Tobia Zambotti (Italy-1990) is a Reykjavík-based designer working in the intersection of interior design, product design, and conceptual art.
After his B.A. in Architecture at IUAV (Venice) and M.A in Interior Design at Politecnico di Milano (Milan), Tobia moved to Shanghai to work with Alberto Caiola Studio, an award winning firm specialized in interiors.
At the beginning of 2019 Tobia decided to leave the chaotic and polluted Chinese city for an opposite lifestyle in Reykjavík (Iceland) where he started to work as a freelance designer.
An iceberg-shaped modular pouf made with single-use masks collected from the streets.
To help prevent the spread of coronavirus face coverings are mandatory in public spaces almost everywhere in the world. Most face masks available for sale are made from layers of plastics and are designed specifically to be single-use. Being medical waste these can't be recycled through conventional recycling facilities thus most of the time they end up being incinerated and leading to toxic fumes that contribute to climate change. In other cases they don’t get disposed of properly and they stay around polluting our streets.
Italy, one of the European countries hit hardest by COVID-19, faces a big problem due to this kind of pollution. The project "COUCH-19" wants to highlight this environmental issue in a creative way involving locals and asking them to pick up disposable masks from the streets or storing the ones they use daily.
Few cubic meters of light coloured masks were collected, thoroughly disinfected with ozone and safely stored before becoming an unusual stuffing for a recyclable crystal PVC modular pouf. The pouf has been shaped irregularly so that together with the "icy" colours of most of the disposable masks, it recalls the aesthetics of an iceberg: one of the most iconic symbols of global warming.
Pictures by Raffaele Merler (@raffaelemerler)
Materials: Discarded disposable masks | Recyclable crystal PVC | Old couches foam
The puffer jacket filled with single-use masks collected from the streets that highlights the absurd pandemic-related pollution.
*handcrafted by Aleksi Saastamoinen
To keep the momentum of the message of COUCH-19 going while also show a tangible example of what could be done with the (toxic) waste, I decided to partner up with Aleksi Saastamoinen - a Finnish fashion designer/photography artist based in Helsinki, and challenged him to come up with an impactful design that would further emphasize the extent of the environmental problem caused by the single-use masks pollution. Turning the infamous emblem of the pandemic into a striking fashion/environmental statement.
Another 1.500 light-blue masks have been collected around the streets of Reykjavík, thoroughly disinfected with ozone gas then shipped to Helsinki where Aleksi began crafting the puffer jacket, giving it an opulent and forward-looking shape in order to sensitize people to the pandemic-related pollution and highlight its magnitude. The deliberately oversized and exaggerated silhouette allowed for a large number of facemasks to be repurposed as an unusual stuffing for the coat. The semi-transparent material was chosen to let the distinctive "pandemic blue" filling show through, yet frosted to make it look like it had already been worn by the elements. Meant as a beacon leading towards creative solutions for this environmental issue, aftermath of this worldwide pandemic.
Pictures: Luca Ranghetti (@lucaranghettifotografo), Patrik Ontkovic (@ontkvc)
Models: Lorenzo Sabbatani (@tratarana), DigitalSigga (@digitalsigga)
Coat-19 materials: Discarded disposable masks | Recycled transparent laminate fabric | Organic cotton wool filling