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Zero Waste Bistro

Photograpy by Nicholas Calcott • August 13, 2018

Designers: Linda Bergroth, Helsinki, Finland and Paris, and Harri Koskinen, Helsinki

The details: The innovative and playful pop-up Zero Waste Bistro was on a mission during this year’s NYCxDesign in Manhattan: to confront the food industry’s waste problem, which accounts for more than $58 billion in disposable cups discarded into landfills each year in the U.S. alone. Commissioned by the Finnish Cultural Institute for WantedDesign, which hosts exhibitions during the event in May, the sustainably minded eatery was crafted “not only to serve the guests who came to dine, but to also be an inspiring visual experience for any visitor at the event,” explains Helsinki- and Paris-based designer Linda Bergroth, who co-curated the space with Helsinki designer Harri Koskinen.

Bergroth’s scheme subverts the notion that sustainable design has to be drab or somber. “Instead, I wanted to create something fun and visually stimulating that would attract attention for a good cause.” The dramatic interior—made up of a series of arches as well as “tactile materials, patterns, and the trompe l’oeil effect”—is defined by a mesmerizing blue speckled surface made from Tetra Pac, a packaging material often used for milk cartons, which contrasts the white table, stools, and pendants running through the center of the space. Even the serving dishes, as well as the table, are fully recyclable, formed from Durat, a composite material that is produced from recycled plastic and natural pigments.

Because it was a temporary installation, “I could free myself from the usual restrictions in interior design,” notes Bergroth, while also inspiring a new outlook when it comes to food.