Bullets made into rings, ‘climbing’ lamps and crate-turned-desks are just some of the statement pieces available on Moorbi.com, a website striving to revolutionise up-cycled fashion and home accessories. JennyVintage talks to its chief executive, Martina Basile, about her mission, trawling through landfills and why she’s no tree hugger.
What is Moorbi.com and how did it come about?
Moorbi is a marketplace where sustainable designers, artists, upcyclers and makers will be first time all grouped together online aiming to provide a valid alternative for a richer and more sustainable living.
We see a future where design will drive the change, where sustainable will be normal, where designers will be conscious about their responsibilities in thinking about the whole product life-cycle, where all the people will have possibility to have rooms and houses like magazine covers, unique in the world.
We are a team of people passionate about design, sustainability and revolution.
Where did the site’s name come from? What does it mean?
Moorbi was the name of a toy I did out of waste and old cloth when I was a child. It was quite ugly but screamingly funny – I remember was quite crooked, unfinished but uniquely mine.
Climbing lamp by Furniture MagPies
What makes Moorbi.com different from other websites focused on vintage pieces and recycled materials?
Vintage is a trend, recycling is overused – what we have in mind is to create the main referent for people loving authenticity, style and quality but also something uniquely theirs and not impacting the environment or their pocket.
It is going to be a revolution of the entire production process; we decided to start from promoting the designers already conscious about their responsibility.
We are neither tree-huggers nor fashion victims. We like cool things.
Bullet ring by Adi Zaffran
How do you source sustainable designers and what are your criteria for sustainability? Does it differ at all from product to product?
We source sustainable designers directly at exhibitions, fairs, design weeks or reading about their projects on newspapers and blogs. Our criteria for sustainability? There are many of them, sustainability is many things and can seem nothing.
Generally I can say that all of them have a wider vision of the product – they do think about the beauty of it, but only after having considered what material to repurpose, reuse, upcycle, recycle, save, restore, how to assemble and deliver, ship it, how will it be dismiss and which message to give to people.
Some of them spend three days per week sourcing materials from landfills or around their houses and then working to save them, others have invented a new material much more sustainable, some others and saving materials and leftovers of production processes.
Magazine rack by Wandle Tree
Who are the greatest designers you have come across so far in your search for sustainable products? What does it take to be a Moorbi.com featured designer?
As Victor Papanek – the godfather of sustainable design – said in 1972 “There are professions more harmful than design, but only a few”. So, the greatest designers I came across so far are the ones that are creatively approaching the sustainability factor and sustainably letting their creativity be.
Being a designer at Moorbi.com is pretty easy – all of them dream about and work hard to build a green future for all of us with even more quality and richer lifestyle. All of them are creatively revolutionists building great things out of leftovers of a consumerist society.
Are there any particularly young and new designers you have found?
We are actually planning to focus more on young and emergent designers. I believe it’s needed to give them a space and the right visibility but also since the beginning one clear rule: no more designers designing cosmetics, now the hardest thing is being a designer with a brain and think about before, during and after your project has been produced, sold and used.
What are your favourite items available on the website and what are the dream Moorbi.com products you are still on the lookout for?
I select personally all the designers to contact and to get on board as well as collaborate with the designers about the products to put on Moorbi.com. I love all of them, and I am so amazed looking at this when I think that has been only few months we’ve been up and so many designers and people interested in design to get in touch and interacting with this site. I dream about giving people the possibility to be sustainable and make everything around them sustainable from A to Z but never forgetting style and quality.
How would you describe your own home’s style?
My own? Essential but warm, functional but romantic, tiny but mine.
Lamp by Garbage
What’s next for Moorbi.com? What are your goals for the site for the rest of the year?
Moorbi aims to become the first place where design and art will be something everyone could get. Where sustainable won’t be more expensive than unsustainable, and where designers will be actively improving our own areas, cities and countries.
We want to democratise quality in terms of products and production. Everyone’s a tastemaker and an artist and would love to own something special and unique in the all world while dad Design always gets under people’s skins.
Branch table by Adi Zaffran