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Green Artist Spotlight: La Chanh Nguyen

| 1/21/2009 6:13:21 PM

Artists like La Chanh Nguyen are changing the art scene in addition to shaping the green movement. With a bachelor’s degree in industrial design, the Switzerland design student has enhanced the meaning of bringing outdoor elements inside.

Nguyen’s portfolio consists of traditional household items that have an eco-friendly spin. Her process is simple; she deconstructs an object and recreates it with a green purpose and function. She has redesigned objects from cutting boards and spatulas to a bath mat, and made them not only user-friendly but also environmentally appealing.

One of my favorite designs is the moss carpet, a bath mat that greens your bathroom—literally. The moss sits in a tray similar to an egg carton, and it is constructed out of plastazote, a decay-free foam. Nguyen’s material choice is ideal as the foam is stiff, long lasting and able to withstand a wide range of temperature changes. Inside the cup-like shapes are three types of moss: ball, island and forest. The types of moss output a range of greens, from a dark hunter green to a pale, almost beige green. The rich green colors give the bath mat a playful pattern and depth.

Out of all of her pieces, I am most drawn to the moss carpet.  It is a clean, straightforward, practical and eco-friendly design. The moss is a natural fit for the bathroom because of the humidity. Unlike conventional bath mats, it requires no washing and will not get moldy. The offbeat design brings nature indoors through a unique form.

Another fantastic eco-design by Nguyen is the kitchen garden. A simple kitchen tool holder flourishes with vertical cooking herbs. The holder is about eight inches high and has a diameter around four to five inches. The porous material and the size make for the perfect growing surface.

Nguyen’s eco-friendly work redefines domestic objects in a fun and playful manner. Today, the artist is busy at the drawing boards; to see her latest work, visit her online portfolio.

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