After the success of his New York-based pop-up museum, “Arcadia Earth,” designed to raise awareness for sustainability and circular design, founder Valentino Vettori is extending the lease till the end of 2020 and taking it to Los Angeles next.
An experienced retail designer by trade, Vettori tapped nonprofits the World Wildlife Foundation, Oceanic Global and even sustainable fiber producer Tencel as a “point of reference,” with a dozen environmental artists interpreting each theme (e.g. overfishing, plastic pollution, food waste) using largely recycled materials for the 15 rooms. Augmented reality, as well as virtual reality, is featured throughout.
“The main mission is to educate,” said Vettori. “We have the power to change demand if the consumer starts to demand a different product.” Certain “different product” may include some 60 up-and-coming brands curated in the gift shop at the end that espouse “sustainable values.”
This includes bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste alternatives sandwiched by a poster telling how many plastic toothpaste tubes (estimated to be 400 million) and toothbrushes (about one billion) are discarded in the U.S. every year, among other calls-to-action.
What’s more interesting about Arcadia Earth is not its mission to educate the general public, but the footfall generated in the business community.
“A lot of the beauty industry and the fashion industry are trying to change behavior,” said Vettori, who shared how teams from L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, Tory Burch, Gap, Guess, PepsiCo and others have visited or are interested in finding ways to collaborate.
But broadly, attendees are mostly women and children, as Vettori shared. While one attendee argued the exhibit to be a “propaganda about climate change,” Vettori grounds himself in the power of experiential retail; Arcadia Earth is designed as an “Instagram installation.”
“I believe social media is key to information sharing,” reiterated Vettori. Too, his predecessors from Rosé Wine Mansion or Museum of Ice Cream may agree.
With the extended lease, Arcadia Earth is to be redesigned and improved upon, and the pop-up for the West Coast will vary in its message, focusing “less on education” and “more on action.”
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