Here are some horrifying figures. Almost 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced globally each year, but only about 10 percent of that is recycled. Between 5 and 14 million tonnes of plastic are estimated to enter our oceans every year killing a huge number of marine animals who get caught in plastic and sometimes mistake it for food. Thus humans who eat fish are affected by the toxic effect of plastic in the food chain and so it goes on!
Every year #ProjectOcean focuses its attention on another part of the dire situation the world’s oceans are in and what to do about it. The project is an ongoing collaboration with The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and various environmental organizations.
So how and why does Selfridges get involved? Firstly, they’re removing all single use plastic water bottles from their Foodhalls and restaurants. That alone amounts to roughly 400,000 bottles a year. Secondly, they’ve installed a Sea Change Drinking Fountain in the Foodhall to refill with water vessels we can buy from here. After all ‘shopping’ in Selfridges is something many of us are very familiar with.
Thirdly, they collaborate with the best people to bring to life a serious issue and make us stop and think.
They invited the masters of blurring boundaries between food and design, italian studio Arabeschi di Latte. (I’ve previously blogged about them), together with curator Jane Withers, to install a Water Bar, an interactive exhibition where water laced with everything from charcoal, fruit infusions, superfoods to gold is served in rather beautifully designed glasses.
The bar is made from a terrazzo material comprising recycled glass and epoxy resin. The taps and pipes are copper and brass.
On adjacent shelves you’ll find a vast range of different vessels that show alternatives to the plastic bottle and highlight the ‘ritual’ of drinking water. I was fascinated by the sheer beauty of most of them and found it very difficult to choose what to show you here.
On the other side of the bar there’s the Gyrecraft project. Studio Swine & Andrew Friend installed a replica of the 22-metre research ship called Sea Dragon, on which they sailed to the North Atlantic to explore how marine plastic might be turned into a valuable resource by making it possible for communities at sea and remote islands to harvest this abundant material and craft it into new artefacts. One can enter the Sea Dragon and listen to interviews with the crew and visitors can track the activities of the real ship, currently sailing the world’s oceans via a live link.
Here below is one such artefact. It’s made out of sea plastic, galvanised steel, etched brass, abalone shell, brass shackle and rope.
The first gyre was discovered by Captain Charles Moore in the North Pacific. This piece refers to industrial fishing, particularly the crab nets used to catch large Alaskan crabs.
Project Ocean is open until 3 September 2015
Ultralounge on the Lower Ground
This post will stay live until Monday 17th August.