By Nina Azzarello
is it possible for a design to be realized without the use of material derived from animals? the exhibition ‘vegan design – or the art of reduction’ curated by maria cristina didero during milan design week 2018 surveys the work of isreali creative erez nevi pana, whose ideas are realized in compliance with the rules of this specific ethical position. a vegan himself, nevi pana adapts his deep respect towards life to a design methodology, refusing to use any kind of product containing animal traces, like wool, leather, rubber gloves, paint, plastics, resin, or industrial glues.
presented at spazio sanremo and produced by 5vie art+design, the exhibition highlights the different techniques that erez nevi pana uses to create life-friendly, elegant, and beautiful objects. to assemble his furniture pieces, the designer uses plant-based substances and minerals — many of which come directly from his native country. ‘we could say that erez nevi pana’s works are produced within some sort of a diet,’ says curator maria cristina didero, ‘by carrying on an ethical subtraction – or reduction – deeply rooted in cleverness and research.’
perhaps his most emblematic work is the salt project, which utilizes the natural properties of the dead sea. as the highly salty water prevents any kind of living-being from surviving, it is considered by nevi pana to be the ‘most vegan place on earth’. the designer constructs stools from recycled wood, which are finished with a vegan glue. the object is immersed in water and fixed to the bottom of the sea where salt begins to crystallize on its surface. this dramatic technique gives a new shape and thickness to the stool with a layer of natural salt forming a unique new skin.
another collection began after nevi pana made a journey to india where he found that the word ‘recycling’ had very arcane meaning. inspired by the makeshift baskets he saw used by local people, the designer created a series of woven containers, polished with a special varnish derived from ground cashew shells — a dark and shiny surface able to catch the eyes and stimulate touch. as with his other designs, nevi pana paid special attention to the objects’ beauty, color, and texture.
lot’s wife, a series of vegan-clay objects, is also presented, as well as a collection of silk garments that are made without harming the creature. in creating the clothes, the designer awaits for the butterfly to exit the cocoon by itself and, only then, collects the silk deposited in it. ‘vegan design – or the art of reduction by erez nevi pana’ is on view from april 17-22, at milan’s spazio sanremo.