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(Archive) Plastic W(e)ave

Warping and weaving new ways of social interactions with an urban device of upcycled plastic textile spools

This project was part of DDW 2022
Extrusion view — © Margherita Nuti

Plastic W(e)ave comes from our desire to tell the industrial reality of Prato through an object creating a bridge across local traditions and contemporary productive technologies, where the spools are elevated from a common industrial waste to an iconic module

Why Prato?

Prato is a town in Tuscany widely renowned for its textile production. Since the middle age, the town’s social identity and urban layout have been deeply affected by its lively industry, leading to the development of a unique balance between productive system and architecture. Prato relies on a network of small to very small companies where each one, like the gear of big machinery, contributes to a specific role in the overall production chain. In contrast with the trend to centralise every production step in a unique body, in Prato each phase of the production is dealt with by a specialised small company, totally independent and in tight competition with the other ones: decentralisation and plurality rather than standardisation and uniformity.

Why a spool?

Passing through the neighbourhoods and the suburbs of Prato it’s easy to bump into objects bearing witness to the town’s industrial heritage. One of these is the “rocchetto” (spool), an element that is present for a large part of the production, made with a cylindrical hollow core around which the threads are woven. We think that no other object can better summarise and represent the local identity. Its modularity, chromatic richness, and mechanical strength, alongside the strong iconic value, are the bases for our research work leading to the creation of Plastic W(e)ave.
The installation is assembled using approximately 10 thousands spools made with recycled plastic, forming a rectangular platform that from the horizontal level moves upward simulating the dynamic shape of a wave, while also recalling the restless movement of a loom. The plastic supports are therefore simulating the warp and weft, shaping a 3D geometric pattern that distinguishes the work, whose composition is the result of research into historical textile motifs carried out within Prato’s Textile Museum archives.

Elementary module for new urban strategies

The study of historical patterns and their reinterpretation process lead to the creation of a dichromatic pattern with a harmonic profile, using bright complementary colours such as yellow and purple, which originates a pixelated texture with a strong visual impact.
Plastic W(e)ave is conceived to go beyond the pure visual perception, proposing itself as an elementary spatial module that can enable new ways of social interactions. The users can freely interact with the object, walking onto it, seating on its extrusions, or, more in general, using it as a safe space to trigger alternative forms of socialisation. In general, the work is creating a bridge across local traditions and contemporary productive technologies, where the spools are elevated from a common industrial waste to an iconic module, able to tell the story of a city hidden in its industrial heritage and preserved in the memories of its industrious workers.

Overview — © Margherita Nuti

Detail spools — © Margherita Nuti

Detail pattern — © Margherita Nuti

Bird-eye View