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SUBSTANCE – Italian Green Design Innovation Exhibition

The Embassy of Italy in Singapore is proud to announce SUBSTANCE – Italian Green Design Innovation exhibition, realized in collaboration with the Italian Trade Agency and the support of Design Singapore Council, Faci Asia Pacific and the Italian Women Group, as part of the Community program displayed during the upcoming Singapore Design Week 2022.

The initiative, curated by Giulia Poli, will be hosted at the National Design Center from 16 – 25 September 2022 and will show innovative solutions in the field of green design. The exhibition will investigate emerging technologies and materials to create new design objects, reducing impact on the natural environment with projects by the award-winning design duo Studio Formafantasma, young contemporary designers such as Carolina Georgiani and Eleonora Rombolà and cutting-edge startups such as Mixcycling, Verabuccia, Mogu, and Nazena.

The title refers to the materiality of products, but also has the double meaning of the importance, seriousness of a matter.

The exhibition set up created by the architect Raffaele Rogaia will bring the visitor along thematic sections (From waste to art, Social sustainability, Reimagining the fashion industry, Design inspired by nature, Rethinking the design of everyday products, and E-Waste) presenting fruitful solutions and exploring new families of materials developed from discarded waste, or entirely bio-based and biodegradable which will affect the design of the future.

Specifically, designers investigate materials made from scrapes of certain industries turning waste that would have been discarded into brand new objects, showing that the development of new processing technologies can lead design towards a circular economy. An example of this is Nazena, an innovative start-up that turns industrial textile waste and worn-out clothes into new products (the fast fashion world is one of the most polluting industries with an average of 10% of global CO2 emissions). Ohoskin and Vérabuccia® start from the recovery of the agri-food waste like pineapples peel or bio-based material made of Sicilian oranges and cacti derived from the cosmetic and food industry to create innovative organic materials, bringing innovation and sustainability into the fashion industry. Also Coffeefrom®, Manuela Bucci and Mixclycing use scrapes to reduce waste, without increasing the demand for new resources to be extracted from the Earth, limiting in this way the impact for the environment.

The use of circular economy is found in other projects as a way to enhance sustainable products, generating growth, minimizing the energy input with an important social goal: not only preserve the environment but also improve the life quality of local communities. This is the Kajkāo commitment.

In addition, as environmental awareness rises, more artists and designers consider the broader impacts of their work. Creating art from waste can also inspire humans while preserving environmental well-being. This concept is showed in the works of Carolina Georgiani.

Ambassador of Italy, Mario Andrea Vattani: “Nature has indeed a central role in this exhibition, considering that it is perceived as the oldest teacher in the world. Throughout our planet’s history, it has organically engineered solutions to solve issues that threatened its survival. Italian cutting-edge companies and designers are bringing Nature closer to people, meeting the needs of everyday life, both functionally and aesthetically. In this way, design and science come together to create innovative products.”

Some of these products will be showcased in the exhibition, such as the ones realized by Mogu and Eleonora Rombolà completely derived from algae and the mycelium of fungi.

An ample part of the exhibition is dedicated to the acclaimed design duo Studio Formafantasma (Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin) that will present “Ore Streams”. Grappling with the issue of e-waste recycling, Ore Streams strives to identify ways in which design can be deployed to correct the flaws in the current waste-stream system. The project developed over the course of three years (2017-2019) and commissioned by NGV Australia and Triennale Milano. The showcase will include the video installation Ore Streams, a visual essay that aims to offer global strategies for the design of products that lend themselves to more efficient repair and recycling. The exhibition will also include the video “Planned Obsolescence” collecting historical and contemporary examples of planned obsolescence in electric and electronic objects at the center of class-action lawsuits. A series of interviews, conducted by Formafantasma with practitioners in the recycling sector, including European e-waste recyclers, academic researchers, electronics producers, NGOs working in developing countries, and members of Interpol will also give the opportunity to an in-depth examination of the theme.

To implement active participation, the public is invited to bring their own e-waste to the exhibition site where there will be an e-waste collection station in collaboration with Singapore E-Waste Collection & Recycling Program by ALBA Group.

As part of the exhibition, a free seminar Design responsibility for the Future, will take place on September 23rd at 5 pm at the National Design Centre Auditorium (for attending please register on After the welcome addresses of the Ambassador of Italy Mario Andrea Vattani, the Director of ADI – Italian Industrial Design Association Museum (Compasso d’oro award) Andrea Cancellato and Managing director of the Design Council Dawn Lim, some Italian and Singaporean scholars and designers will discuss on the new materials impact and sustainable processes for design future.

From Italy Alex Terzariol General Manager MM Design and Delegate for International Activities of ADI (Italian Industrial Design Association), Rita Bonucchi Co-Founder in charge for the foreign development of Coffeefrom® and CEO of Bonucchi e associati, Luca Franzetti Co-Founder of Lako (Kajkāo project), from Singapore Droston Tang Director of Nextevo, Jarrod Lim Designer at Jarrod Lim Design Studio and Jason Tang Director of EWTCOI Ngee Polytechnic. The seminar will be moderated by Laura Miotto Associate Professor, NTU ADM (exhibition architecture).