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Livraria Lello challenges Luís Onofre to design shoes made from recycled plastic bottles

Livraria Lello desafia Luís Onofre
The bottles of water consumed by Livraria employees gain new life and are now stepping on the floor of the Most Beautiful Bookstore in the World, at the feet of its booksellers.

Environmental, social and economic sustainability are the principles that guided Livraria Lello's latest project. What is considered the Most Beautiful Bookstore in the World launched the challenge and Luís Onofre and two national companies did not hesitate: the new uniform of Livraria Lello booksellers is 100% made in Portugal, with recycled and sustainable material. The result is consciously created shoes, t-shirts and sweatshirts.
The water bottles consumed by Livraria Lello employees are transformed into shoes that make up the booksellers' uniforms. The initiative is the result of an increasingly strong commitment by Livraria Lello: sustainable development.

Livraria Lello “dreams of a fairer, more dignified, more inclusive and more sustainable world and, therefore, seeks, in all its activity, to align with the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations. In this sense, we have implemented a sustainability strategy, which this new uniform is part of”, explains Livraria Lello administrator Aurora Pedro Pinto.

The idea was born several months ago. The implementation of the new sustainability strategy put an end to the purchase of water in plastic bottles, for daily consumption by Livraria Lello employees. But what to do with the hundreds of bottles still in stock? The answer came in a challenging tone to the Portuguese Footwear, Components, Leather Goods Manufacturers Association – APICCAPS, which promptly helped to find the ideal partners, aligned with Livraria Lello's values in terms of sustainability. Luís Onofre designed the sneakers, the creative director of Time magazine, DW Pine, designed the sweats and t-shirts at the invitation of Livraria Lello, and the companies Bolflex and Daily Day produced the elements for the new uniform.
Livraria Lello desafia Luís Onofre

To produce the 40 pairs of sneakers, Bolflex, one of the largest Portuguese companies in the soles area, which a few years ago created a recycling unit capable of transforming different materials, used 650 plastic bottles from Livraria Lello, to develop the soles and shoe applications, which use 100% vegetable-derived skin. Livraria Lello's uniform is complete with sweats and t-shirts produced by the national clothing brand Daily Day, made of long-fiber cotton – a natural, resistant and comfortable material – with knits designed and produced in Portugal.

In terms of image, the new uniform is inspired by the project "Livraria Lello X Time: What Makes a Nobel?", an artistic installation developed in conjunction with Time magazine, which is on display inside the bookstore. Thus, the shoes feature black and red accents; and the shirts, whose design is the responsibility of Time's creative director, D.W. Pine, highlight the authors who make up the offer on the first floor of Livraria Lello, totally dedicated to the theme of the Nobel Prizes for Literature. Each sweat and t-shirt features the name and the last two numbers of the birth year of an author chosen by the bookseller.

The production of garments and footwear followed the most demanding global sustainability rules, with a view to causing the least possible environmental impact.

This project thus materializes the mission assumed by Livraria Lello to promote sustainable development in all its aspects and intends to inspire the thousands of visitors who are daily received by booksellers who "dress the sweater" of sustainability, now in an absolutely literal way.


Photos: João Saramago