Zero Waste Bistro
All plastic was reused and recycled? All packaging was made of plastic-free materials? We only bought products we love and last a lifetime? All restaurants committed to a circular economy, refusing, reducing and reusing waste? All of the 58 billion disposable cups that end in landfills annually were compostable or repulpable?
For New York's design week, NYCxDESIGN in May 2018, the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York invited chefs from the Helsinki-based Restaurant Nolla to bring their zero waste food philosophy to New York. Co-curated by Harri Koskinen and Linda Bergroth, the temporary bistro was built on themes of circular economy, new material innovations and sustainable design.
The space, designed by Linda Bergroth – introduced in Metropolis Magazine as 'hauntingly beautiful' – was built entirely of recycled and recyclable materials, using sustainable design pieces – iconic Finnish furniture and tableware that last from generation to generation.
Each partner and collaborator was invited through the curating process, and selected on the basis of their stake in sustainability. The Finnish Design Shop and Artek brought in sustainable made-to-last tableware and furniture; Durat launched their new recycled composite collection; Kotkamills presented their repulpable disposable cups; Sulapac a completely new plastic free packaging material; Oklin the 24h food compostor and Finnair as a sustainable airline flew the designers and chefs in from Helsinki to New York. The drinks for the daily cocktail hours were provided by Kyrö Distillery, world's northenmost distillery known for their award winning Napue Gin.
The Helsinki-based Restaurant Nolla started from the need to rethink the restaurant industry. Their philosophy is simple: “Refuse, reduce, reuse, and only as a last resource, recycle.” To successfully complete the zero-waste ideology, Nolla founders Luka Balac, Albert Franch Sunyer and Carlos Henriques work directly with producers to rethink, reject and control packaging. Local and organic products, as well as overlooked byproducts of our foodsystem are the building block of our dishes.
The menu for the Zero Waste Bistro tasting sessions reflected the Nordic heritage of the chef's hope town Helsinki, as well as their mediterranean roots. Everything was sourced from sustainable producers, without packaging. See the menu here.
Read more about Nolla's zero-waste philosophy in this interview.
The four day program of Zero Waste Bistro consisted of tasting sessions for breakfast, brunch and lunch, as well as daily talks and workshops on the themes of zero waste and sustainability.
Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons hosted an experiential workshop of ingredients that can be both edible and buildable. Two visionaries of zero waste fashion – Yeohlee Teng and Timo Rissanen – engaged in an informative and deeply personal conversation with each another and the audience. Carlos Henriques of Restaurant Nolla shed light on their progressive restaurant concept with journalist Pauliina Siniauer. And finally: Cara McCarty, Director of Curatorial at the Cooper Hewitt Museum and the International Friend of Habitare 2018, discussed timeless and sustainable design with the creative director of Habitare, Laura Sarvilinna and the Editor in Chief of Contract Magazine, Paul Makovsky. The discussion was moderated by Kaarina Gould, Executive Director of the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York.
See the full programming in retrospect here.
TO LEARN MORE:
Visit the Zero Waste Bistro event site.
Read more about the reception and the learnings from the event here and below:
Zero Waste Bistro installation provides circular-economy model at WantedDesign
The Best of WantedDesign Manhattan
- Architectural Digest
America’s design community comes into its own
- Fast Co.Design