The PET Lamp project defends reusability as the counterpart of recycling. Plastic waste is a global issue and many places don’t have adequate resources for the collection and recycling of this waste. In tropical zones, this problem is accentuated since tropical rains wash the PET plastic bottles into the rivers which in turn wash them out to the sea. A recent research published in Science reported that about 1.5% to 4.5% of the world’s total plastic production washed offshore in 2010 alone —enough to cover every foot of coastline on the planet—.

pet lamp project

The PET Lamp Project emerged as the possibility to approach a global epidemic of plastic waste with a local activity such as the basket weaving tradition. Thanks to a strong teamwork effort, the team behind Alvaro Catalan de Ocoón managed to create a very popular product that has been a growing success since its presentation at the Rosanna Orlandi Gallery in 2013.

pet lamp project

Back in 2011, Alvaro Catalan de Ocón took part in a project that focused on the reuse of PET plastic bottles as a way of addressing the plastic waste issue that was happening in the Colombian amazon. As an industrial engineer, his starting point was focusing on the deep contradiction that is hidden behind each PET bottle: a product with a very short lifespan that takes decades to decompose. In order to create a valid solution the objective of the project was to turn PET bottles into a valid object with a long term lifespan. The result was a lamp weaved with local textile traditions that created a new object with a new and improved value.

pet lamp project

The PET Lamp project was initially founded in 2012 through a collaboration with artisans from the Cauca region that had been displaced by the guerrilla war in Colombia. The initial project made use of traditional crafts and materials present in the area.  In 2013 it expanded to Chile and in 2015 it broadened its horizons to a whole new continent adding Ethiopia to the project.

The project has already created three different collections: Eperara-Siapidara (Colombia), Chimbarongo (Chile), Abyssinia (Ethiopia). Each one uses different traditional textile techniques and are constantly working so the project can be pushed even further. The PET Lamp project keeps growing. The next step is looking into a collaboration with Australian aboriginal artisans. In 2016,  the launch of the Japanese collection under the name of Kyoto emerged — a set of lamps made by bamboo artisans from this city—.

The world is already aware of the magnificent PET Lamp Project. In fact, the project has a long list of prizes and nominations form which we would like to point out the following:

-Nomination for the London Design Museum as best product of the year.
-CODESPA for best PYME (SME).
-AD prize for Best Emerging Design Studio.
-Silver DELTA Award 2014 in Barcelona.
-4th Ibero-American Biennial of Design (BID_14) Design for Development Award.
-Nomination for the German Design Award 2015.

The PET Lamp Project has also been a part of other fantastic design exhibitions such as The Fab Mind at 21-21 Design Sight (Tokyo), New Territories at MAD Museum of Arts and Design (New York), Waterweavers at the Bard Graduate Center of New York, Conde Duque Cultural Center in Madrid, Vitra Haus (Bassel), Rossana Orlandi (Milan 2013, 2014 and 2015) and Sala Vinçon (Barcelona) amongst others. It has also become part of the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, the Museu del Disseny (Barcelona) and Centre National des Arts Plastiques (Paris).


Images and Text courtesy of The PET Lamp Project. To learn more, visit their website.

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Founder of Offcyclers + Overall Sustainable Design geek. When Diego isn't scouting for the most incredible Sustainable Design & Art, he is probably trotting the globe, photographing or filming any story he thinks needs to be told.

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