Rossana Orlandi and the project inspired by the children
When did you start this sustainability journey, and why did you choose the "competition" model?
It is a path of participation, concreteness and the desire to find solutions.
It's a state of mind of how I think one should approach problems, with a desire to solve them and respect and care for what you are aware of, you might lose.
My grandchildren, my daughter Nicoletta's children, who unwittingly started the project. We were in Sardinia one Sunday morning in a warm February and together we went to the beach.
Giò and Isa started playing, as only children can do, in a carefree way, with what they found on the beach: plastic, lots of it and colourful.
In their spontaneity, they seized the opportunity, the positivity, and by playing, they built an abstract work made of shapes and colours. Beautiful.
The project was born like this: while people were shouting that plastic was the Evil of the world in the true sense of the word, in the media, on social networks, in debates - it was 2017 -I thought it was us who didn't understand its potential with its reuse, recycling, upcycle.
It is impossible to live without plastic today. It isn't sincere to think of an utterly plastic-free world.
Just take a quick look around us. Think about the use of plastic in a hospital facility.
I am convinced, and today after years, even more so than ever, that Plastic is not Guilty. It is its abuse and misuse that makes it so. And who abuses and misuses? We do!
A de facto assumption of responsibility.
With Nicoletta, who has always been by my side, we created RoGUILTLESSPLASTIC, a project conceived by two heads and managed by four hands, which was revolutionary for the theses that were 'in vogue' at the time. We didn't hesitate for a single moment or hesitate facing it right from the start.
And we involved our world, design. It was a natural professional drift.
Maybe it was the passion we put into it, the conviction we shared, but believe us, everyone followed us.
So we structured the idea, creating the RoGUILTLESSPLASTIC,which is in fact dissemination and communication project and communicates ideas to the Design Community so that it can make responsible choices for their products by reusing, recycling and upcycling plastics.
Two major events are part of this, each involving two types of interlocutors for their skills. On the one hand, the masters, the most acclaimed professionals in the design projects, and on the other, the Ro Plastic Prize involves everyone, really everyone. In the form of a competition, it challenges them to develop projects and ideas following the statement of the categories that make up the Prize. Over the years, 15 in all.
Plastics was then the spin-off to upgrade the project, which, although it will remain with the name RoGUILTLESSPLASTIC - with worldwide copyright -is now conceived on all Waste in general. We call it re-Waste, and it is what the industry world calls raw materials for the brevity of communication.
What results did you expect, and what results did you get?
I don't usually like to use resounding terms; for me, "exciting" is already a lot, but they have been "amazing". We have recently completed the evaluation of the new candidate projects, and over the four years, 99 countries have participated in the Ro Plastic Prize.
We certainly didn't expect this!
This success for Nicoletta and me, reinforces our conviction and makes us aware that we have a fundamental responsibility. We cannot afford to do things superficially, to make mistakes. Thousands of people have believed in us. We owe them all our passion and participation. And above all, seriousness.
I would be delighted if RoGUILTLESSPLASTIC would become a legacy in Design, Creativity, Planning.
The results gave me a clear conviction: not so much that our idea was good, but how much people wanted to be part of a solution.
As in all things, the important thing is to 'spread enthusiasm and awareness'.
Participating in projects like this, preparing them and organising them also raises awareness of the topic, carries out research and encourages action, not only by private individuals.
Nicoletta and I, and please write this down, are grateful to all the companies that have concretely supported the grounding of each edition during the various Milano Design Weeks over the years. The participation was a supply of adrenaline, resulting in shared satisfaction.
We have involved young people from universities in the Prize; world-famous architects and designers have made their studios available to design innovative pieces for houses, all made from re-waste material, and it is important for us to make people understand that this is not something so obvious and obvious
Everything is design, planning, and the material used implies and predominantly modifies the stylistic, architectural and production choices.
They, too, caught up in the passionate circle of the project, had to study and research. This made them aware on the one hand and innovative on the other. We are very proud of this: to have created a plastic manifesto.
What is the relationship between your activity as a talent scout and plastics?
Starting from the assumption that I adore my Designers, and it makes my heart soft to hear them call me "MOM", two names I want to bring to the icon to display the question.
Arsenio Rodriguez, a true dreamer artist with a pure and childlike soul, - a gift that arrived in the Rossana Orlandi Gallery at the first edition of RoGUILTLESSPLASTIC.
In Spain, in Cadiz, where he lives, he used to steal plastic from the recycling bins with a hook to have material to work with.
He presented a work, the Pescador de Botellas, which is unbelievable. He has created an underwater world of incredible shapes and beautiful colours with detergent bottles, plastic bottles, and shampoo containers—a dream for us and especially for him. (See cover photo)
Last year Elle Decor USA used the photo of that work to open its Earth column, signed by editor Asad Skyrett, and where RoGUILTLESSPLASTIC is invited to exhibit this work because it is a work it is clamoured for. And Arsenio travels from Spain to make it himself with his own hands, adapting it to the exhibition venue.
Alessandro Ciffo, Italian, the magician of silicone. A designer who can do anything he wants with this material. Giant armchairs, monumental amphorae.
I asked him: "make me a work with recycled silicone , and he entered the Gallery".
Alessandro involved a company that researched the recycling of silicone for him. They came up with tables, chairs, curtains, covering material and even glasses that look like the Murano glass of Venice. These glasses were used by Princess Mary of Denmark last year at the Ro Dinner.
This is to say: never stop in front of a problem. Design can save the world both ethically and aesthetically.
What advice or indications do you have for designers, architects and those working in design. And what keywords would you like to launch from this forum for architects?
Working with the heart, and working with passion. Two allies that move mountains.
Planning means thinking, analysing, checking, loving, passionate and caring.
Thinking about their projects "not as now and now" but as tomorrow and always.To dare, to look beyond, not to be afraid.
I would mention her among the greats out of biological belonging and affection for those who are no longer with us: Zaha Hadid. She did what she liked with enthusiasm, making others love her work.
Works that, whether design or architecture, are imbued with his signature: you look at them and, even if you are not a professional in the field, you perceive the author.
Always leave something that is our mark, without prevaricating, but to share it. Like the heart when you love. Please don't put yourself above others, looking down on them, but put yourself in front of others, to be guide, to show a way, looking around 360 degrees.
Apart from research, does your activity have an educational purpose?
In this, I am very 'ancient': I refer to Ancient Greece and its Masters, not so much because I am, but because they inspire me.
Just as everything is designed, everything is Education. Every gesture we make, for better or worse, gives rise to Education. Education is not about forcing things to be done but about making life better for everyone.
Each edition of the RoGUILTLESSPLASTIC has an educational purpose with its vital thought and payoff that, year after year, have marked the path and traced the evolution of the Project, both through the master exhibition and the Ro Plastic Prize.
Each word gave us the impetus to understand better, disseminate, to educate:
2019 SUSTAINABILITY, the ability to make design sustainably and therefore a spur to the study, in-depth study of materials and their applications.
2020 RESPONSIBILITY, the ability to design in such a way as to take responsibility for what projects are presented, conceived, choosing to be as sustainable as possible, respectful and considerate of the needs of the Planet.
2021 EMOTIONABILITY, the ability to make design excite, gives rise to a global involvement that touches people's hearts and makes them make well-considered choices designed to support sustainability more and more.
2022 RECIPROCIBILITY, the ability to design to set an example, to be an example. A gesture that implies an assumption of responsibility. Being looked at puts us in the attitude of giving the best of ourselves.
Can you give us some previews for the Milano Design Week via Matteo Bandello in Milan?
First of all the dates from 6 to 12 June.
Every year it stages a real showcase with events, artists, designers, guests, talks. It's exciting, thrilling, involving. Energetic.
As the area around the Galleria is increasingly being called, the Ro District will have two locations.
The Gallery, from 14 to 16, with the RoCOLLECTIBLE with the works of designers and artists arriving from all over the world. They present themselves, self-promote themselves, seek them out.
Social networks help me a lot: there is finally a very quick, direct, immediate contact.
We have been calling it COLLECTIBLE for a few years now because more and more of them are collectable pieces, like rare, unique pieces. Handmade pieces
This year with a close coexistence of High Craftsmanship and Design. A piece of design often needs the hands of its creator or rather is born from them.
Customers, collectors, design lovers are looking for iconic yet unique pieces. I am lucky that my designers often dedicate special editions exclusively to me.
At Palazzo Bandello, a late 19th-century building undergoing a total renovation, but with its architectural style intact, not far from the Gallery. At the building site, because this is still the state of the Place, the exhibition of the Finalists of the Ro Plastic Prize 2022 and, then, the exciting announcement of the three winners, one for each category, to whom - we would like to remind you - a prize of 10,000 euros each goes.
And then there are two titbits which, for reasons of superstition, I do not wish to reveal yet, but which I am sure will touch the hearts of many and, one in particular, of the Milanese, citizens of a city that has given so much to so many and now has the full right to receive.