Eco-design: A New Adventure For Contemporary Art

The environmental problematic, which is daily the subject of the political debate, is nowadays taken into account by enterprises and consumers; the international regulations in force and the rise in prices of petroleum and raw materials awakened public opinion to the idea of eco-compatibility, safeguarding and minimizing the consumption of energy.

Nowadays Italian design, which has always been internationally appreciated, aims at turning the product and his lifecycle sustainability into an enduring value that can give competitiveness back to Italian enterprises meeting a conscious demand.
The main aim of eco-design is to improve the environmental impact of a product throughout its lifecycle, so during the phase of ideation the consumption of energy, the packaging, the use of recycled and reused materials and the final recycling of the product itself have to be considered.

The Design Week which takes place in Milan is a very good stage for young designers and just there, in 2005, Remade in Italy was born: it?s the first Italian project aimed at supporting and promoting the companies that develop environment-friendly products. Remade in Italy works in cooperation with the national recycling enterprises and it?s supported by the technical coordination of Marco Capellini. After being extended to all the Italian regions, the project was successfully exported to Argentina, Brasil, Australia and Portugal and probably, in the future, it will give birth to an international Remade on the World.
The artistic evolution of one of the most famous designers, Phillipe Starck, is a clear indication of the new alliance between design and environment. After repudiating all the creations that made him a symbol of the contemporary mass design, he chose the only possible path: the one to ecology and eco-sustainability.

Interior design is the field that is most influenced by the new trend. Young artists from all over the world create suggestive and beautiful pieces, like the recycled plastic lamps by Heat Nash, a South African designer, the chandeliers by the British artist Stuart Haygarth which are made of plastic and detritus picked up on the beach and the lamps Packaging lights by Anke Weiss, made up of fruit juice and milk packets.

Eco-designers usually choose eco-friendly materials, which can be either reused or recycled: wood, aluminium, paper, glass, leather give birth to innovative and quality furniture and fittings. The famous bookshelves by Marco Capellini are made up of recycled cardboard and aluminium tubes; Polly is a seat composed of recycled corrugated cardboard and it?s produced by Tecnopack; eco-design tables, chairs and doors are made of recycled aluminium and Indesit has already made a prototype of a cardboard refrigerator.
Eco-design aroused such a great interest that in 2002 the MATREC (MATerial RECycling) project was born: a data bank of all the new recycled materials with a web-site for those who work in this field.
But nowadays eco-design directs its attention to natural materials too, like textiles, wax, bamboo and jute. That?s the case of the SUDesign project, due to the cooperation of the University of the Republic of San Marino, the IUAV University of Venice and craftsmen from all over the world. This project promotes a new marriage between modern design and traditional tendencies, combining eco-sustainability and fair trade.

Thus eco-design turns into something fascinating, into design for sustainability, which pursues the idea of a product which can be sustainable not only from the environmental point of view, but also from the economical and social point of view, because it is the result of a fairly paid job respecting the standards of safety and legality.
This is a chance to prove that?s possible to reconcile a new corporate ethical attitude and its competitiveness on the international market. In this way Italian art accepts an ambitious and exemplar challenge at last: turning the virtuousness of the company and the product into a quality that cannot be disregarded, into the enduring value that can give Italy back its excellence level.