Art Paris leads the way

with the World's First Sustainably Designed Art Fair

Art Paris is an art fair with a regional focus that gives pride of place to proximity and local sustainable solutions, especially in terms of transport and visitor management. In 2022, Art Paris, which is organised by France Conventions, has made a commitment to developing a sustainable design approach to its organisation.

Karbone Prod, founded by Fanny Legros, has joined forces with environmental consultants Solinnen and Art of Change 21 to assist Art Paris with the implementation of a life cycle assessment-based sustainable approach in what will be a first for an art fair. This pioneering initiative is supported by French environmental agency ADEME. In the longer term, the aim is to develop a tool for designing eco-friendly art fairs.

What is sustainable design?

Sustainable design (or ecodesign) is an innovative approach that aims to reduce the negative environmental impacts of a product or a service throughout its life cycle, from obtaining and processing raw materials to end-of-life disposal.

What is a life cycle assessment (LCA)?

A life cycle assessment (LCA) is the most advanced tool for measuring the environmental impact of a product or service. It takes into account a multitude of criteria in order to provide a global analysis, listing and quantifying the materials and energy used.

An LCA evaluates the impact of products, services and processes by considering every stage of their life cycle from cradle to grave and compiling an inventory of the relevant inputs and outputs: extraction and processing of raw materials (including energy sources), manufacturing, distribution, usage and end-of-life disposal, not forgetting the various phases of transport.

By opting for a life cycle assessment, Art Paris has chosen to go beyond the basic notion of the carbon footprint that only considers greenhouse gases and adopt a multi-criteria approach that takes a wider number of environmental impacts into account: resource depletion, occupation of space, water acidifi cation and human toxicity etc.

How was the life cycle assessment carried out?

The direct environmental impacts of Art Paris 2022 were analysed including production, setup, take down and waste management. The assessment did not take into account the impact of either visitors or exhibitors.

Karbone Prod worked with Solinnen to calculate the Art Paris fair life cycle data set and establish a diagnosis that enabled Art Paris to implement solutions to reduce its environmental impact. We will be comparing the 2021 and 2022 editions and presenting the improvements attributable to this sustainable design approach.

What measures were implemented in 2022 to reduce the environmental impact of Art Paris?

After calculating the LCA of Art Paris 2021, some 40 or so measures were put into place and four priorities identified:

  • Brushed cotton: the fair’s picture hanging systems were all covered with brushed cotton, which represented 2.5 tonnes of waste. In 2022, all this cotton will be recycled to provide insulation for the building industry.
  • Carpet: the carpet covering the aisles at the fair will be recycled and transformed to be used as fuel.
  • Energy consumption: the halogen lights in the booths have been replaced by LED or COB lights which, based on our calculations, will cut energy use by 65.12%.
  • Waste management: During setup and take down, a skip that can manage four separate waste streams will be provided. Recycle bins will be placed around the fair and catering services will be plastic bottle free.

The sustainable design approach to organising the fair was implemented in different sectors:

  • The fair’s main publications such as the VIP programme and the catalogue were digitized.
  • An evaluation of the Art Paris website was carried out. To give just one example, the carbon footprint of the homepage was reduced from 92.31 grammes of CO2 in October 2021 to 26.5 grammes in February 2022.
  • The 72,000 badges (representing a total of 350 kg of PVC) were printed on recycled PVC and will themselves be recyclable. Containers placed at the exits will encourage visitors to deposit their badge before leaving.

Adapting services to comply with a sustainable design approach

In parallel to the sustainable design approach adopted by Art Paris, the various services provided by the fair have been adapted to comply with sustainability standards:

Catering firm No More Penguins, in partnership with the UCIAP 7, has devised a meat-free menu with dishes made from locally sourced produce. There will be no plastic bottles.

Chabé will only be using electric official cars to transport the fair’s VIPs.

The chairs and benches around the fair were designed by sustainable furniture specialists Séquences Edition.

Art Paris has partnered with Convelio for all questions of fine art transport and shipping. A groupage service will be implemented for Parisian galleries that will reduce the carbon footprint and save on transport costs. More environmentally friendly packaging materials will be used, such as tissue paper and recycled bubble wrap. Furniture will be protected by reusable blankets and for exports requiring crating, triple wall corrugated carboard boxes and bespoke wooden crates made from ISPM-15 compliant wood sourced in French forests will be used. In addition, any wood offcuts from these crates will be given to bakeries in the Ile de France region that are equipped with wood-fired ovens.

Exhibitors will be able to consult an online catalogue of free supplies (transport not included) provided by online resource sharing platform Plinth, whose network of arts and culture professionals encourages the reuse of exhibition components and materials.

Pour les exposants, Plinth, plateforme numérique de mise en contact pour le réemploi d’objets scénographiques dans le secteur de la culture, leur permettra de puiser dans le catalogue en ligne pour se fournir en matériel de manière gratuite (hors coût de transport). Des gourdes en verre éditées par la société Efficio seront offertes à tous les exposants pour limiter l’usage des bouteilles en plastique.

About Karbone Prod founder and Plinth co-founder Fanny Legros
After several years working in the field of photography and five years as manager of Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Fanny Legros’ experience of international art fairs and organising exhibitions led her to realise that the art world had not yet addressed the question of its green transition. In addition, insufficient tools existed to support this initiative. This realisation led her to create Karbone Prod in 2020, a consulting firm providing the necessary resources to help arts professionals calculate their environmental impact and take a more sustainable approach to their activity. She went on to co-found Plinth in 2021 together with Carole Vigezzi, which has become a reference for sharing and reusing resources in the arts sector. In 2022, she has been assisting Art Paris with the organisation of the world’s first sustainably designed art fair.

 Life cycle assessment diagram © Karbone Prod, 2022
  • Life cycle assessment diagram © Karbone Prod, 2022

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