It is always inspiring to come across extraordinary eco-friendly decorative accessories that have a unique history and are created from items that are headed to the incinerator or landfill. During my latest trek to the High Point market, I discovered one such source, Studio A, a Global Views company. They offer an array of accessories from all over the world that have been given a new purpose from what they were originally designed to be. Some artifacts need a new home in which to shine just as they are, while other accessories are constructed from re-purposed materials that metamorphose into something entirely new. In addition to giving new life to old objects, Studio A is also pioneering the manufacture of decorative accessories composed of environmentally sound ingredients such as “Compoclay”.
As I toured the showroom with one of the owners, she revealed some of the fascinating stories that many of the accessories harbor. The back story that I found most intriguing was the one told about the textured wall panels devised from creosote-free railroad ties, or “slippers”. These environmentally sound objects, originally part of the subcontinental Indian railway system built by the British in the 19th and early 20th centuries, were constructed from hardwoods harvested from nearby Burma’s forests. Now that these obsolete structures are being replaced by concrete and steel, Studio A has found a wonderful way to craft those railroad ties into rustically handsome decorative accessories, consequently rescuing them from becoming air-polluting fuel. Group them together as a work of art as pictured—they would also make a stunning headboard.
Why embellish your space with common place accessories, when almost any informal interior can be brightened with artifacts not seen just anywhere. Think what conversation starters some of these items would be, from old weathered water pulleys used for drawing water from wells, animal shaped Mayan slingshots, Asian Tuk-Tuk horns salvaged from motorcycle taxi cabs, rare iron weight sets formerly used by shopkeepers to counter balance their scales, to vintage sugar molds employed on plantations in the Caribbean. Each of these artifacts have a story of their own to tell and reflect a culture that is sometimes very different from our own. For instance, Mayan vessels from Guatemala glow with the patina of 25 to 50 years of being used to store water and grains. Iron bowls fromAsiaonce used to haul concrete and other building materials at construction sites could now deck out a coffee or dining table. Reclaimed hardwood “corbels” that were originally used to decorate the eaves of wooden structures throughoutIndia, now add mystery and flair to chairs and tables.
Not all of Studio-A’s product is re-purposed, but made of eco-conscious materials. For instance the waste from the manufacture of modular bamboo homes now serves as furnishings and wall panels in the new Sidney collection featured above. Inspired by mid-century design masters, each item is constructed of cross cut bamboo to create a compelling pattern and texture with a Natural or Mineral finish.
Renewable quarter sawn mango is used in the fabrication of the checkerboard patterned pieces in the Juxtapose collection. Available in two colorways, Blossom or Marine, the large storage cubes can also serve as occasional tables or stools. Who knew that recycled tins and drink cans cut, formed, and nailed to a wooden substructure could evolve into whimsically colorful works of art? They bring to mind patchwork quilts sewn by the mountain women of theAppalachians.
Studio A is the first accessory vendor to use “Compoclay” in the manufacture of decorative sculptures and objects. This revolutionary composition made primarily of minerals, water and sand can emulate wood, metal, stone or ceramic without sacrificing durability and safety. This green alternative was used to create the exquisite volcanic flower reproductions pictured below. These rare flowers, called the “roses of hell” by the ancient Mayans, grow on the volcanic slopes of Guatemala and are cast from original specimens collected by the local natives.
Perhaps one of these decorative items will inspire you to create your own “re-purposed” accessory for your home or office. Before sending unwanted items to the dump, rethink their use. If you have absolutely no need for them, please consider calling an organization, such as Re-Store, and donate them. Just remember that “ones man’s trash can be another man’s treasure”.