Merci’s “Upcycling” Collection Spotlights Sustainable Luxury

Coinciding with Paris Design Week, the high-end concept store's shoppable installation

Merci, an eclectic concept store in the Marais, contributes to the lengthy itinerary of Paris Design Week (6-14 September) this year with an exhibition of their own. The shoppable display, titled Upcycling: A New Lease on Life, features dozens of products made by skilled craftsmen and talented designers—each employing sustainable materials or highlighting a reused object.

The collection comes complete with call-outs to the source material or the item’s original intention. A shimmering, gold-lined bowl made from recycled magazines becomes a delightful catchall. Uniquely shaped glasses, with a ribbed middle, stand out because of their greenish hue—and because they were mouth-blown by Moroccan artisans from recycled glass. A hefty ballpoint pen made from Nespresso pods stands in for a plastic one quite well.

The odd and rare find a place here too: a stool made from mussel shells, a trio of Bluetooth-equipped vintage radios, baskets made from telephone wires, Corsi Design chairs made from soft resin, sneakers cut from recycled clothing, and more. Prices range between 5€ and 2,000€.

“Upcycling” is not a deviation from the ethos that contributed to Merci’s acclaim over the last 10 years. All the products here are tasteful, well-made and, in the same moment, pressing—requiring closer inspection and careful reconsideration of why, even for a handful of products elsewhere in the store, plastics are still used and large factories still relied upon. But, as Merci notes in the exhibition’s description, which was translated for us from the original French, “The second life of things is, on the one hand, products created from recycled materials, and on the other hand, a diversion of the first use for a new reading. [The exhibition] is a reflection on our society, a pause on our attitudes.”

Images courtesy of Merci