The Future of a Temporary Installation

“Under the Surface”: a story of Enduring Value and Responsible Design

In April 2024, our team, with renowned artist Emiliano Ponzi and the data visualization studio Accurat, unveiled the installation “Under The Surface”. The project aimed to create awareness about water consumption and it was commissioned by Federlegno Arredo Eventi, as part of the cultural program for the 62nd edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano. The installation offered an immersive data-journey through a landscape of peaks and valleys sculpted in EPS (Sintered Expanded Polystyrene).

Video editing and supervision by Alkemy BX.

Projections, along with holograms and dioramas, brought the EPS blocks to life, providing insights into water consumption, conservation, and the strategies employed by the bathroom furnishings industry to promote responsible and efficient use of this resource. The responsible use and conservation of resources are crucial issues that demand consistent and virtuous actions, not just in storytelling but through tangible efforts. Therefore, our choice of EPS was deliberate. Adhering to the Salone del Mobile’s sustainability guidelines, our designers selected this lightweight, breathable material for its humidity-absorbing properties and potential for recovery after breaking down.

From Salone del Mobile to Tecnital

At the end of the Salone del Mobile.Milano, the EPS mountains were dismantled, and we already knew their next destination. The big blocks were handed over to Perugini Making, the installer, who was tasked with delivering the EPS blocks to Tecnital, a small, innovative company based in Turin, just an hour from Milan, specializing in insulation building.

Tecnital was chosen for its proximity, pioneering history, and its certifications: ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001. Over 30 years ago, Tecnital had the foresight to reuse polystyrene waste from automotive model shops in the Turin area, initially crushing small pieces with a corn cracker. Over time, it was confirmed that this repurposed EPS served as an excellent insulator, effectively addressing issues of humidity, drafts, and low temperatures in buildings. This intuition evolved into a significant activity, equipped with an industrial transformation plant, including a vibrating screen for selection, a conveyor belt, and a processing system.

Witnessing a New Lifecycle

Polystyrene scraps are not waste but a valuable material destined to enhance building insulation, comfort, and energy efficiency. They were the perfect partner to give a new life to our installation.
The EPS from “Under The Surface” was treated with the same regard. By entrusting it to Tecnital, we remained true to the Salone del Mobile’s directive: to communicate powerful messages about natural resource conservation through memorable scenography, while ensuring our work’s long-term positive impact.

Visiting Turin and witnessing the transformation of “Under The Surface” marked a significant milestone. The scenic mountains, left untreated to maximize reuse, are now shattered, with every grain of EPS recovered to provide comfort and energy savings for many properties. This journey underscores our commitment to sustainability, creativity, and the enduring value of responsible design.


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