Nespresso's 2013 Project Upcycle collaborated with six Australian sustainable artists and designers, all challenged to create an original art-piece made from sustainable materials, including thousands of empty and used Nespresso coffee capsules.
Representing Victoria, Melbourne based Sustainable Fashion Designer Ellie Mücke was one of the six designers challenged to create an upcycled masterpiece over a 14 day period.
Ellie, well-known in the contemporary fashion industry, utilises second-hand clothing and unique pattern-cutting techniques whilst exploring interactive and collaborative design approaches to create sustainable high street fashion under her established label Studio MüCKE.
Ellie utilised over 2,000 empty Nespresso capsules in her 14 day challenge, hand-cutting over 6,000 intricate little petals to create her upcycled masterpiece ‘Padma Petalz’.
I had the privileged of viewing ‘Padma Petalz’ in all her metallic glory, visiting the Nespresso Boutique in Chadstone Shopping Centre last week:
Ellie has taken so much time to piece together her exquisite artwork, sewing together each tiny little aluminium petal onto her dress base, made from recycled shirts.
:: Complete ‘Padma Petalz’ ::
Ellie answers some questions for Recycled Fashion, specifically related to her beautiful upcycled dress:
What is your inspiration behind ‘Padma Petalz’
‘Padma Petalz’ was inspired by nature’s organic forms and its ability to renew and recycle in perfect harmony. I believe that humans still have a lot to learn from nature in this way. Through the process of creating thousands of tiny petals from the Nespresso capsules, I had much time to reflect on this.
‘Padma Petalz’ also draws on ideas of the collective and the notion that it is each and every one of us that has the ability to effect positive change. Together we can respond to the growing environmental crisis and act to make sure the future is a sustainable one.
You had 14 days to create your masterpiece, was this difficult to do in such a short time frame?
Yes it certainly was a challenge, but an enjoyable one! Sometimes I find it good to have limitations like this as it allows me to focus and really invest wholeheartedly like I did for Project Upcycle.
:: Time consuming process of cutting capsules ::
Where did you obtain the capsules you worked with?
The capsules were provided by Nespresso. Once capsules are deposited at Nespresso Boutiques, they are transported to local recycling facilities in Nowra. All components of the Nespresso capsule are recyclable: not only the aluminium, but also the coffee grounds. These two components are separated before being processed. After separation, aluminium is infinitely recyclable and has been re-used in Nespresso machine side panels as well as reused as capsules again.
:: Nespresso capsules ::
Where you given any guidelines to work with?
There were a few guidelines, such as the dress was to be made out of entirely sustainable materials. My creation needed to promote recycling, so I wanted to create something really beautiful which would inspire people to upcycle.
:: Machine sewing aluminium petals ::
What are your plans for the dress once the exhibition is complete?
The dress will be donated to charity, which they will auctioned off. I have chosen Cool Australia Org, who educate young Australians for a sustainable future.
:: Ellie Mücke with almost complete ‘Padma Petalz’::
More photographs of ‘Padma Petalz’ in the making can be seen on pinterest here.
There will be a final chance to view ‘Padma Petalz’ at Nespresso Melbourne Boutique store, 247 Collins Street, Melbourne, where she will be moved to her final viewing platform until 1st September 2013.
Lastly, if you would like to see the other Australian Ambassadors' completed Project Upcycle designs, you can do so here