Nespresso and Surface Host Sustainability-Themed Café Talks
Featuring some of the most influential names in the worlds of art and design, the conversations during Art Basel Miami Beach 2021 spanned everything from consumerism to NFTs to combating climate change in urban environments. Below, we round up highlights from the two-day event at the W South Beach.
Whether it be through innovation or awareness, the creative community continues to sit on the vanguard of the movement toward a more sustainable existence. At Art Basel Miami Beach 2021, Nespresso and Surface teamed up to present Café Talks, a conversation series on the big ideas for a greener and more sustainable future.
As the official coffee sponsor for Art Basel Miami Beach, Nespresso showed off some of its own eco initiatives, recycling more than 75,000 coffee capsules—the ground coffee is repurposed as nutrient rich fertilizer for topsoil and the aluminum casing is recycled and repurposed for future casings. The company also announced a contribution to American Forests, the nation’s oldest nonprofit conservation organization, in support of forest restoration projects in California, Hawaii and Texas. In total, 100,000 seedlings will be planted in priority ecosystems in California, Texas, and Hawaii, resulting in over 320 acres of land reforested.
Hosted over two days at W South Beach, Surface and Nespresso spearheaded a wide-reaching conversation around sustainability, highlighting the solution-driven work of change-making artists and designers, identifying the challenges still confronting us, and forecasting what lies on the horizon.
Designing a Better Future for Cities in the Era of Climate Change.
“Art gives us a sense of identity, pride, and sense of community,” Ximena Caminos says. “It’s also a fantastic vehicle to connect people.” The cultural entrepreneur and OMA’s visionary partner Shohei Shigematsu—who discussed The Reefline, their underwater public sculpture park, snorkel trail, and artificial reef project off the Miami coastline—joined the polymath designer, futurist, and founder of Supernature Dror Benshetrit on a panel about using design solutions to help combat the damaging effects of climate change. “You look at cities today and say, we’re going to double everything that is currently built worldwide in the next 30 years?” Dror says. “I felt super responsible for thinking differently about urban planning.”
The Power of Art and Design in the Fight Against Environmental Degradation.
Lonneke Gordijn of the wondrous Studio Drift and the conceptual artist Loris Gréaud, ambassador for the Sense of Silence Foundation, examined the emotional appeal of their nature-centric work as a powerful tool to raise awareness about environmental degradation. “Technology has always helped mankind to understand the world and we shouldn’t forget that because in the end it’s about this world, not technology,” Gordijn says. “With every work we’ve made in the past 15 years, I understood more about nature because technology is only a tool to get closer to it, and in the end nature always wins because it’s much better and more complex and profound.”
How to Solve the Plastic Waste Crisis and Dilemma of Consumerism: Transparent Supply Chains, Net-Positive Products, and Sustainable Materials.
Day two kicked off with a conversation about conscious consumerism with Humanscale’s chief sustainability officer, Jane Abernethy, and Verdi Design creative director Tomas Vera. “The very first step is understanding how we interact with the world and where we effect sustainability,” Abernethy says. “Understanding what our greenhouse gas emissions are. What kind of materials we use. Do they have toxins in them or don’t they? Can they be used afterward? Where are we sourcing them from? What’s our supply chain like?” While Humanscale’s efforts center around the production and distribution of net-positive products for the workplace, Vera, whose textile studio is based in Bogotá, Colombia, says shifting to a more climate-conscious model of consumerism is a challenge that goes beyond producing products in a responsible manner. “We have a team of 45 artisans; how do you teach them to be sustainable not just at the workshop, but at their homes and in their lives?” he says. “Our greatest challenge is to educate and to be able to show them how to be properly sustainable.”
The Future Sustainability of Crypto and NFT Art and the Promise of Eco-Friendly Blockchains.
The day finished with the week’s buzziest topic: NFTs. Ximena Caminos and Pablo Rodriguez-Frail, digital art collector and founder of the climate-forward NFT marketplace Aorist, and the mesmerizing new-media artist and designer Refik Anadol ruminated over the ecological challenges facing crypto and NFT art, and the viability of environmentally conscious blockchains. “Sustainability starts with the idea, then the platform, then execution,” Anadol says. “When all those things align together we see pure success and purpose.”
In the coming days, Surface and Nespresso will be rolling out the full conversations on IGTV, YouTube, Vimeo, and SurfaceMag.com. Stay tuned!