Back in the ‘good-old’ days…after the Industrial Revolution, new technologies, new materials and seemingly endless energy sources made it more profitable to create brand new products from scratch rather than repair and reuse old ones. Over time, things got so bad that manufacturers even started ‘stimulating’ the economy by ensuring that goods broke down or went out of style as quickly as possible to keep consumers coming back again and again. Of course from a sustainability perspective this is deplorable because new resources are continually needed to make newer models, and more often than not, the old product materials aren’t reused and end up polluting ecosystems and clogging up landfills.
Fortunately times have changed; global climate change, the economic downturn, depleting energy sources and environmental sensitivity have caused a total shift in what we value and see as important. More recently, this has seen us being more careful with our raw materials and belongings especially with the ‘make-do and mend’ philosophy.
Upcycling is one better. It’s an approach to fabrication that transforms something to be thrown away into something better. It prevents the wasting of potentially useful ‘old’ materials and reduces the build-up of what we see as ‘rubbish’. The process isn’t even particularly new; Henry Ford practiced an early form of upcycling when used the wooden crates his car parts were shipped in as vehicle floorboards. It’s a philosophy still well-grounded in less well-off societies across parts of India and Africa where nothing is really thrown away. Instead materials are recovered, repaired and reused simply because there are often no replacements available and it’s cheaper than buying something new. It’s the ultimate in sustainability because it reduces the carbon footprint result from extracting and processing new materials round the world.
As a number of countries see an upturn in their economic fortunes, many old houses are being newly renovated – old is being replaced with new. This is great for us here at Scaramanga. ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ is definitely a philosophy that inspires us when we visit the back-street recycling and upcycling warehouses. How can we not be inspired by the mountains of precious broken antique teak furniture, wooden trunks, and wobbly old wooden benches? The disused cast iron fittings and the discarded antique window frames which can all be reincarnated into something beautiful for our homes while not placing an unnecessary strain on the planet’s resources.
How innovative is this up cycled chicken coop table?!
This distinctive metal and wood ornate vintage table has a great backstory. In its previous life in rural India, the blue metal lattice structure was once used as a chicken coop. The handmade lattice formed a dome-shaped home for the owner’s domestic chicken. That was many decades ago. Today, a thick teak table-top has been added and the cage upturned to produce this stunning decorative table with internal storage space.
Another fabulous recycled item we have is this wonderful colourful vintage truck sign salvaged from a lorry in Rajasthan (Northern India) which would make a great upcycled wall art hanging. A great feature for decorating a living room, hallway wall or perhaps the interior of a contemporary retail environment.
If you were to travel around rural India you’d see very large beaten-up lorries and trucks rumbling about on the roads identified by these large iconic signage banners. These rainbows of hand-painted colours are amongst India’s most cheerful and iconic sights.
We hope we have shown how shopping with sustainability in mind does not mean compromising on style. Sustainability is becoming more and more entwined in our everyday life and our interiors should be no different. Take a look over on scaramangashop.co.uk and see how our vintage furniture and interiors can add some eco-friendly inspiration for your home makeovers.