PET Lamp Project, founded by Alvaro Catalán de Ocón, is part of an ongoing mission to revitalise weaving craft among indigenous communities around the world. Starting in Columbia five years ago, the Spanish designer has since worked with groups in Japan, Ethiopia, Chile and now Australia, with each community bringing their unique traditions to their interpretations.

The latest edition of the project was commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria Triennial in Melbourne, which resulted in PET Lamp Ramingining, two unique woven ceiling lamps that explore one of the purest and best preserved Aboriginal traditions, visual languages and weaving techniques in the heart of Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.

PET Lamp is a consolidated project that merges the reuse of PET plastic bottles with selected traditional weaving techniques from different corners of the world in order to create unique handmade lampshades. In the context of the NGV triennial celebration of contemporary art and design practice, PET Lamp Ramingining is the exponent of the harmonic coexistence between industrial design, plastic waste and indigenous imagery.

In most instances, a system of moulds is established to create usable design outcomes. From there, each weaver is invited to explore the patterns and colours of their own creation, which in turn are formed into aesthetic groupings and the astonishing PET Lamps are born.

“Following our usual design practice during our workshops, we arrived without a preliminary sketch of the definitive shape of the piece, giving a favourable freedom to the project which finally turned into a social, collaborative work. The final result, two handcrafted ceiling lamps (one of which is currently in Melbourne and the other one in Madrid) is the fruit of six intense weeks of workshops and living together with a group of talented Indigenous artist weavers from Bula’Bula Arts Centre in Ramingining,” said the designer.

One of the two, foyer scaled lamps now resides within the permanent collection of the NGV.

NGV Triennial in Melbourne launched on the 15th December 2017 and runs through until 15th April 2018.


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[Images courtesy of Spence & Lyda and Alvaro Catalán de Ocón.]


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