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Design for Soul, a fascinating approach to promoting sustainability

01.2021

Design for Soul springs from a collaboration with renowned Italian chef Massimo Bottura’s Food for Soul initiative, based on a fascinating approach to promoting sustainability.

Social responsibility and sustainability are the two pillars of this collection of tables designed by Piero Lissoni and created to support chef Massimo Bottura’s Food for Soul association in its mission to reduce social vulnerability through a more responsible, equitable use of food.

“At the heart of the project is a very clear idea, the idea that these tables will help cooks like Massimo Bottura to create places where people who can’t afford to eat will, instead, have somewhere to eat” is how Piero Lissoni explains the thinking behind the collection.

"We are recycling material like Massimo recycles food”

Key to both projects are the shared values of responsibility and sustainability. Just as Food for Soul provides sustenance for those in need by taking food ingredients that would otherwise be thrown out, and transforming them into tasty, nourishing meals for the disadvantaged, Design for Soul does something similar by reusing unwanted stone. In the words of Lissoni, “It’s a kind of Paso Doble. We are recycling material like Massimo recycles food”.

Stone is, in some aspects, not so different from food. It is a natural resource that not only is finite, but is often used in a way that leads to an enormous amount of waste in the form of offcuts, that all too often are simply thrown away or left abandoned. And it is these offcuts that were the starting point for Lissoni: “When you cut a mountain, an awful lot of the material cut from that mountain ends up, in one way or another, as reclaimed material. And so, the first step in this project was to reclaim lost material, material that normally is just forgotten about”.

He believes that it is imperative to find ways to combat waste, whether that be food or natural resources, by changing the way we as society think, and actively seeking sustainable solutions, because “once you cut into a mountain, there will never be a second identical mountain. Once you’ve cut, you have a cut mountain and so it is both moral and sacrosanct that we reuse the material and not just throw it away”.

In designing the Design for Soul collection, Lissoni also notes that there is a further benefit that goes beyond the altruistic and enters the aesthetic, especially in today’s world of mass-production. “There will never be a second table exactly the same”.

That combination of uniqueness, aesthetics and sustainability is a positive example of how we can help care for our world through smart design simply by working together and thinking differently.