No room for waste


No room  for waste

When a cycle gets rusty and weathered, most people think of taking it to a scrapyard and exchanging it for some loose change. Rarely does it cross the mind to salvage what’s left and rebuild something from the scrap. But when Tariq Merchant and Padmini Prabhu look at these so-called ‘disposables’ around them, they see art and a possibly bright future.

‘Up-PSYcled’, as the name suggests (with the added twist), is a start-up of upcycled products made by the duo. They make sustainable and cost-effective home decor from the “random ideas” that spring to their minds.

It all began three months ago with a BMX cycle that lay unused at their place.    “We didn’t know what to do with it so Tariq had this idea to turn it into a chandelier. He got a paper cutter, punched holes into the tyres, spray painted it black and orange and even got spare parts for it.

It became something bigger than it started out to be and he couldn’t stop thinking about it,” says Padmini. After a few visits to a scrapyard, Tariq came back with Sumo tyres. “He had  plans of making seats out of them. I thought he would place cushions in there but instead he drilled holes and tied ropes. Most people don’t think of such ideas,” she adds.

Describing their products as ‘grungy’ yet ‘classy’, Padmini says they see art in things that people tend to abandon. “If there’s a plastic bottle lying in the house, we think of  making it into something useful, like a candle holder or a makeshift lamp.” Tariq adds that they decided to specialise in home decor because he likes to infuse creativity into his living space. “I’m not very brand conscious so I would rather get a carpenter and get my own designs done. I believe Bengaluru is getting that way – artistes and entrepreneurs have a wider platform to showcase their work through flea markets and websites, and they have customers.”

Another product that is a favourite with the customers is the hammock. Unlike the run-of-the-mill knit hammocks, ‘Up-PSYcled’ makes a three-piece one from cloth.    “It can hold a lot of weight (not that the other types can’t). This one is unknown to people,” says Padmini.

   They also sell bowls and pencil stands made from paper. This is something Padmini took to when she was on a sabbatical. “I had taken some time off last year and that’s when Tariq suggested I try my hand at recycled paper art. I did a lot of research – I went on to ‘Pinterest’, started talking to people and collecting ideas. Gradually, I started making things; I’d spend six to eight hours a day making new things. Now, when I look at things, I think ‘art’!” she says.

The two try to upcycle and reuse as much as possible. Tariq says, “I don’t have a belt so right now, I’m using carabiner hooks to keep my pant up!”

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