In the summer of 2011, on a visit to Colombia, Álvaro Catalán de Ocón was invited to be part of a very attractive project focused on the reuse of PET bottles. Hélène Le Drogou, a psychologist and activist concerned about the plastic waste polluting the Colombian Amazon, invited him to give his point of view as an industrial designer on this problem. As part of a group of creatives participating in this project, she realized that the pollution generated by the plastic bottles we use every day is a problem that affects us globally.
Therefore, he decided to start a project that would respond, from a design point of view, to this global problem. The way to approach it was to combine it with an ancient artisan resource: the textile tradition. That’s where PET Lamp started.
Therefore, the idea was to turn an object with a short and specific life expectancy into a product enriched with the cosmogony of the local culture. Colombia, thanks to its enormous cultural wealth, has been the perfect place to develop the first phase of this project. Thanks to the advice of Artesanías de Colombia and the sponsorship of Coca Cola, in August 2012 they created a workshop for artisans from Cauca who had been displaced by the guerrilla war. Seen from a distance, because of its logical complexity, it seemed like an impossible task. However, a big part of the magic of this project has been to see how a puzzle of seemingly infinite pieces was put together until it was finally presented on the market for the first time at the 2013 Milan Furniture Fair.
A cylindrical ornament was designed, made of iron and later machined, like a black hole from which the different cables fall. The choice of cable is essential to naturally connect the tongue of the lampshade with the cylinder and for the different electrical components. For this, a textile cable, made especially for them, in bright colors.
They wanted to maintain the prominence of something as characteristic of plastic bottles as the lid and the neck. The transparency of this last part allows an engraved iron ring to be made visible, giving the weight, the identification of the lamp and allowing the customer to know the origin and history of each lamp.
The project extends to more Latin American countries and has even reached the African continent.