At this year’s NYCxDesign, the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York has presented Zero Waste Bistro at WantedDesign Manhattan. Zero Waste Bistro is co-curated by Finnish designers Harri Koskinen and Linda Bergroth and introduces the zero-waste food philosophy of Helsinki-based Restaurant Nolla, the first zero-waste restaurant in the Nordics.
“It’s time to rethink the way we live, the way we eat and the materials we use,” says Kaarina Gould, Executive Director of the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York. “Our seas are filled with plastic waste. In the US alone, over 58 billion disposable cups are discarded to landfill every year. What if all of those cups were recyclable? What if all of our everyday packagings was made of materials that contained no plastic? What if we only ever bought things that we love, things that last a lifetime? With Zero Waste Bistro we’re proposing a future that reduces waste and maintains our planet livable, a future that’s already here if we make the right choices, however radical.”
Chefs Luka Balac, Carlos Henriques and Albert Franch Sunyer, who have all worked at various Michelin star establishments in Helsinki and beyond, are behind the newly opened Restaurant Nolla (Nolla = Zero) in Helsinki. The idea for their restaurant stemmed from the need to change the restaurant industry. An average restaurant produces over a ton of waste every week. By developing a circular economy and following a simple philosophy of refusing, reducing, reusing, and only as the last resource recycling – they’re aiming at zero waste levels in their practice.
At Zero Waste Bistro in New York, the chefs have presented a mouth-watering, yet thought-provoking menu: “Local and organic products, as well as overlooked byproducts of our food system, was the building block of our dishes. With a strong focus on sustainability, our dishes are based on creative thinking to produce something delicious and genuine out of ignored and local ingredients”, the chefs say.
The Zero Waste Bistro has been furnished with tableware and furniture from Finnish design icons Iittala and Artek. The design classics featured in the bistro, the Alvar Aalto pendants and stools and a new edition of Kaj Franck’s Teema series underline the philosophy of sustainable design, objects created to last a lifetime and beyond. The entire bistro is built with materials that contribute to a zero-waste future: all surfaces are made of Durat, a unique, sustainable solid surface material which contains recycled plastic and is 100% recyclable.