The Art Paris fair brought together 130 modern and contemporary art galleries from 7 to 10 April 2022 at the Grand Palais Éphémère, Paris. Directed by Guillaume Piens and organised by France Conventions, the fair took advantage of its 25th anniversary to take a strong turn in terms of environmental commitment. In addition to highlighting the theme of the environment in the work of artists, the fair set out to entirely rethink the event’s production with the aim of reducing its environmental impact.

The agency Karbone Prod, founded by Fanny Legros (a former director of the Jérôme Poggi Gallery in Paris) and the firm Solinnen, whose co-founder, the engineer Philippe Osset, has been a pioneer of eco-design for the last 30 years, in collaboration with the association Art of Change 21*, set up Art Paris’ eco-design approach and carried out a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the fair, a global first for an art fair.


List of life cycle analysis impact categories

Based on the first life cycle analysis of the 2021 edition, 40 actions were implemented in record time to enable the 2022 edition to have some convincing results.

Art Paris has just published the results obtained by this approach between 2021 and 2022:

  • Reduction of almost half the quantity of waste produced, with a decrease from 25.1 tonnes to 13.6 tonnes 
  • Reduction of electricity consumption by 37.2% (61,666 kWh in 2021 compared to 38,691 kWh in 2022). 
  • A smaller carbon footprint: 80,791 KgCO2eq in 2021 compared to 64 217 KgCO2eq in 2022
  • Moreover, thanks to the actions carried out throughout the year, 12 tonnes of materials were reused or recycled in 2022 rather than being thrown away as during previous editions. Notably: The brushed cotton used to cover the picture hanging systems at the fair – 7 tonnes were transformed into insulation to be used in the building industry by Minot recyclage (Lille); Carpeting at the fair (4.3 tonnes) was collected by ArtStock to be sold at a reduced price to organisations or people who need it. 

Meatless catering and no plastic bottles were also introduced, actions that may seem symbolic but which demonstrate a wider paradigm shift.

The process is well and truly underway today and this sustainable design-based approach to organising the fair will continue in 2023 and onwards. Crucially, this survey has proved that sustainable design is widely accessible, including to arts professionals.

For Fanny Legros, founder of Karbone Prod, “the Life Cycle Assessment allows us to go into the details of the production of an art fair and to rethink the processes as a whole and in a circular way”. For Guillaume Piens, director of Art Paris, “It was essential for us to take immediate and concrete measures to avoid any greenwashing as soon as the results of the life cycle analysis were in.”

This pioneering approach also received financial support from ADEME, the French Agency for Ecological Transition, and aims in the longer term to develop a scalable eco-design tool for all art fairs.

Although the scope of the analysis did not include the transportation of artworks or visitors, this first step demonstrates that acting on environmental issues can quickly produce encouraging results.
Art fairs are finally doing their part in the environmental transition of culture…it was time!

Alice Audouin

Impact Art News May/June 2022

*publisher of Impact Art News