Salone in focus 2: Erez Nevi Pana
Words Mark Hooper
Photographs Sam Walton
With sustainability and waste an emerging trend at Salone del Mobile, we look at the remarkable work of the Eindhoven-based designer-researcher.
A self-styled ‘explorer who uses design… to investigate phenomena through material experimentation’, Erez Nevi Pana is well versed in the development of materials and investigating their alternate usage – developing an organic mixture of soil and fungi which is part of the permanent collection of the Design Museum Holon.
For Salone, the Israeli-born designer has presented Vegan Design – Or the Art of Reduction (curated by Maria Cristina Didero). This is his attempt to address whether it is possible to conceive design without using any material derived from animals.
Showing at the industrial Spazio Sanremo on Via Zecca Vecchia, the show consists of five ‘mountains’ (reminiscent of the infamous butter and sugar mountains that once symbolised the waste associated with trade subsidies). Each mountain represents a different substance in which vegan design can be introduced, from textiles and clay to soil, salt and ‘trash’.
A dramatic installation in itself, these mountains make a serious point and suggest an alternative approach to design beyond mer theory: for instance, nestled in the set mountain are stools created from discarded wood coated in the sodium-heavy water of Dead Sea, which crystallises around the product. Similarly, he combines soil and fungi with other natural materials to create a chemical reaction that makes the ingredients ‘rise’ like dough.
The result points to a viable way forward for sustainable design that doesn’t deplete our natural resources – as well as presenting an ethical approach to animal welfare.