“I’ve been forced to be very brave in my life, from the difficulties I found the strength that allowed me to self-finance my studies with the goal to social climb and achieve what I dreamt of”
Tobia Zambotti – Tobia Zambotti Atelier founder
We came across your interesting work during the Design Week in Milan with your “couch-19” and we were really impressed from it!
Could you tell us more about this project? What’s the link between the COVID-19 masks and the couch?
Where do people spent most of their time during lockdowns? On their couches, of course. To me both sofas and face masks visually characterize the pandemic era, this is why I decided to create an iconic project capable of representing this. Couch-19 is an iceberg-shaped (iceberg is an icon of the global warming) modular pouf filled with single-use masks collected from the streets of my hometown in the north of Italy. The project’s goal was to highlight the absurd pandemic-related pollution and thanks to the impressive media coverage that the project got I’ve been able to send a strong message to the entire world: even in critical times like the one we’re living in, we don’t have to forget about our natural environment.
I see Couch-19 as a provocative artwork and not as a real couch but unfortunately, many people have made the mistake of judging the project as if it were a piece of furniture. This is why I have also received many critics, especially on social media, which is something that I really love… I mean, you can’t please everyone when you do something very far from your comfort zone.
All your projects are in some way connected with sustainability, why do you think it’s important and what do you think your role is as artist and designer towards sustainable issues?
I believe that there’s no need anymore to explain why being sustainable is fundamental for the future of our planet. I don’t want to steal David Attenborough’s job.
My role as a young creative designer is to find a cool way to spread meanings but unfortunately, my contribution can’t really make the difference: the mainstream part of the creative community which is capable of reaching a wide audience needs to feel this responsibility but sadly most of the big brands that everyone knows do greenwash.
We must become conscious consumers and conscious designers in order to stop this dangerous over-consumption.
Which of your projects do you think represents you the most? Why?
Mother Nature Fan Club is the project that represents me the most because it’s simple, spontaneous, refined yet very bold.
The project faces the topic of climate change with humor, encouraging people to be nature’s fan and giving them the chance to contemplate the lovely view over Borgarnes Bay, a small village on the southwest coast of Iceland.
The temporary art installation has been created using discarded plastic stadium seats, creating a poetic setting dedicated to people who think that sunsets and rainbows are more exciting than any kind of sporting event.
Temporary installations are usually not sustainable at all, there’s a lot of material waste just to please the visitor’s eyes for a couple of days. Mother Nature Fan Club had to be different, otherwise, it would have been a contradiction. This is why it is a zero-waste (and zero cost) project which I’m still dreaming to build permanently somewhere in the world.
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