“Madam mast dikhta hai” (madam it looks fantastic!) says the weaver , who actually migrated to Mumbai to earn a living for his family, doing something totally unconnected to his true skills- that of weaving!
What an amazing thing this world wide web is. As we trawled through one exciting site after another, we came across this really catchy and considered design and development studio on a social media platform which works with discarded waste materials.
So from Toronto we travel to the bustling city of Mumbai, where a textile designer Anu Vieira Tandon runs the concept studio- The Retyrement Plan.
We have been following this studio’s progress for some time and finally got an opportunity to speak to Anu one fine British summer day.
Anu has had an established career as a Textile Designer for more years than she can remember. While speaking to us over the phone this is what she said:
-I am a designer by profession and 4 years ago, I had one of those “What have I done with my life? moments. Also “˜What do I want to do with my life?” followed. Surprisingly, the answer was not that difficult. I decided to make a difference.
Not knowing that this effort of hers will grow into something truly spectacular, she elaborates that she wanted to make a small difference with few of the urban craftsmen that she had often been in touch with during her several years as a designer.
Her keen sense of observation led her to notice that there was a lot of industrial waste in a place like Mumbai: “As it is not economically viable to reuse this waste, it ends up in landfills. Production waste like paper, fabric, plastic, used tyres and a lot of other perfectly good material (in my eyes) ends up adding to the ever increasing garbage problem and subsequently to the increasing environmental issues.”
Anu saw an opportunity to turn this waste into something beautiful and functional. This would serve the purpose of using up waste while contributing to the preservation of environment in her own way.
She started looking around for byproducts made from waste material and her search led to the most exciting product: this beautiful rope made out of textile and tailoring waste, that are handmade in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Given that the rope is fashioned from diverse waste each strand is a rainbow of colours. Anu wanted to give it the same respect and refinement as she would any expensive raw material.
She didn’t have to travel very far to look for skilled cane weavers for her designs. She found a group of weavers from far flung places like Assam, Bihar, Karnataka within her work vicinity.
“Using materials such as cane, bamboo and old tyres intricately woven over with waste rope, and a high level of design input, we came out with our first The Retyrement plan product, the first of a line of well designed and detailed contemporary furniture for the urban market” explains Anu.
The emphasis is on producing beautifully designed and woven pieces of furniture, without compromise, and finding markets that value them, and are willing to integrate these Upcycled furniture in their environment. A weaver can take 2-3 days for a pouffe and 4-6 days to weave a chair.
The furniture is both outdoor & indoor use and includes pouffes, cane chairs, planters, mirrors, cat scratch pads etc, all using recycled materials and traditional weaving skills, married to modern design. Every piece is distinct, giving buyers a sense of unique ownership.
Applauds to the team of The Retyrement Plan and Anu Veira Tandon for this initiative.
Imbyou wishes The Retyrement Plan a lot of success. A studio practice with a design ethos for a better future is not for the faint hearted. Salute!
For more details click here The Retyrement Plan