1000 kilos of mixed plastic waste are used in a work of art for the Venice Biennale


The Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen will be showing his new work of art at the 57th Venice Biennale, which begins on 13 May. His work, “Protected Paradise”, is an impressive sculpture that is 12 metres high and weighs over 40 tons.

The work features a range of materials, including a gigantic bronze chicken leg, two tree trunks, an egg made of fibre glass and one in marble, plus a cage measuring 9 metres high and made of recycled mixed plastics.

Until the end of November the work will be on display in the gardens of Palazzo Franchetti, right beside the Canal Grande, at Accademia Bridge, which is crossed by about 9 million tourists every year.


ECO-oh! created the cage using new profiles featuring steel reinforcements and made from recycled domestic plastic waste; yoghurt pots, margarine tubs, toys, etc. Around 1000 kilos of mixed plastic waste, collected by local residents in more than 500 pink bags.
Quite an innovation in fact. The new profiles include threaded metal rods for additional strength.

With consciously choosing to use a cage made from recycled plastic, Koen Vanmechelen is showing his respect for the recycling process as a way to respect nature. For ECO-oh!, supporting the project is a way of thanking residents, who sort their waste, for all their efforts, and using art to contribute to a more harmonious world. 


The cage symbolises the contradiction of a protected paradise, because we are unable to protect the environment without also recycling domestic plastics properly. That is why this work of art also portrays a message of hope: it aims to make people think about how to live their lives in greater harmony with nature. This is nicely aligned with the mission at ECO-oh!: that we need to stop incinerating plastics and rather recycle them as much as possible into new resources.

Info card 'Protected Paradise'

Film 'The making of'