AP PHOTOS: Designers turn plastic trash into treasures

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AP PHOTOS: Designers turn plastic trash into treasures
In this picture taken on Friday, April 12, 2019, German designer Alexander Schul poses with his creation, 'Sobstantial Chair', made from sheets of recycled plastic, high impact polystyrene, and used yoghurt containers, at the Rossana Orlandi gallery in Milan, Italy. Schul won the 'Design' category of the "Plasic Prize" design competition organized by the Rossana Orlandi gallery. Scientists and environmental activists have been long raised the alarm on plastic pollution. Now, the high-end design world is getting in on the growing global effort to tackle plastic pollution -- by upcycling discarded objects into desirable one-off design pieces. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

MILAN (AP) — Scientists and environmentalists have long warned about the dangers of plastic pollution, especially now that plastic trash of all types is choking the world’s rivers and oceans. High-end designers have responded by “upcycling” discarded objects into unique, desirable design pieces.

One Milan art expert has launched an initiative dubbed Guiltless Plastic on the sidelines of Milan’s premier Furniture Fair design showcase, commissioning one-of-a-kind pieces made by top designers from discarded plastic and hoping to inspire a wider movement.

Gallerist Rossana Orlandi has curated an exhibition titled “RO Plastic — Master’s Pieces” of original objects crafted from plastic trash by such luminaries as Australian designer Brodie Neill, Italian Piero Lissoni and Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek.

The goal is to bring attention to the potential to transform and repurpose recycled plastic, some reclaimed directly from the sea.

Patricia Urquiola, a Spanish designer based in Milan, made a “Wasting Time Daybed,” from upcycled plastic. The base of the daybed is created from an agglomerate of colorful recycled PET plastic. Its body, backrest and arms are made from recycled drinking bottles and the piece is covered with blue and gray post-consumer textiles.

Urquiola said she wants to help upcycling grow into a sustainable system “in a playful but also provoking way.”

“There is no such thing as waste, because time only knows reinvention,” she said.