28 Jun 2019

MEDIUM – Fishing nets become an urban boardwalk, that becomes next year’s couture: a sustainability adventure taking place in Chicago.

This is the story of a long adventure into sustainability and circular design that was fueled by NeoCon. From the NeoConversations podcast discussing the sustainable responsibility of designers and architects, to beautiful flooring in the first installation of the NeoCon Plaza, to a series of cyclical design and fashion products — we saw the impact of the ECONYL® all around us at the 51st edition of NeoCon. Join us and let us know what sustainability means to you.

This year at the annual NeoCon tradeshow in Chicago, we invited people to the ECONYL® showroom over a real Italian espresso to talk about sustainability and sustainable design. We even dedicated a white wall to populate with post-it’s where visitors could express what sustainability meant to them. Sustainability can be a pretty scary topic, so we tried to make it fun and expressive. It was inspiring, and many contributed to our wall. But this was just one piece of a long adventure.

What is SUSTAINABILITY to you? Post-it at the Aquafil/ECONYL® showroom at NeoCon, Chicago 2019.

ECONYL® kicked off NeoCon a couple of weeks before the tradeshow actually began. In the fourth episode of NeoConversations, Giulio Bonazzi, CEO & President of Aquafil, sat down with designer David Oakey to discuss the role designers and architects play in sustainability and the circular economy.

We believe part of the sustainable revolution is also in the way we create and design spaces and how we mix the outside with the inside to improve our lives through design. So, this year we partnered with NeoCon for the first edition of the NeoCon Plaza with the intention to use diverse spaces to inspire tradeshow attendees. This was an “Urban Boardwalk” outside the Mart in Chicago that was designed by Gensler studio and brought to life by Forward Fruit Branded Environments. Four tents had beautiful broadloom carpets made with ECONYL® and designed by Charlotte Croy Hudson. The patio area was decorated with a stunning mix of tiles by Interface also made with ECONYL® yarn. This space was meant to connect, work, unwind, recharge and enjoy the outdoors throughout each day and evening and it sure served its purpose.

Working with the designers behind the project and seeing the whole space coming to life in front of our eyes was very inspiring. Then actually watching the NeoCon attendees enjoy and utilize the space was an example of the power design has to shape spaces and moods that inspire both from an artistic stand point but also with the use of a sustainable material that made the environmental footprint of the whole project lighter.

So, what happened to these carpets that were made from fishing nets and old carpets? Well, their journey is still ongoing. We are trying to find reuse for some parts in better shape, but the rest has arrived now in our carpet recycling facility in Phoenix. Here the journey of regenerations starts. The nylon waste will be separated from other components and sent to Slovenia, to the ECONYL® regeneration plant. Through a chemical process we will transform it back into nylon of uncompromising quality. From here, the possibilities are endless. It might continue its journey as a Stella McCartney’s bag or a pair of sunglasses or the carpet for next year’s NeoCon Plaza… Anything is possible.

These infinite possibilities were displayed in our showroom where we had samples of:

  • Red-green carpets made from ECONYL® nylon for the world’s highest-level fashion events, such as the CFDA Awards in New York and the Green Carpet Fashion Awards in Milan.

  • New collections of carpet tiles launching at NeoCon, like Masland’s new “Crafted” collection and Milliken’s “Heavy Meta”.

  • Couture Poufs made with ECONYL® nylon by Italian designer Lorenza Bozzoli.

  • Beautiful ECONYL® rugs, like the one by the Brazilian company Punto e Filo and others reused from the Green Carpet Fashion awards in Milan.

  • Hi-end products from Stella McCartney (backpack) and Alexander MacQueen (umbrella)

Everything from one ingredient, ECONYL® nylon, and from one source: waste.

Whether through our podcast, our participation in creating the NeoCon Plaza, or just meeting people in our showroom, it is always great being able to inspire buzz and conversation around sustainability and the circular economy.

We would love to continue this conversation, so please contact us and let us know what sustainability means to you and maybe how we can help!

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