The 2015 “Pepsi Challenge” is strengthened this year by the “Ignite the Light” tour, featuring large-scale installations from global artists to raise awareness for communities lacking electricity. Designer Nicola Formichetti kickstarted this international showcase, collaborating with the Liter of Light organization to assemble the tour’s first public piece in Hong Kong. The sculpture—titled, “Ao Dress”—will be displayed for a limited time at the PMQ Courtyard, exploring the relationship between light and material. Formichetti cited Mother Nature as a core influence for his impressive creation, pulling from the ideas of renewal, birth and the light of infinite possibility to inspire the work.
We caught up with the Nicopanda visionary to discuss why he became a “Pepsi Challenge” ambassador, why he created “Ao Dress” and how exactly the installation was produced.
On the “Pepsi Challenge:”
“When Pepsi approached me to be an ambassador for the ‘Pepsi Challenge,’ I could immediately associate myself with it. The challenge is all about experiencing life, doing something different and giving people chances; I do that in my everyday life and in my work as a fashion creator, so it really resonated with me. Through the ‘Ignite the Light’ tour, I wanted to challenge myself to do something that I’d never done before. This art piece is a symbol of starting this war to help people in need. It was a big challenge for myself to create a sculpture made entirely from Pepsi bottles—something I’d never even thought about doing.”
On the “Ao Dress:”
“For me, it was mostly about love. I wanted to create something centered on the power of love and something that really reflected the charity. Liter of Light collects bottles, which is such a simple task that can provide all these incredible lights and make electricity for people in need. I knew I wanted to do something really simple that could still be powerful. That led to this idea of Mother Nature, the infinity of love and rebirth—the idea of creating this otherworldly silhouette. If I created a 3-D rendering of Mother Nature, this sculpture is what she’d look like to me. It’s very abstract imagery.”
On the process:
“I collaborated with this incredible studio in London called, ‘Studio XO,’ which I also worked with to create all the crazy outfits for Lady Gaga. They helped me with the technical side of this piece. We collected Pepsi bottles and first had to create a fabric, so we dissected all of them into these small shell-like triangles. We washed them and embossed them, and used 3-D printing to create other shapes for the bustier and shoulder piece. For the big skirt, I wanted something that was fluid, so we used this optical textile. The bottles at the bottom are a symbol of giving birth, from the bottles to the people. The dress is technical, but it also has a dream-like quality. I wanted it to have this feeling of liquidity—nothing too harsh. In the end, we created a giant floating female figure. We made the whole thing in London and transported it on the airplane to Hong Kong, where we built it on the spot.”