Seaweed-Inspired Magnets Turn the Waste Bin Into a Work of Art


What is typically regarded – or rather, disregarded – as merely a common trash receptacle has now become an interactive work of art. Inspired by the childhood practice of placing magnets on a magnetic surface, Italian artist Alice Ronchi has transferred this nostalgic act over to Vipp’s iconic pedal bin, an object that has been reinterpreted by artists and designers such as Bono, Philippe Stark, and André Saraiva. Rather than simply using the bin out of necessity, Ronchi wants you to play with The Magnetic Edition. “Throwing something in the bin is often an act of instinct,” the Milan-based creative explains. “Therefore, I wanted to give extra attention to this very functional everyday object, that usually tends to blend in with its surroundings. By adding tailor-made, carefully created magnets, I wanted people to interact with the bin, making it an equal protagonist of the home, not just something you put in the corner.”

woman opening a steel trash can with magnetic shapes attached to it with her foot in front of a wall with sketches taped up

A woman works at a desk in a bright art studio with large windows, surrounded by colorful sketches and various art supplies

Aerial view of a creative workspace with hands drawing a blue line on paper, surrounded by colorful art supplies and scissors

Ronchi designed the six magnets to resemble the shapes and organic forms of seaweeds. Because seaweed is often translucent in color and floating in motion, she made sure to convey these details. The artist reflects on the process: “I worked intensely on the coloration of the magnets. I wanted them to appear transparent, to generate an elegant feeling of lightness, brightness, and fluidity as though they were floating in the bin’s mirror-surface.” To produce this effect, Ronchi worked closely with Italian company Giovanardi Spa.

Two hands arranging abstract magnets on a table alongside art supplies including paint and brushes

woman holding magnetic shapes at a desk with art supplies in front of a window

Each large magnet is 1mm thick polished steel with an element of iron, which makes them magnetic. They are backed with soft felt to prevent scratches and gently bent into a curve to seamlessly conform around the receptacle. With ample space for nearly endless configurations, the bin becomes a blank canvas and the owner becomes the artist.

A woman in a black shirt stands by a desk, examining sketches in a bright, minimalist studio with art supplies scattered around next to a steel trash bin

woman attaching magnetic shape to a steel trash can

A woman wearing a black shirt, smiles while looking at a magnet in her hands, standing against a plain light background.

hands holding a magnetic shape

Woman in purple sweater and black jeans standing next to a metal trash can

tall cylindrical steel trash can with various magnetic shapes attached to it

tall cylindrical steel trash can with various magnetic shapes attached to it

tall cylindrical steel trash can with various magnetic shapes attached to it

tall cylindrical steel trash can with various magnetic shapes attached to it

details of a tall cylindrical steel trash can with various magnetic shapes attached to it with a vipp logo

details of a tall cylindrical steel trash can with various magnetic shapes attached to it and a handle

details of a tall cylindrical steel trash can with various magnetic shapes attached to it and a foot pedal

To shop The Magnetic Edition Pedal Bin by Alice Ronchi for Vipp, visit vipp.com.



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