Reinventing Oriental Carpets: Golran at Milan’s Design Week

Golran reinterprets oriental carpets with a perfect mix between expert technique skills and sensitivity. It has taken a new contemporary turn with this new Kilim collection designed by BertJan Pot under the direction of Francesca Avossa Studio.

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The new generation at Golran is driven by a contemporary approach that began several years ago. This approach aims to promote research, while also conveying a new company spirit.

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A collaboration with the Francesca Avossa Studio two years ago allowed for a redesign of the brand. This led to the development of a new identity that would unite the various activities of the brand, and create a cohesive message in both publicity and collections.

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After the revolutionary Carpet Reloaded collection, whose innovation has been the engine of the company’s repositioning, Golran decided to invest further in contemporary collections.

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The first two collections designed by Isabella Sodi – “Memories” and “Shadows” – preceded the collaboration with the studio of Francesca Avossa; a former consultant for several companies, including as artistic director of the brand’s collections at Ligne Roset.

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The new editorial line has been designed in harmony with the spirit of Golran: reminiscent of the East, with traditional and artisanal know-how, using a contemporary approach to décor and a particular style of transgression.

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Around the World in 80 Chairs: Metal Pipe Chair, San Francisco CA

A chair made from old metal pipes and radiators in a shop in downtown San Francisco, California.
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Joost Gehem’s Transformation & Distribution Centre for Abandoned Household Items

The Eindhoven based designer, Joost Gehem, stumbled upon an eco-friendly design process almost by accident. While he had a long standing interest in recycling and sustainable life styles, he came across re-purposing materials from an unusual angle.

Joost Gehem stools

Joost Gehem stools

His research into recycling waste brought his attention to statistics affecting our society, such as the number of deaths, divorces, bankruptcies and the amount of elderly people needing to move to retirement homes. When he considered what may link these statistics, he came to an interesting conclusion – household items. These often tragic and life changing events often result in discarded or unwanted objects, as houses are sold or cleared out.

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The original and end product

Joost started to wonder what happened to these objects and where they ended up. After searching the internet he realised he could obtain the entire contents of a house that people no longer wanted. Many of these unwanted objects were the result of deaths and divorce, but he was also interested in the people who simply wanted to change or update the interior of their homes.

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He says:

“I could hardly believe how cheap a complete interior could be and how much of it you could obtain in this way. I began to see it as a material and I envisioned a little factory in my mind. What if I could create products out of this unwanted material. “

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carpet close up

Close up bottom of the stool

He saw this material as almost a raw material that would be re-purposed and remoulded into a different form, changing its appearance and consistency to give it a new life cycle.

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The upper mould

Ready to press

Pressing the stool

At first he was a little concerned about what the grieving friends or family think. Whether they would welcome the possibility that objects once belonging to their deceased friend or family member would be broken down into a pulp and be reused as a material to create a new product.

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The mould

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Tool

However after presenting his idea to the son of an elderly widower from whom he was buying the entire 1960s interior of a house, he realised that many people would welcome the reuse of these objects. Reshaping and transforming these old pieces of furniture and household items, gives them a new meaning and a new purpose when they have become obsolete.

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Taking the top of stool out of the mould

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Joost working on one of his stools, spinning it around.

Joost explains:

“So some people think it’s about recycling or up-cycling etc. I can’t disagree with that, but I did not start this process as an engineer, I’m not qualified to do that. I looked at the process from a different perspective, I focused on the powerful life events like death, divorce, etc. these things happen a lot all over the world. Most importantly I can relieve the ‘owner’ of the product in a considerate/air/appropriate way and create a new usable product ‘life cycle’. That’s my first priority.”

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Joost believes in the importance of improving our lifestyle in general, changing the way we live and consume. His products not only provide a solution for unwanted objects resulting from a change of circumstances, but they also provide a way to gain value from something that has possibly been deemed to be worthless. By creating a new product he can change the aesthetics and the purpose of the product itself giving it an completely new lease of life. For more information visit the Transformation & Distribution Centre for Abandoned Household Items.

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Upcycling, Downcycling, Recycling – What’s the Difference?

When I first heard the term ‘upcycle’ I thought people were talking about biking up a hill, when someone tried to explain the meaning of this new term I thought why not just stick to the word ‘recycle’. So is ‘upcycling’ really a word? If it is what is the difference between ‘upcycling’ and ‘recycling’??

Let me explain a bit about the meaning of upcycling. Generally there are two ways to recycle – upcycling and downcycling. Upcycling aims to make use of existing materials, reusing these in a way that will add value without using up new raw materials.

This is the opposite of downcycling which involves extracting valuable materials from the product to create a lower quality result. Recycling on an industrial scale usually consists of the latter, but upcycling is becoming more popular especially among young artists and designers.

I am even getting the bug at home, converting old pieces of furniture into shelving or books into chair legs. My flatmate obviously stops me at a point to prevent the house looking like a flea market, but you get the idea..

I’m trying my best at some DIY and creating some artistic pieces of practical furniture. My personal favourite is our very own upcycled toilet/plant pot.

As the upcycling trend continues to spread, from furniture to fashion design, I am beginning to wonder whether I will ever have to shop again. I keep finding beautiful things in my own home I can make use of to make something quirky yet functional.

Working on the things you already have doesn’t only limit what you throw away but it also improves what you choose to keep.

Chandeliers from the Cape Peninsula

While visiting South Africa I came across some beautiful art and design projects, I was particularly struck by the chandeliers created by Riaan Chambers.

He produces unique, innovative and beautiful chandeliers fashioned from recycled glass, crystals, shells, horn and any object that takes his fancy.

The style ranges from Romantic to the ultra chic and I am amazed by the sheer volume of his work.

The variety is also enormous. Some incorporate vibrant colours lit up in the form of a long dangling glass chandelier, while others are more elegant and minimalist with a simple white finish.

There are also numerous smaller mobile pieces that incorporate shells and other organic materials.

Others are a combination, but the different shapes and sizes allows his work to fit into very different surroundings according to the particular style.

He predominantly uses recycled materials such as glass taken from old windscreens.

These magnificent pieces have a strong effect on their surroundings, setting the mood for a space. Their impact can often be somewhat overwhelming.

The colours and the materials combined with the size makes his work very impressive.

His chandeliers are displayed in commercial buildings, restaurants, hotels, as well as in residential properties.