Design Plus: Guiltless Plastic

Revolutionary Italian designs cross the Alps to go on show in Paris.

par Mark Tungate , Adforum

Every Parisian knows the BHV Marais department store, although perhaps not all of them are aware that its initials stand for the Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville – “the market next to city hall”, roughly translated.

In fact it’s not a market, but a centre of style and fashion. And this September it’s devoting an entire month to Italian design. The event’s ambassador is the designer Rossana Orlandi, below, founder of galleries in Milan and Sardinia.

Photo: Giovanni Gastel

An exhibition space called “The World of Ro” on the store’s fifth floor introduces us to her universe (including a pair of her signature big white sunglasses) via her own creations and those of the designers she admires. 

More importantly, it highlights her “Guiltless Plastic” project, which aims to make the use of recycled plastic a priority among the design community. Alongside the giant Wilhelm lamp by Tidziano Vudafieri is Patricia Urquiola’s sneaker-shaped “Wasting Time” day bed. 

Meanwhile, Brodie Neill created tables of recycled plastic specifically for the event, as well as an hour glass that uses fragments of plastic recovered from the sea instead of sand. A grim suggestion that when it comes to cleaning our oceans, we’re already out of time.

Back in April, while praising the winners of the Ro Plastic prize for recycled products in Milan, Orlandi explained: “I hope to succeed with this project in further stimulating the sensitivity of individuals to such a serious topic, spurring them to change their lifestyle: avoiding the abuse of plastic and its incorrect disposal before it contaminates both sea and land." 

Some of the winning designs are not only on show at the store, but for sale, enabling consumers to invest in a collectors’ item. Guilt-free, of course. 

Design Italia runs until September 29 at Le BHV Marais, 52 rue de Rivoli, Paris.