This striking sofa makes a powerful statement on face masks

There was a point in very recent history when it seemed like the world was running out of disposable face masks, also known as surgical masks. Eventually, however, supply finally caught up with demand and the use of such protective gear became so common that people would buy them in bulk. Unfortunately, these masks weren’t exactly made with everyday people in mind and in situations where they wouldn’t be properly disposed of. What was a tool that helped save human lives unfortunately became poison to the planet, especially our already polluted waters. While restrictions have been lifted in many places, there is still a high demand for and use of these single-use masks, including outside the medical field. completely from this personal protective equipment.

Designer: Tobia Zambotti

Surgical masks look simple enough that the materials used to make them are most likely taken for granted. They probably assume that they are made of biodegradable material because they feel like cloth or paper, but that is not entirely true. They are made of a certain type of plastic and cannot be recycled due to their use in medical scenarios. Thus, they become hazardous pollutants, whether burned by incinerators or thrown into water.

Given the large number of single-use masks that are regularly produced and discarded, that could easily create an environmental problem. What makes the situation even worse is that very few people are aware of this situation, let alone the harmful potential of these masks. So what better way to get their attention than by putting this number into perspective in a rather shocking way?

That’s what COUCH-19 does in a way that is both meaningful and useful. Hundreds of used masks are collected and then decontaminated with ozone before being buried in a ottoman made from recyclable crystal PVC. Each footstool is modular so that it can be combined with others to form a sofa to your liking. The poufs are irregularly shaped to give the appearance of the masks frozen in time. The iceberg-like design is intended as a reference to global warming.

As a sofa, the COUCH-19 looks both interesting and a little disturbing, which is part of the message. While there is no doubt that it can function as a piece of furniture, its appearance is odd enough to make our brains pause and force us to face the reality those masks convey, that of a world where we may be forced to to live with the very garbage we so thoughtlessly throw away.


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