Alchemy with rubbish: Making waste useful

Alchemy with rubbish: Making waste useful

By ANIRUDH VOHRA | | 9 January, 2016
Reuse and recycle doesn’t mean that your old soda and water bottles will be turned into new ones; neither does it mean that the old newspapers in your house will be turned into cardboard boxes. For there are several designers across the country who are taking these old discarded objects and turning them into jewelery, furniture, clothes and what not. If you can think it rest assured they have done it.
So you have a bunch of old watches and don’t know what to do with them. You don’t wish to throw them away as they hold a lot of sentimental value. Pay a visit to Abhishek Basak of Absynth designs who transforms old watches into pendants, earring, cufflinks, USB drives, masks or anything else you want. “These are timeless hand crafted watches, which are works of arts in themselves so throwing them away would be a waste. So turn them into anything that a client wants when we working on custom orders,” says Abhishek. 
And it’s not just watches that Abhishek works with. His designs include reclaimed wood, old typewriters watch parts and watches, rags of cloths and many other discarded objects. “It started as a hobby a few years ago but the tremendous response I got over the years forced me to quit my job and start working on this as a full time profession,” Basak said while working on an old gramophone which be soon turned into an entertainment center which will be able to play all kinds of music from Atracks to USB drives.
Basak sources his stuff from junk yards, auctions and any other place that deals in things that are no longer needed. His product line includes typewriters that have been turned into table lamps to I pad docks. Watches and reclaimed wood that have been turned into pen drives and several other wearable options. “I have started with clothes aswell now. Using old rags and turning them into corsets with watch parts that add details.”
Talking about his inspiration Abhishek says, “I’m deeply inspired by the Victorian age for that was the period when the industrial revolution started. So all the visible gears and springs have always caught my fancy. This form of design is called steam punk and is being done by several designers world over.”
“These are timeless hand crafted watches, which are works of arts in themselves so throwing them away would be a waste. So we turn them into anything that a client wants when we work on custom orders,”
If you think this is impressive the next designer will blow your mind for she turns old jute bags that carried kilograms of potatoes or onions in them into blazers and dinner jackets. Amrita Sharma a Jaipur based designer has been doing this for the past 2 years. She sources these old used bags and with help or her trusted team tailors turns them into wearable works of art.
“The idea came to me when we were shopping for my brother’s wedding and could not find something different and interesting.” Amrita who has no background in fashion and textile design says, “I don’t think a degree is necessary for I make what I would like to see my near and dear ones wear when I speak for men and in case of ladies I make what I’d like to wear.”       
Amrita’s designer range includes Jute blazers, jackets and over coats for men and shrugs, blazers, jackets, overcoats and boots for women. “The range of clothes is limited as yet to winter wear and color wise. For adding color will defeat the purpose of recycling. He have stuff in three colors for now sandy brown, tan and muddy brown,” said Amrita while sporting one of her own creations.
Amrita has now also included curtains, blankets, bed sheets and cushion covers to her product line. “The major cliental for the furnishings right now are a few themed restaurants and hotels. But the individual interest is on the rise as well.”   
So we have apparel, accessories and furnishings covered along with a few gadgets but what about furniture. Well you must have read or heard about people using old tires to make contemporary furniture. Well an Indore based designer, Varun Khanna, has just started a small boutique store that turns vehicle parts not just tires into furniture. Be it Lambretta scooter chair for offices or a couch made from the trunk or the bonnet of a car or a dining table from an old Yezdi motorcycle. 
“The furniture that once one could only see at clubs or in movies can now be placed in your living room,” says Varun. “My father had this old Fiat that was not in a working condition but the idea of selling it as scrap made him uncomfortable, so along with my mother, I turned it into a set of two couches and a table for his office. When my friends saw the final result they asked me do the same for them, and Old Fashioned (the name of Varun’s store) was born.”
If a few Indian designers whom we spoke to are so passionate about a few things and the planet, and are doing this you can imagine what people around the globe are upto.    

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