Changing The World Through Design

Taking things apart to create something new is not unheard of in the world of design. In fact, recycling is very much part of everyday life for designers and artists, who strive to turn the old into something innovative, both aesthetically and functionally.

Following this simple, unspoken rule, Chilean-born artist Tatiana Pagès began using six-pack rings to make beautiful pieces of jewelry, experimenting with them in order to “inspire people to take action using art and design as the trigger to protect the environment.”

Now based in New York, in 2009, she launched “A movement that transforms the simple act of recycling plastic materials into a form of creative expression.” She called it Origomu, a Japanese word meaning “folding rubber,” and from the Japanese she also borrowed the incredible art that makes her pieces so delicate, transforming something ugly and dangerous into striking art.

She also invited people to gather plastic for her projects, or to participate with artwork through the website for the movement she created: to date, Origomu has collected over 200,000 six-pack rings not only via the web, but also through art workshops, organizations and contests.

Photography Arnaldo Vargas / Styling Laura Pou

“Change your world with your own hands™” is the motto of Origomu, and the contrast between the awfulness of the plastic and the beautiful final results is very much symbolic of the artist’s credo. Her pieces are almost organic, their ghost-like transparency is the most striking way of transforming waste into beauty, into something as far from its origin as possible.

Through the international design community, Origomu has recently become a global movement, also included in the Museum at FIT and at the Cirque du Soleil VIP Ecological tent in Montreal, as well as used as a business model by international organizations for low-income women.

Now Origomu wants to go further: after becoming well known and spreading awareness in the world of art and design, Pagès’ goal is to reach further into American society, encouraging the public to help make an impact through this movement. “Origomu will exist until the day we destroy the last six-pack ring,” they say, and we very much believe them.

– Rosa Maria Bertoli