The world’s premiere home design trade event, the Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2010 — AKA the Milan Furniture Fair — wraps up today and this year's highlights (and low-lights) included a handful of oddball eco-collaborations like the 111 Navy Chair from Coca-Cola and Emeco and Karim Rashid working with DuPont for the Smart-ologic Corian Living Home. Another one to add to this list: Disney pairing with high-end Italian furniture maker Cappellini for a limited edition chair collection available from Walt Disney Signature, a fancypants “adult lifestyle brand inspired by creativity, elegance and style.”

Although the Cappellini/Disney partnership resulted in a five-chair collection, only one of the chairs appears to be made from eco-materials: Fish Chair, an “inspired by nature” misstep made from recycled plastic that invites buyers to “Reduce. Reuse. Recline.”

While the intention behind Fish Chair’s design is commendable — “Through this collaboration, Cappellini and Walt Disney Signature stay true to a shared legacy: an unyielding desire to preserve the earth for the next generation of innovators - reminding us that it truly is ‘a small world after all’” — I can’t help but think it looks like a giant, hardened glob of that evil/delicious Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip cake frosting, not something you’d find in nature.

Diehard Disney fans: would you buy something like this for your home? Although I can’t find a retail price for Fish Chair, I’m guessing it will cost as much as it does for a family of four to visit the Magic Kingdom for a couple of days. 


In other news from Milan, the always-clever, frequently-eco Dutch design collective Droog — check out my coverage of Pioneers of Change, a design event that Droog conceived and curated this past summer on NYC’s Governors Island — flexed some remarkable DIY upcycling muscle with Saved by Droog.

For the show, Droog acquired 5,139 individual products, most of them homewares, from liquidation auctions across the Netherlands — side note: around 500 Dutch companies go bankrupt every month — and invited 14 international designers to give these potentially landfill-bound leftovers a useful second life.

Here’s a full list of the materials that Droog acquired: 1 water cooler, 1 dining table, 2 bar stools, 4 metal trays, 6 wooden trays, 8 mirrors, 10 small bowl sets, 11 cups, 14 dog baskets, 20 dish towels, 40 glass vases, 50 safety vests, 60 sets of cutlery, 80 folding chairs, 90 flower pots, 100 candy pots, 102 wooden spoons, 168 plates of glass, 200 saltshakers, 448 wallets, 500 matchboxes, 720 cola glasses, and 2,500 handkerchiefs.

The result? A collection of 19 limited edition upcycled goodies that “celebrates the re-use potential of leftovers as a valid approach to product design and development.” Among them are Erick Klarenbeek’s Roll-on Scent (saltshakers transformed into perfume bottles), Ed Annick’s Fun-for-dogs Trolley (dog baskets with steel frames and wheels), and Erna Einarsdóttir’s Knotted Scarf (dish towels dyed and knotted into scarfs). I particularly like the Manicured Chairs (folding chairs decorated with nail polish by actual manicurists) from Marian Bantjes. Check out the whole fabulous collection here for some DIY ideas that you can perhaps use around the house yourself. 

Droog Images: Stefanie Grätz 

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

The double D's: Disney and Droog hit Milan
At the Milan Furniture Fair, Disney misfires with a pricey recycled plastic chair while Droog scores with the clever repurposing of 5,139 liquidated products.