Monday, January 10, 2011

Hell’s Kitchen: Interview with Designer Marco Lai

How did the idea come about to turn trash into design?
As a stylist, I've been always experimenting. One day while reparing a puncture on my bicycle, I had the idea to try to use the tire and sew it as if it were a piece of cloth. That became the first sample from the Hell's Kitchen collection of bags and accessories. “Nothing comes from nothing, and everything evolves”. In the same way a caterpiller becomes a butterfly and a lump of coal becomes a diamond, so can rubbish become a real piece of design...

What does Hell’s Kitchen up-cycling process consist of?
HK's collection is entirely put together by re-using recycled materials like inner tubes, car seatbelts, vintage shirts and t-shirts. Tons of innertubes -from trucks, tractors and bicycles -are bought from rubbish tips around Italy. They are then washed at a high temperature with a special ecological soap and the rubber is then thinned, cut up, sewn and polished. Seatbelts are collected from scrapyards and, after being washed, become comfortable handles or shoulder straps for bags. Shirt and t-shirts are bought from importers of vintage clothing: once the collars and sleeves are removed, they provide an original and different way to line the bags.

What can we expect from Hell’s Kitchen in the near future?
HK's mission is to become the main point of reference in fashion and eco-design for those who respect the planet but are, nonetheless, seeking a style that is recognisable and elegant. The 100% chic recycle philosophy goes far beyond the recycling and re-use of an inner tube. We want to become an icon in the world of quality up-cycling and to expand our experimentation with different materials and uses. We will move from fashion to new fields while continuing to focus on innovation and Made-in-Italy design.

Photos & text Copyright Hell’s Kitchen.