N. 01 / APRIL 2013 / MILAN
DESIGN PROPOSAL: PET Lamp / GREENPEACE: The Trash Vortex / WHY COLOMBIA? Workshop August 2012, Bogotá
EL TIEMPO: En dos semanas van 2. 00 desplazados en el Cauca / DOMUS: AUTONOMY BY DESIGN Charting new territories
of design / THE ARTISANS: Interview to Imelda Pertiaga
2 PET LAMP NEWS ª APRIL 2013
PET Lamp Team:
Alvaro Catalán de Ocón
Enrique Romero de la Llana
Workshop, Bogotá August 2012:
Alvaro Catalán de Ocón
Enrique Romero de la Llana
Printed by: Imcodávila. Edition of 4.000 copies
PRINTED IN 100% RECYCLED PAPER
Proofreader: Carmen Romero de la Llana
Translator: Sam Robinson
Graphic design, art direction and photos: Studio
Alvaro Catalán de Ocón unless stated.
Sponsored by: Assesed by:
PET LAMP NEWS ª APRIL 2013 3
In the Summer of 2011, on a visit to develop the first phase of this project.
The Trash Vortex 4
Colombia, I was invited to form part of an Thanks to the advice of Artesanías de The Issue 5
attractive project focussed on the reuse Colombia and to the patronage of Coca Proposal 6
of plastic bottles PET. Hélène Le Drogou, Cola, in August 2012 we returned to
psychologist and activist concerned with Bogotá, where we created a workshop
the plastic waste that contaminates the of artesans from Cauca who had been Design 6
Colombian Amazon, invited me to give my displaced by guerilla war. How? 7
point of view as an industrial designer on Seen from a distance, for its logical Why Colombia? 8
this problem. complexity, it seemed like an impossible El Tiempo Article 10
As part of a group of creatives involved in task. However, a big part of the magic of Social 11
this project, I could see that the pollution this project has been to see how a puzzle
Making of 12
generated by the plastic bottles that we of seemingly infinite pieces was put
use every day is a problem that affects us together until finally it was presented in Domus Article 18
on a global level. It was because of this the marketplace for the first time at the In situ 20
that I decided to develop a project that Milan F urniture F 2013.
air, Artisans 22
would provide answers, from a design Product 28
viewpoint, to this global issue.
The way we addressed this problem was
to combine it with an ancient artisan
resource: the textile tradition. Thus, my
idea was to convert an object with a
short and specific lifespan into a product
enriched by the cosmogony of the local
culture. Alvaro Catalán de Ocón
Colombia, thanks to its enormous cultural Product designer
wealth, has been the perfect place to Madrid, Abril 2013.
THE TRASH VORTEX.
The trash vortex is an area the size of Texas in the North Pacific in which an
estimated six kilos of plastic for every kilo of natural plankton, along with
other slow degrading garbage, swirls slowly around like a clock, choked with
dead fish, marine mammals, and birds who get snared. Some plastics in the
gyre will not break down in the lifetimes of the grandchildren of the people
who threw them away.
The very thing that makes plastic items useful The “Eastern Garbage Patch” stomach and intestines. It has been estimated and research there has also demonstrated high
to consumers, their durability and stability, The North Pacific sub-tropical gyre covers a that over a million sea-birds and one hundred concentrations of plastic particles present in
also makes them a problem in marine envi- large area of the Pacific in which the water thousand marine mammals and sea turtles the water.
ronments. Around 100 million tonnes of plastic circulates clockwise in a slow spiral. Winds are are killed each year by ingestion of plastics or
are produced each year of which about 10 light. The currents tend to force any floating entanglement. Ocean hitchhikers
percent ends up in the sea. About 20 percent material into the low energy central area of Animals can become entangled in discarded (...)
of this is from ships and platforms, the rest the gyre. There are few islands on which the netting and line. Even tiny jelly-fish like crea- Of course, not all plastic floats. In fact around
from land. floating material can beach. So it stays there in tures become entangled in lengths of plastic 70 percent of discarded plastic sinks to the
(...) the gyre, in astounding quantities estimated at filament, or eat the small plastic particles bottom. In the North Sea, Dutch scientists have
six kilos of plastic for every kilo of naturally floating in the water. counted around 110 pieces of litter for every
A single one litre bottle could break down into occurring plankton. The equivalent of an area square kilometre of the seabed, a staggering
enough small fragments to put one on every the size of Texas swirling slowly around like Chemical sponge 600,000 tonnes in the North Sea alone. These
mile of beach in the entire world. These sma- a clock. This gyre has also been dubbed “the There is a sinister twist to all this as well. plastics can smother the sea bottom and kill
ller particles are joined by the small pellets Asian Trash Trail” the “Trash Vortex” or the The plastics can act as a sort of “chemical the marine life which is found there.
of plastic which are the form in which many “Eastern Garbage Patch”. sponge”. They can concentrate many of the (...)
new plastics are marketed and which can be most damaging of the pollutants found in the
lost at sea by the drum load or even a whole This perhaps wouldn’t be too much of a pro- worlds oceans: the persistent organic pollu-
container load. These modern day “marine blem if the plastic had no ill effects. The larger tants (POPs). So any animal eating these pieces
tumbleweeds” have been thrown into sharp items, however, are consumed by seabirds and of plastic debris will also be taking in highly
focus, not only by the huge quantities removed other animals which mistake them for prey. toxic pollutants.
from beaches by dedicated volunteers, but by Many seabirds and their chicks have been The North Pacific gyre is one of five major
the fact that they have been found to accu- found dead, their stomachs filled with medium ocean gyres and it is possible that this Trash
mulate in sea areas where winds and currents sized plastic items such as bottle tops, lighters Vortex problem is one which is present in Greenpeace, (n.d). The trash vortex. 21st March
are weak. and balloons. A turtle found dead in Hawaii other oceans as well. The Sargasso Sea is a well 2013, http:/
had over a thousand pieces of plastic in its known slow circulation area in the Atlantic, en/campaigns/oceans/pollution/trash-vortex/
PET LAMP NEWS ª APRIL 2013 5
A growing quantity of plastic waste is of plastic waste has produced an
invading every corner of the plannet. immense island in the Pacific ocean,
In many places there aren´t adequate already bigger in size than Spain, which
resources for the collection and recycling today is known as the Seventh Continent¨.
of this waste and in tropical zones Due to the size of this problem no
this problem is accentuated in a very country has taken responsibility for
particular way. The tropical rains wash it and it is only recently that a French
the PET plastic bottles into the rivers expedition has pledged to make a serious
which in turn wash them out to sea. investigation into this phenomenon
Once there, the bottles float on the ocean (more details can be found at www.
currents. This continuous accumulation septimecontinent.com).
6 PET LAMP NEWS ª APRIL 2013
We believe in reuse as the counterpoint to Our objective is to think about the
The starting point regarding how to
recycling. validity of the object over the long term, manipulate the bottles came from analysis
PET bottles have a very short useful and to avoid it becoming obsolete after of the bamboo stirrer from the Japanese
lifespan which seems scandalous when only a few minutes. bamboo tea ceremony since both objects
you consider the effort required to The right manipulation of the bottle had many elements in common: they are
produce them. Nevertheless, they are a would allow its transformation into a both made from a single material and
widely used product justified by their coherent, functional and desireable made in one piece. F urthermore, in form
unquestionable effectiveness, price and product for the market. they have a structural element (the knot
practicality. of the bamboo) and a flat surface that can
be spun. Weaving on this warp, the piece
acquires and maintains its desired form.
Analysing the bottle as an industrial
piece, we can see in it traces of its
maunfacturing process. Therefore, the
lines where the molds meet serve as
horizontal and vertical references for
cutting and spinning.
PET bottles can have a second life. There which to weave. The principle of weaving
are other ways to accomplish this, but we is reinterpreted and the surface of the
looked to fuse one of the most produced bottle is converted into the warp through
industrial objects with one of the which the artisan weaves the weft.
traditional crafts most rooted to the earth. In the same way that the tracking number
The bottles changed from being printed on the bottles neck tells us of its
containers for liquids into being ceiling production, where it was bottled and its
lamps. We took advantage of the bottle destined market, the weaving created by
top to join the electrical components to the artisan tells us of their tradition by
the lamp shade, the neck as the structure way of its fibres, colours and motifs.
and the body of the bottle as a surface on
PET LAMP NEWS ª APRIL 2013 7
HOW? BAMBOO PET BOTTLE
8 PET LAMP NEWS ª APRIL 2013
Colombia is the fourth most extensive total population, owns 27% of the land
country in South America and the only and maintains, up to a point, autonomy
country to posess both a Pacific and a to manage its community affairs, run its
Carribean coast. health systems, have control over its own
Colombia boasts an abundance of nature education and hold jurisdiction over its
and is the second most biodiversified own territory.
country in the world. This natural wealth The topographical conditions of the
is found throughout its numerous Amazon and the Andes, added to the
humid and fluvial areas, Amazon jungle, prolonged political conflict, have created
Carribean savanahs, Andean forrests etc. a specific social phenomenon where
With a population of over 46 million, different cultures and migratory groups
Colombia defines itself as a multiracial have remained isolated, developing
nation, with an ethnic mix of races the particular and exclusive artistic traditions
majority of which coming from Europe, and customs.
mainly Spain and Italy. There is also a This has given Colombia an extraordinary
large population of African origin as variety of cultural expressions that
well as smaller groups descended from explains its enormous musical and
Asia and North America. The indigenous artisanal wealth.
population, which makes up 3.4% of the
In two weeks there has
been 2,500 people displaced
from the Cauca region.
Villagers from Toribio, Corinto,
Miranda y Argelia have abandoned
houses because of F ARC harrassment.
While the eyes of the country are fixed on claim the same attention that is given to those Commission for Human Rights, Todd Holland, that he will not pull out the Police or the Army.
the delicate military situation in the North of in the North of the region. ¨We have begged condemned the F ARC attacks on the villagers ¨There is not the slightest possibility that this
Cauca, the torrent of people being displaced the government to notice us. We are living of Cauca. President of the Republic will order the Public
from this area doesn´t cease. through a very difficult chapter of this conflict He said that he was a witness of the situation Forces out of Cauca¨, said Santos. And he
In the last two weeks, according to sources and we cannot manage to get through it¨, said in the region. ¨Throughout almost all of the continued: ¨They are obliged to protect every
at the Red Cross and the local government of the mayor of Argelia, Elio Gentil Adrada. visit I heard gunshots and explosions¨, said centimeter of our territory.
Cauca, F ARC attacks have forced at least 2,500 (….) Holland. He said that he is disposed to enter into dialo-
people from nine settlements – among them And now, the few that have dared to return to He also confirmed that the coordinator of the gue with the indigenous groups, but negated
Toribío, Corinto, Jambaló, Miranda and Argelia their towns say that at 5PM they leave their Indigenous Guard of Miranda, Camilo Tarqui- any possibility of clearing out of Cauca or any
– to flee their homes. homes in search of refuge for fear of a new nas, was injured in the left leg when he was other zone.
The worrying thing is that, unlike other dis- assault. leaving the zone. Tarquinas is recovering in (….)
placements that occurred in the past, the per- At the weekend, members of the International Cali.
sistence and intensity of the harrassment and Comittee of the Red Cross and of their branch
fighting has prevented people from returning in Colombia arrived with a humanitarian Santos will deliver ¨not one centimeter¨of Cauca
to their houses. In the past they could return convoy to the areas most affected. In the face of insistence from the indigenous Meneses, F (15th July 2012). En dos semanas van
home within two or three days. (….) community of Cauca to pull the F uerza 2. 00 desplazados en el Cauca. 21st March 2012,
One of the most delicate situations is in Argelia, The un condemnation of the guerrillas Pública out of the zone to put an end to the http://www.eltiempo.com/justicia/ ARTICULO-
in the South of Cauca, where the inhabitants The representative in Colombia of the UN High fighting with F ARC, president Santos has said WEB-NEW_NOTA_INTERIOR-12033245.html
PET LAMP NEWS ª APRIL 2013 11
Marta Cesilia Cuchillo with
her son at Artesanías de
Colombia’s patio, Bogotá.
Through the Asociación Artisanías de The Guambianos, despite their
Colombia, an organism dedicated to geographical proximity to the Eperara-
the diffusion and preservation of the Siapidara, are an ethnic group from
traditional crafts of Colombia, we had the a cold zone situated in the Central
opportunity to colaborate with groups of mountain range of the Andes and with
artisans from the Cauca region who had a tradition which they have preserved
been displaced by guerrilla war to Bogota. from before the Incas. In their wool and
From this, the workshop which we cotton weaving they reflect the character
developed together with artisans from of their country and simbolism of their
two distinct ethnic groups throughout the culture.
month of August 2012 was born. In this first phase of the project we
The Eperara-Siapidara are found in the have tried to give these artisans, who
littoral region of Cauca, a hot zone where are found living in Bogota in very poor
the Paja Tetera palm tree is abundantly conditions, uprooted from their land and
found. This is the source of the fibres for their culture, a livelihood thanks to their
their traditional crafts which they die traditional knowledge.
with locally found natural pigments.
18 PET LAMP NEWS ª APRIL 2013
of departure they pursued professional years because his wife, Juana Miranda, who He shifted the focus to the concept of reuse,
paths in different cities, but it came as no is a textile designer, was born there. He is not only of the bottles but also of the textile
surprise even to them to find that they were well aware that one of the country’s biggest techniques practised by local communities.
working on similar projects practically at the problems is refuse disposal and recycling, Both were neglected resources that could be
same time. Their respective schemes were especially of plastic bottles, which, after being reused to produce a new object. The idea took
rooted in arduous territories culturally and used for a few minutes, are often swept by shape by carefully observing the technical
technologically far removed from their own, heavy rains into rivers and from there into and structural characteristics of the bottle: its
yet infinitely more stimulating and future- the sea. This calamity is responsible for vast narrow sturdy neck, its body as an extensive
oriented. An unspoken dialogue between Milan marine “garbage patches”, five of which were workable area, and the transparency of its
and Madrid also brought them, metaphorically discovered on the oceans between the 1960s material. The logical result of that research
speaking, to the same place. The stories of and 1980s, covering an area larger than the was to create a lamp. “My initial inspiration for
their latest two projects differ, but reveal the United States according to radical estimates. the design came after looking at an implement
same attitude to the role of the designer today. Having missed the opportunity to take part for removing the used tea leaves in Japanese
in Isla de Agua, a project run by Hélène Le tea ceremonies, which consisted of nothing
Alvaro has his office in Madrid, but he has Drogou centred on recycling pet bottles, Alvaro but a piece of ‘stripped’ bamboo,” says Alvaro.
been travelling regularly to Colombia in recent decided to develop the theme in his own way. “I thought of transferring this technique to
the bottle, with a weft and warp in plastic
DOMUS 967 - March 2013
and natural fibres. By combining a global
object like the pet bottle and a global craft
like weaving, a fruitful encounter between
design and handicrafts was created.” Tests on
the idea’s potential to be turned into a design
AUTONOMY BY DESIGN product convinced Alvaro to progress to the
development phase in Colombia, a country
Charting new territories of design particularly rich in traditional communities
and techniques. Its Atlantic and Pacific
They say there’s no such thing as coasts display the influence of African and
coincidence—it’s just hard to explain how Asian cultures, while history has added
coincidental things occur. But in the case of those of the colonialists and pre-Columbian
Alvaro Catalán de Ocón and F rancesco F accin, traditions. However, as a field of action, this
it’s all crystal clear. Designers and friends since was too vast. The solution was to explore some
university in Milan, they worked together communities run by Artesanías de Colombia,
on experiments and projects in London an enterprise consisting of native artisans
and Barcelona and were fellow exhibitors who have settled in Bogotá, either because
in Milan at the 2010 Salone Satellite. Their they were ex-guerrilleros or because guerrilla
design outlooks matured on the same fertile warfare had deprived them of their livelihoods
ground, in a mutually dialectical evaluation in the Guambianos mountain communities
of each other’s ideas. After this shared point and those of the Eperara-Siapidara in
PET LAMP NEWS ª APRIL 2013 19
the Cauca Valley. Their participation was outlets in its network. The pet Lamps are not same appreciation of local technologies (...) For Francesco, this is the most intelligent way
enthusiastic because they immediately felt they designed according to the rules of copyright, of going about design today. “Designing really
were truly part of the project, as well as seeing but of copyleft, with great creative and Design served only to simplify. The most makes sense in situations like these, where
it as an opportunity to escape from a tough organisational freedom. What matters is to rid important thing was the process, which proved you’re working with a sensitive client. In Italy,
life. For the women in particular, weaving is a the streets, and hence the oceans, of as many fundamental in a country that does not think and generally in more ‘advanced’ societies,
way of socialising. bottles as possible. “I want this project to leave in terms of design but of immediate survival. design is worn out, except in more scientific
my sphere of control. I like not having to define The approach here is the same as in Colombia, or extreme areas of research, such as Marcin
The fair trade of skills that ensued from the its details, as I usually do,” he tells us. “My where Alvaro started from an idea to create Jakubowski’s open-source ecology projects.
workshop held last August resulted in the pet dream is to come across the lamps hanging in a system that he then left to be continued To change a system that doesn’t work we
Lamps, with local artisans freely interpreting a bar on the beach, frequented by customers locally. The designer’s role in these two cases need to leave it and create new rules.” It was
the idea launched by the designer. Effectively who don’t know the lamps are made of reused is immersed deeper within the project, and these factors that spurred Alvaro’s search for
representing an extension of the locals’ way bottles.” The project has even found a sponsor: the approach adopted is broader than that alternative outlets, along with the difficulty of
of being, the lamps have the same patterns Coca-Cola. of traditional practice. A new definition of finding companies that would let him work on
and colours as their clothes, hats and baskets. authorship is also created as an alternative to projects which he could not have developed on
These craftspeople used the new material The work of Francesco Faccin in Nairobi is the canonical model, while demonstrating that his own. His philosophy to combat a system
in their usual free-and-easy way, as with marked by a reverse situation, but with the there is still much to be designed. that produces too much and badly is to do less
natural fibres, cutting it in the same thickness, but better, by working on small-scale editions
subdividing it into groups of even or uneven that are then perfected on each new occasion:
strips, choosing the design, and twisting the one project per year. Indeed, even a success
yarns in different ways to achieve a shiny or corporation such as Apple operates according
opaque effect. “I realised the project would to a similar choice, working for years to perfect
work when I saw people going round the and renew the same “technological boxes”.
streets looking for bottles of the right colour,
shape and condition for what they had in Both designers here are firmly convinced of
mind,” explains Alvaro. Each object is unique, the potential offered by this new way forward.
in the best artisan tradition, even if it is made For Francesco, the Mathare project immediately
with a systematic process that involves a led onto other projects of the same kind—and
complex production and distribution chain. in Milan, incredibly enough. In order of time,
the first initiative has been a new restaurant
The semi-finished product made by the along the city’s Navigli canals, which will
artisans arrives at Alvaro’s office, where the principally be furnished with items made
light source, electrical wiring and weights to by a prison workshop— which F rancesco
stabilise the diffuser are added. The lamps coordinates on behalf of Liveinslums—as well
can then be sold and distributed in Colombia as with Alvaro’s Colombian lamps, of course.
directly by the native communities or local —Loredana Mascheroni.
bodies, or exported to Europe through the
Catalán de Ocón office which markets them via Courtesy Editoriale Domus S.p.A.
(Rozzano, Milano, Italy)
the Web or directs them to the galleries and All Rights Reserved
PET LAMP NEWS ª APRIL 2013 21
Left: Exhibition Fuera de Serie at Palacio de Cibeles,
Madrid. Curated by Ana Dominguez.
Photography by Eduardo López.
Right: JustMad Design F 2013.
Opposite page: Installation of three 21 lamps’ sets at
22 PET LAMP NEWS ª APRIL 2013
INTERVIEW TO Pregunta: En qué parte de Colombia con el canalete en el rio y mis primeros
Nació? pasos a aprender a tejer y de allí aprender
IMELDA PERTIAGA Imelda Pertiaga: Naci en el resguardo
indígena de Guangui Municipio de
a leer y a contar y conocer los números
con absoluta libertad.
Imelda Pertiaga is one of the artisans who Timbiqui Cauca. P Qué es lo que más disfrutaba de la vida
has participated in the PET Lamp project P Cómo vive la gente en su pueblo en el
: en el Pacífico?
since the first workshop in Bogota in the Cauca? I.P Sin duda comer pescado dormir en la
Summer of 2012. I.P Vive muy libre de todo los perjuicios
: playa bañar en el rio.
A single mother and a proud sociales con absoluta libertad trabajando P Qué es lo que menos le gustaba de la
representative of her cultural traditions, sembrando plátano la yuca atc…. Y los vida en el Pacífico?
she has been living in Bogota for the last niños se divierten mucho jugando en la I.P La poca oportunidad de prepararme a
three years, with the constant motivation playa las mujeres tejiendo canastos para nivel educativo y oportunidades limitadas
of being self sufficient and the offer of el fortalecimiento de la cultura eperara a nivel laboral.
prosperity and security for her son. siapidara P Que quisiera dejarle a su hijo para su
We wanted to get close to her to get to P Cuéntenos algún recuerdo bonito de su
know a little about her past on the Pacific niñez... I.P Sin duda alguna sueño que mi hijo
coast and the intimacy of her dreams for I.P Mi recuerdo mas preciado jugar en la
: entre a una universidad y llegue hacer
the future. canoa o potrillo aprendiendo a manejar profesional pero también sueño con una
casita para poder dar esa estabilidad.
Opposite page: Imelda Pertiaga
28 PET LAMP NEWS ª APRIL 2013
From Madrid, the challenge as industrial
aprox. 25 cm
designers was to transform this half-
finished product, the lamp shade created
by artisans in Colombia, into a product
ready to be sold on the market: the lamp.
Given that each lamp shade is unique we
chose to offer individual lamps as well as
big installations. For this we designed a
rosette which is cilindrical and made out
of mechanised iron and later phosphated,
like a black hole from which all the
different cables fall.
The choice of cable was fundamental to
connect in a natural way the language of
the lamp shade to the cilinder and to the
different electrical components. For this
we decided on a textile cable, specially
made for us, in vivid colours and with the
perfect texture and fall.
Avoiding becoming stylised, we wanted
to keep the protagonism of something as
characteristic of the bottles as the bottle
top and its neck. The transparency of
this last part allows one to make visible
a ring of engraved iron, giving weight,
authenticating the lamp and allowing the
client to know the origin and history of
PET LAMP NEWS ª APRIL 2013 29
size s s M M l l l xl xl
DIAMETER 20 cm 20 cm 22 cm 25 cm 33 cm 36 cm 40 cm 42 cm 53 cm
EPERARA - SIAPIDARA
30 PET LAMP NEWS ª APRIL 2013
SET OF 3 LAMPS SET OF 6 LAMPS SET OF 12 LAMPS
PET LAMP NEWS ª APRIL 2013 31
SET OF 21 LAMPS TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
As every lampshade is unique, the
combination of them with the cables
make the PET Lamp an even more exciting
and personalized light installation.
The standard set of lamps are 3-6-12 and
21 lampshades ready for a ceiling height
of 3 meters. You can personalize the
set to fit your space by contacting us at
firstname.lastname@example.org and choose your own
combination of colors and patterns for the
cable and lampshade.
Size S, M and L fit an E14 lamp holder,
Max. 25W .
Size XL fit an E27 lamp holder, Max. 60W.
220V CE certification.