California-based Roxy Russell’s collection of lamps are beautiful, but the designer hopes they will appeal to customers on another level by shining a light on the problem of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans and seas.
The Medusae collection has four designs — Polyp, Medusa, Hydra and Ophelia — made from recyclable and durable velum finish PET (polyethylene terephthalate) mylar and white powder-coated aluminum.
Designed to hang from the ceiling to allow their delicate arms to float freely, they would add a sense of calm to any room.
“The ocean is such a boundless source of inspiration for myself and many other people, in all fields”, says Russell. “Unfortunately, I am also very concerned about the fragile state of its very complex eco-system. I wanted to bring to the surface, and illuminate the growing problem of plastic polluting our oceans in a way that makes people inspired to help. We have a floating island of plastic garbage in the Pacific that is twice the size of Texas. Up to 70 percent of this plastic is below the surface, broken down into tiny pieces, becoming a toxic part of the eco-system. Countless fish and birds die from mistaking these bits for food”.
The irony that Russell’s lamps are themselves made of plastic isn’t lost on the designer, but she also sees the choice of material as making a statement about our “disposable” society.
“I don’t believe the PET [a type of recyclable plastic] is an evil material, it is the way we use it”, says Russell. “We will never be able to completely eliminate something as versatile as plastics. The reason that they are used up to a large extent and considered ‘environmental friendly’ is because it is safe, non-toxic, doesn’t have plasticizers and don’t contain heavy metals. Of course, the main advantages of this polymer are that these can be recycled”.
Russell hopes her lamps will encourage consumers to think more deeply about how their shopping habits impact the entire planet as well as just their own immediate habitat.
“The lights are an example of how delicate and beautiful our ocean life is”, she says. “The use of plastic in such a way shows a middle ground in the ways we use our technologies. And hopefully elevates it, in a way”.