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Journey of Upcycling: The Start

ScrapUp is a passionate venture by two people avid about upcycling. Graduated out of professional courses of Architecture and Planning, the three of us went to different parts of India to face the harsh realities of the practical field aka “the real world” as opposed to the fancy professional course taught at the college. Or, so we heard. After a couple of stressful years of our respective jobs, we realized that there is still something missing. To fine that missing piece, the three of us came back together to our hometown, Delhi. Belonging to the generation of echo boomers, Pinterest is as important a part of our life as any social media platform. The idea of reusing things without increasing our carbon footprint, crossed our mind. We belong to the city of Delhi (India), where upcycling, especially furniture upcycling has not reached a whole lot of people. Sure, we Indians are not new to Upcycling, we have been following the practice of creative reuse since ages. Be it transforming your mother’s old saree into a new dress or quilt or bag OR incessant reuse of glass jars and containers. The youth in India is just trying to revive this old practice in different and innovative ways. Being from the architectural background, interior designing was very much a part of our professional as well as academic lives. And we loved the heart and core of interior designing, The Furniture!

“Don’t think out outside the box, think of what you can do with the box.”

-Unknown

Hence began the rampant research about Furniture Upcycling. We came across so many young Indian start-ups following the trend in different ways and using different materials. People are creating all kinds of things: clothes, bags, footwear, home decor products and what not. We came across a lot of inspirational stories and decided to stick to something we had knowledge about which was Furniture. The kind of Furniture upcycling (happening in the West) we saw on Pinterest was totally different from the kind of upcycling we had seen growing up which was the basic instinct of any Indian middle class family. That included reupholstering the sofas and the chairs and repainting of wooden furniture mostly. This was a great way to hold onto the ancestral furniture in your family or the furniture that had a wonderful story and you just couldn’t let go of it.

It is really sad that in India carpentry is not considered as a skill every person should know. It somehow is mostly prevalent among the labour class. So big DIY projects don’t exist as much as they exist outside India. Going by the understanding of Upcycling we had gathered by then, we started with our first project which was “A sofa” to be changed for a client. It involved major carpentry work as well as professional stitching, both of which we were unable to do ourselves so we had to hire people to do it for us. The project finished neatly, but then we realized it was a project that required skilled labour and the scale was too big for beginners like us. After that, another realization was that it was more of a “Refurbishment project” rather than an “Upcycling project”.

As introverted creatives, we were always apprehensive about a DIY project to be done for somebody else. But this time around, we finally decided to start without thinking and worrying so much about it. We went to our respective houses and searched for old furniture which could be upcycled. The further posts will be about our successful or unsuccessful attempts at that. The makeovers mentioned here represent:

  • Furniture that was not being used in the house because it was old and looked shabby
  • hours of roaming around in search of the material required
  • trial and error and a few failures and the success after them
  • experimentation with materials by amateur carpenters and painters (us!)
  • sweat, heart, and soul into every project

Hope you enjoy the further posts and maybe we can inspire you to upcycle the precious but old furniture at your house like we were!

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