Design – Italian designer Tobia Zambotti has collected, thoroughly disinfected with ozone and safely stored few cubic meters of icy coloured face masks found on his hometown’s streets in Italy. The single-use face-covering devices became an unusual stuffing for the modular pouf COUCH-19. Available in two sizes, the sofa “recalls the aesthetics of an iceberg: one of the most iconic symbols of global warming,” says the designer to Archipanic.
Indeed, the 10,000 face coverings used to create COUCH-19 are just the tip of an iceberg, if compared with the 129 billion ones that have been thrown away globally every month since the start of the pandemic.
Mandatory in public spaces almost everywhere across the globe, face masks 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 contributing 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. “With COUCH-19, I want 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”.
Italian designer Tobia Zambotti works with an international group of young and talented collaborators, including artisans, cabinet makers, engineers, architects and photographers. 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.
In 2019 he left the chaotic and polluted Chinese city for an opposite lifestyle in Reykjavik. Here he founded Atelier Tobia Zambotti, a multidisciplinary design studio focusing on avant-garde interiors and sustainable products.
- All photos by Raffaele Merler, courtesy of Tobia Zambotti.