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What happens to plastic waste that doesn’t make it into the recycling bin? Bound for the ocean, discarded plastics often wind up smothering coral reefs, kelp forests, mud flats, mangroves and other marine ecosystems in a feverish cycle of contamination — unless Patricia Urquiola has anything to say about it, that is. 

The Spanish designer’s Sport, for Danish textile company Kvadrat, is her latest venture in creating environmentally conscious products. It may also be her most impressive yet. Sport is the first upholstery textile in the world made exclusively of 100 per cent ocean-bound plastic waste, which, in this case, is collected no further than 10 kilometres off the coast of Thailand. In contrast, many other textile recycling processes source from up to 50 kilometres out, where polymers are already bleeding into underwater ecosystems — and losing the structural integrity that would make them more amenable to recycling.

“Patricia Urquiola did very good research in terms of recycling plastic bottles and translating that into an interesting fabric form with a lovely quadrant pattern.”
Piero Lissoni, AZ Awards 2024 Juror

Inspired by sportswear, the aptly named collection exudes a high-tech, contemporary vibe in 20 colourways with a minute floral motif, from vibrant greens and purples to delicate neutrals. Its weaving requires three colours of yarn per product, resulting in a richly intricate texture and hue. Almost appearing to shift and move, it feels dynamic and multidimensional. Sport elevates expectations for the future of sustainable textile production.

Winner: Interior Products
Award of Merit: Environmental Leadership
Sport by Patricia Urquiola

Sport is the first upholstery textile in the world made exclusively of 100 per cent ocean-bound plastic waste.

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2016
Award of MeritInterior Products
Studio
Toan Nguyen Studio, Italy
Designers
Toan Nguyen, with Philipp Leibundgut, Alain Reymond and Marc Viardot
2023
People’s ChoiceInterior Products
Designer
Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, China
Manufacturer
Ento, Italy
2024
Award of MeritInterior Products
Designers
Nick and Rachel Cope, U.S.
Manufacturer
Calico, U.S.