UP-Cycling made in South Africa

During my travels I see a lot of impressive designers, artists and architects. I enjoy so much what I find worldwide and love to share with you my latest discoveries. During my last trip to South Africa I also visited Capetown – one of my favorite towns – and had the chance to see the Watershed located close to Waterfront. Watershed is a lately renovated building offering a lot of space for designers and arists to present and sell their own manufactured products. It is like an exhibition hall with a fantastic atmosphere in a charming building.

The Watershed, Capetown, Southafrica

The Watershed, Capetown, Southafrica

I spent almost a full day at the Watershed, as I discovered unbelievable great products and designs. A huge number – maybe all – are local products and being manufactured with recycled materials. Here UP-Cycling reaches a new dimension.

I had the honour to get to know somebody who recycles Flip Flops and manufactures animals with the material. Those pieces show the passion of the designer for UP-cycling. I was impressed by the variety of beautiful animal designs. Have a look.

Also I saw guitars made of recycled oil cans. And I confirm that it was not only decoration but real music being played with it. Incredible. Watch it.

Last but not least I detected some wonderful figures handcrafted of recycled car parts. What a wonderful way of UP-cycling, isn’t it?

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Design and plastics – upcycling in Chile

When I travel I usually meet interesting people with impressive stories. In Chile I stayed in the hostel Escalera in Valparaiso. Gabriel, the host, a very nice and helpful guy told me his story about his passion. He is originally Chilean, grew up in Miami, USA and came back to Chile 6 years ago. He fell in love with Valparaiso and started his hostel Escalera. Then he stated that his favorite place and its beaches turned more and more into polluted places, overloaded with rubbish, a lot of plastic bottles and containers strand at the beaches. This was his motivation to start recycling those plastic bottles. When I write recycling those bottles what is behind it? He collects them and then melts them in an oven. He developed a certain technique to combine various sorts and colours of plastic, so that they smoothly flow together without creating bubbles with air. „It takes time “ he says, „but it is worth it. Like this I achieve a nice surface without bubbles and colorful patterns „. His plan is to build furniture. Therefore, the material needs to be resistant, smooth and flexibel in terms of colour variety. „You could customize the furniture you would like to have for your bathroom, living room or any other interior element you would like to have built. “

Finally, Gabriel is doing two things at the same time: collecting plastic bottles and recycling them by giving them a second life.

I think this is an admirable approach to build up business and I was quite impressed by his attitude.


Introduction: 2. ELÄMÄ – Upcycling of bike tubes

Just wandering around the fairgrounds of Tendence in Frankfurt I also visited the area Ecostyle, so anything which is being produced and designed under fair conditions. One small booth attracted my attention: it was showing jewelry all in black. When getting closer I saw that it was made out of rubber material in combination with metal and immediately recognized it: all jewelry was manufactured of recycled bike tubes.
I spoke to Jaime de Vizcaya, the designer, who introduced his brand „2. ELÄMÄ“ to me. It is all about Upcycling – giving a 2nd life to worn out products, still keeping addicted to nice designs. And it is about responsibility towards environment – sustainable materials. Bike tubes are made of rubber and very elastic. Therefore, a fine and flexible material usable for various things – in this case especially for jewelry. The brand originally is from Finland. Frankfurt is their platform to expand 2. ELÄMÄ on international level.
Cross fingers! I love this special jewelry!
Take a look…