A rmed with a Master’s degree in Built Environment in Sustainable Development from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Alankrita Soni joined an architecture firm in India with the hope of furthering her dream of applying environment-friendly architectural practices at work.
But her dreams were dashed because the interiors market wanted “something that sells”. While Alankrita was struggling to give shape to her ideas, her colleague Smita Dixit Mehra (who had a Master’s in Environment Design from the University of Sheffield, UK) was in a similar situation.
Together, the two young architects decided to push the boundaries and bring environment-friendly designs into modern Indian homes. Their dialogue snowballed into an exhibition of 20 things made from waste material such as cycle tyre rims, car tyre rims, PVC pipes and utensil scrub.
‘Dreamatix’ was held at the India Habitat Centre recently. Visitors found it hard to believe that a beautiful wall mirror could be made out of waste PVC pipes, that a jelly-fish shaped light came from utensil scrub, a garden light with hanging sparrows and a chair in the shape of dancing peacock, from cycle tyre rims.
Their lifestyle products, addressing burning issues like environmental degradation, global warming and climate change through art, were divided into four categories: The Marine Life, The Plant Life, The Animal Life and the Change in Climate.
“Having drawn our inspiration from the market abroad, we wished to highlight the concept of green architecture in India,” says Alankrita. Smita says, “But we wanted to do this in a creative way. Waste has been used by people to create products but we wanted a platform – of market acceptability. So we zeroed in on utility art pieces.”
In designing their work, Alankrita and Smita, took into consideration the space crunch in modern homes and worked on a few functional options using scrap – the sunflower-inspired table and chair made out of waste car tyres were examples.
The other works were equally innovative but not always functional. The peacock crafted on a white board, made out of pistachio shells, was intricate. “Once we started making products out of scrap, almost everything that our eyes fell on, became part of our creation such as the utensil scrub!
We wanted to use electric wires too but we couldn’t source them. In the beginning it was a herculean task to search for scrap material, but now it’s easy, we know almost all the kabaadiwallahs of Delhi and NCR!” Alankrita chuckles.
It’s clear that these architects have been able to give a vent to their creativity in a market-friendly way!