Rossana Orlandi is known for being a household name in the worlds of fashion and design. CovetED had the pleasure of catching up with Rossana at her gallery to learn more about a series of initiatives, among them the ‘Ro Plastic Prize’ and the ‘Guiltless Plastic’ project, both raising awareness to sustainability. Design Build Ideas brings you the exclusive interview she gave this magazine.
Since its opening in 2002, Galleria Rossana Orlandi has become a must-see spot in Milan for all design lovers. This area, aside from being one of the top spots to visit in the Italian city, it’s also considered one of the best platforms for avant-garde design. During this edition of Milan Design Week, all eyes were on the gallery thanks to the Ro Plastic Prize and the Guiltless Plastic project.
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What was the most challenging thing about opening your own gallery back in 2002, and how did you overcome it?
Rossana Orlandi – When I opened my gallery, I found a nice space and I thought “What can I do inside?”. It had to be design, I’ve always been a collector of art and design, my collection was in production and I think of design as a way to connect and see the world. So, when I found my place, it was all empty and without furniture and I thought “What should I do?”. So, for 2 years I just thought about it and started buying stupid things. Then, with Sebastian Wrong, I started to have real design pieces. Sebastian Wrong is the designer of the Spun Light, that has been put into production by Flos with enormous success.
And that’s how I started. I began by doing an installation of things, that had an enormous success. It started out with friends, then I went on with a design magazine, then a school… It has been super exciting since the beginning because designers started welcoming me with an enormous passion. That’s why I call my space “the all design”, because every talent is well accepted and welcome to join our family. And that’s my story.
What drove you to switch from the fashion world into the design world?
Rossana Orlandi – I work with a lot of emotion and the fashion world is super exciting, from high fashion to prêt-à-porter, always with new trends. But in the end, I was tired because, at the time, it was too much. The people change, there were problems and I thought it wasn’t my world anymore, I didn’t enjoy it.
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Now about your project, Guiltless Plastic. Where did the inspiration come from?
Rossana Orlandi – I saw a presentation about recycling plastic that made me think. One month after, we started to build this collection with beautiful pieces and thought “Why not translate this emotion, this disaster, into design?”. I think we absolutely have to reuse and think of other ways to deal with plastic.
You created the ‘Ro Plastic Prize’ to inspire the design community and collected over 300 applications from 50 different countries. Were you expecting this kind of positive feedback?
Rossana Orlandi – I wanted to involve the world because this it’s a worldwide problem. So when I did my prize, I was super happy because I launched it in December and the deadline was March, so it was a short period of time. We had 315 proposals from 50 countries. The prize was open for everyone, everybody could join. The focus was to reduce plastic.
Why did I do this? Because plastic is misused and abused. So the prize raises awareness to reduce, reuse and recycle. This is a strong message that everyone needs to follow because we are unaware of how to reuse and reduce, and how to manage plastic.
What is the one change you would like to see implemented in design for a better world?
Rossana Orlandi – For the design world to do conscious design.