Second life: Environment-friendly accent pieces

When discarded saris become luxe carpets and waste paper is fashioned into furniture

Discarded silk, papier-mâché and dried vegetables. They are not the typical materials you would expect to find in furniture and accent pieces, but these three Indian brands are constantly innovating and keeping their production cycles inclusive. Unique and environment-friendly, they make for a good year-end investment.

Second life: Environment-friendly accent pieces

Roja Carpet in sari silk: Mishcat Co

To Rhode Island School of Design graduate, Ishrat Sahgal, the carpet cannot be an afterthought. “The idea is to make it the centre-point in the design of a room,” she explains. Sourcing fine woven silk from South India — unused extra pieces discarded by sari-weavers that might otherwise end up in landfills — the five-year-old company employs around 40 independent artisans from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to weave this yarn with wool or cotton to create unique, richly-coloured carpets and dhurries. “We started with eight weavers and we consciously work with independent artisans, though it would have been easier to start a factory! The yarn from the fabrics is taken out, grouped by colour and the artisans participate in choosing how to use them in weaving the carpet,” says Sahgal. From ₹25,000 onwards, on mishcatco.com

Second life: Environment-friendly accent pieces

Cardboard sofas and gourd lamps: Sylvn Studio

Helmed by Mumbai-based artist Bandana Jain, Sylvn Studio offers lamps made from corrugated cardboard. But some of the stunners at the studio are the ones made with dried gourds. “These lampshades are directly sourced from artisans in Madhya Pradesh. The bottle gourds are cleaned out and dried, before different patterns are carved into them,” says Jain, adding that gourds are even used as water bottles in some places in India. The studio also offers furniture — stools and shelves — and wall and table lamps, all featuring their signature corrugated paper boards. “It is durable, as it is used to make shipping boxes. I first made a sofa with them when I was decorating my new home about six years ago, and I still use it. I like leaving the cardboard as is, without painting, because the natural beige hue has its own charm,” she adds. From ₹2,799 (paper products) and ₹3,899 (gourd lamps), on sylvnstudio.com

Second life: Environment-friendly accent pieces

Paper stools: Pulp Factory

Ever imagined a stool, coffee table or bookshelf crafted entirely from paper? Assam-based Spriha Chokhani of Pulp Factory is doing just that, with her papier-mâché furniture. An internship in Auroville — where she experimented with paper — and over two weeks spent with artisans in Kashmir helped her understand the underutilised potential of the medium. “This material has been used in the past to make bullets and boats. It’s surprisingly strong and very versatile and, of course, biodegradable,” says Chokhani, who started her brand in 2014. “All our furniture — with clean lines to familiarise customers with the medium — is made from waste paper pulp, plant-based glue and painted with natural colours,” she adds, elaborating that their push to stay sustainable has even seen them making their joints with papier-mâché. She is also working on creating textile, for handbags and accessories, with paper pulp. “That will be under our sister brand, Pick from Pulp,” she says. From ₹2,000 onwards, on worldartcommunity.com/shops/pulpfactory

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