was born, a series of chairs, tables, lamps and everyday objects that come to life starting from these scraps, assuming an almost alien appearance. The basic structure is colored with pigments and reinforced with fiberglass in order to guarantee solidity.

Bags and accessories Freitag

 Freitag's conscious bags and accessories

In conclusion, a careful attitude to this issue of reuse is certainly recurring in the operating philosophy of the Freitag brand that creates unique pieces - bags and accessories - with disused truck tarpaulins and fully compostable fabrics. of a brand and its offer.