sustainable installations from milan design week 2022

in sustainable design

A design event is an invaluable source of inspiration, an occasion to meet and exchange ideas in person…but it can become a huge source of waste as well.

Let’s review some interesting solutions seen during Milan Design Week 2022 – creative ways to build installations that won't generate waste at the end of the event.

reuse

Relying on non-virgin materials to build installations is a first idea. Even better if paired with a plan on how to reuse those materials at the end of the event.

For Milan Design Week 2022, Fiemme Tremila (opened in a new window/tab) built a display area out of its showroom to present a new furniture line. The space was built with spruce wood sourced from trees that fell during Vaia, a huge storm that hit the company’s area of origin in 2018, destroying hectares of forest. At the end of the event, that same wood will be incorporated into the company’s production, becoming the core of Fiemme Tremila flooring boards.

Outdoor display area created with simple wood boards.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Fiemme Tremila (opened in a new window/tab) – Ph: Camilla Tomasetti
Simple wood boards zone an outdoor display area.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Fiemme Tremila (opened in a new window/tab) – Ph: Laura Petrilli

do more with less

Another approach to lower the impact of fairs and events is doing more with less. Two installations from Milan Design Week 2022 took up the challenge, yet without compromising on beauty and visual impact.

Hermès (opened in a new window/tab) created display totems with piles of recycled paper sheets. At the end of the event, that paper will be brought back to the producer and fed into production again in the form of cellulose pulp.

Studio Swine (opened in a new window/tab) created a display for AHEC (opened in a new window/tab) with the same wood crates that were used to ship the furniture to be displayed. Stacked on top of each other, the crates have then been hand-decorated with water-based paint. The painted forest motif added depth to the display while tying with the theme of the installation – celebrating sustainable wood furniture. After the show, those crates will be reused for their main purpose: shipping goods around the world.

Bowls and vessels displyed on piles of paper sheets.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Hermès (opened in a new window/tab)
Stools and baskets displyed on piles of paper sheets.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Hermès (opened in a new window/tab)
Display area created with stacked wood crates.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: AHEC (opened in a new window/tab) by Studio Swine (opened in a new window/tab)
Close-up of the decorated wood crates.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: AHEC (opened in a new window/tab) by Studio Swine (opened in a new window/tab)

give away

Plants and flowers are an increasingly common component of design installations. But what happens to them at the end of the event?

For Mohd (opened in a new window/tab)’s installation at Milan Design Week 2022, Studio Pepe (opened in a new window/tab) came up with a beautiful concept. On the last day of the show, visitors could pick flowers and make themselves a bouquet to bring home. What’s interesting is that this initiative kind of involved people in dismantling the installation, giving them a sense of what it took to put it up. At the same time, it brilliantly introduced the bucolic experience of foraging flowers into the urban experience of the Design Week!

View of the showroom with indoor flowerbeds.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mohd (opened in a new window/tab) by Studio Pepe (opened in a new window/tab)
View of the showroom with indoor flowerbeds.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mohd (opened in a new window/tab) by Studio Pepe (opened in a new window/tab)
Close-up of a person foraging flowers.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mohd (opened in a new window/tab) by Studio Pepe (opened in a new window/tab)

 
These inspiring examples prove that finding more sustainable solutions should never be seen as a limitation nor compromise with existing goals. This is where creativity comes in, weaving a mindful use of resources with beauty while reflecting the overall brief of a project (instagrammability included!)

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