Upcycling: how our artisans are pushing the BOUNDARIES OF sustainable luxury

It is said that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and it’s never been more true than when it comes to upcycling, where waste is converted into new products that are superior to the original.

This differs from traditional recycling, which involves taking consumer waste (usually plastic, paper, metal or glass) and breaking it down before turning it into a reusable product. The conventional environmental trope of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle has evolved into Upcycle, Repurpose, Reuse—bringing a second life to products or materials that would have otherwise been discarded. 

UPCYCLING CAN BE TRACED BACK TO EARLY HUMANS

The history of upcycling can actually be traced back to early humans, when the reuse and “upcycling” of materials and products was an essential part of life. The idea was taken mainstream when architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart published the book “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things”, in 2002.

The book was printed with soy-based ink on plastic pages and the ink could be removed, allowing another book to be printed on the pages or the plastic to be upcycled into an equal or higher quality product. In order to achieve sustainability in the face of the global trash epidemic, limited resources, and other environmental challenges, McDonough and Braungart called on designers and innovators across industries to remake the way we make things.  

HOW OUR PARTNERS ARE SETTING THE STANDARD IN SUSTAINABLE LUXURY

At Obakki, sustainability is at the core of everything we do and our artisan partners are dedicated to creating timeless pieces that are made to last and be cherished, while reducing their environmental impact.

HANDCRAFTING JEWELRY FROM UPCYCLED HORN AND WOOD

In Kibera, one of the world’s most impoverished communities, our design partners create beautiful products from scraps found throughout the city. Using pieces of upcycled animal horn and discarded wood, these talented makers are utilizing their craft to create a new future for themselves while reducing the impact on the environment.

Slim Flat-top Ring Jewelry 18K Gold Plated 5
Slim Flat-top Ring Jewelry 18K Gold Plated 5
Slim Flat-top Ring Jewelry Silver Plated 5

Slim Flat-top Ring

$85.00
Wave Bangle Jewelry
Wave Bangle Jewelry
Wave Bangle Jewelry
Wave Bangle Jewelry Silver Plated
Wave Bangle Jewelry 18K Gold Plated
Wave Bangle Jewelry

Wave Bangle

$125.00
Track Ring Jewelry 18K Gold Plated 5
Track Ring Jewelry 18K Gold Plated 5
Track Ring Jewelry Silver Plated 5
Track Ring Jewelry 18K Gold Plated 5
Track Ring Jewelry Silver Plated 5

Track Ring

$110.00
Wave Ring Jewelry 18K Gold Plated 5
Wave Ring Jewelry 18K Gold Plated 5
Wave Ring Jewelry Silver Plated 5
Wave Ring Jewelry
Wave Ring Jewelry Silver Plated 5

Wave Ring

$85.00

HAND-FORGING JEWELRY AND HOME OBJECTS MADE FROM 100% UPCYCLED BRASS

Sylvester is a master blacksmith in Kenya whose designs use existing disposable materials and he skillfully reworks them into unique fine jewellery creations. Sylvester's collection of brass jewelry and home objects are made from 100% upcycled brass—discarded taps, padlocks, and old coins that would have otherwise ended up in the junkyard. With a design-led aesthetic, Sylvester skillfully remakes these existing materials into beautiful, one-of-a-kind creations.

Square Signet Ring Jewelry 18K Gold Plated 5.5
Square Signet Ring Jewelry 18K Gold Plated 5.5
Square Signet Ring Jewelry
Square Signet Ring Jewelry Brass 6
Square Signet Ring Jewelry
Square Signet Ring Jewelry Silver Plated 5.5

Square Signet Ring

$110.00
Chunky Hammered Ring Jewelry
Chunky Hammered Ring Jewelry
Chunky Hammered Ring Jewelry
Chunky Hammered Ring Jewelry Brass 6
Chunky Hammered Ring Jewelry 18K Gold Plated 5.5
Chunky Hammered Ring Jewelry Silver Plated 5.5

Chunky Hammered Ring

$110.00
Round Signet Ring Jewelry
Round Signet Ring Jewelry
Round Signet Ring Jewelry Silver Plated 5
Round Signet Ring Jewelry Brass 6
Round Signet Ring Jewelry
Round Signet Ring Jewelry 18K Gold Plated 5

Round Signet Ring

$110.00
Slim ID Bracelet Jewelry
Slim ID Bracelet Jewelry
Slim ID Bracelet Jewelry
Slim ID Bracelet Jewelry Brass
Slim ID Bracelet Jewelry 18K Gold Plated
Slim ID Bracelet Jewelry Silver Plated

Slim ID Bracelet

$125.00

CREATING WOVEN ART FROM TEXTILE WASTE

Our weaving partners from Querétaro create truly sustainable products using textile waste, upcycled raw cotton, and fiber from a Sansevieria plant to create unique and timeless objects for the home. This shift from a linear to circular economy ensures that artisans are offered opportunities to continue growing their business in a way that benefits the environment where they work.

Whether they’re melting down existing metals to create something new or using components of old jewellery to make new pieces, or taking textile waste to create stunning wall pieces, these creative minds are setting the standard in sustainable luxury. 

Recycled Raw Cotton Christmas Ornament - 3 Sizes Wall Hangings
Recycled Raw Cotton Christmas Ornament - 3 Sizes Wall Hangings
Recycled Raw Cotton Christmas Ornament - 3 Sizes Wall Hangings
Recycled Raw Cotton Christmas Ornament - 3 Sizes Wall Hangings
Recycled Raw Cotton Christmas Ornament - 3 Sizes Wall Hangings Natural/Cream Small (2.5
Recycled Raw Cotton Christmas Ornament - 3 Sizes Wall Hangings

Recycled Raw Cotton Christmas Ornament - 3 Sizes

$22.00
Tassel Wall Hanging Accents + Decor Natural
Tassel Wall Hanging Accents + Decor Natural
Tassel Wall Hanging Accents + Decor
Tassel Wall Hanging Accents + Decor Natural/Black/Green
Tassel Wall Hanging Accents + Decor

Tassel Wall Hanging

$275.00
Handwoven Holiday Wreath - Small Wall Hangings Natural/Gold
Handwoven Holiday Wreath - Small Wall Hangings Natural/Gold
Handwoven Holiday Wreath - Small Wall Hangings
Handwoven Holiday Wreath - Small Wall Hangings

Handwoven Holiday Wreath - Small

$285.00
Danzante Sculpture | Short Accents + Decor Natural/Black
Danzante Sculpture | Short Accents + Decor Natural/Black
Danzante Sculpture | Short Accents + Decor
Danzante Sculpture | Short Accents + Decor
Danzante Sculpture | Short Accents + Decor

Danzante Sculpture | Short

$375.00

THE FUTURE OF UPCYCLING 

As upcycling continues to evolve, the idea of deconstructing and recombining waste products to create luxury craft items remains a cornerstone of our approach to slow design. We are proud to partner with these innovators to bring you contemporary pieces, thoughtfully designed with waste and exquisitely created, that are steeped in tradition and sustainability. And we can’t wait for you to welcome them into your home.

Related Posts

DESIGNER INTERVIEW SERIES: BRIAN MCCOURT

Brian McCourt is an HGTV star and the founder of Toronto-based Brian McCourt Design Build. We spoke with Brian about his thoughts on sustainability in design, his favourite Obakki products and more.

DESIGNER INTERVIEW SERIES: FALKEN REYNOLDS

Falken Reynolds Interiors is a leading Vancouver Design firm and is the creation of Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds. These two magnanimous designers are featured in our inaugural piece for our new Designer Interview Series.

AT THE TABLE WITH TREANA: SETTING THE EUROPEAN TABLE

It’s al fresco dining season again and we’re back with Treana’s signature style for summer – a blend of food, drink, and tableware to make your outside time outstanding. Warm summer breezes, chilled rosé, and simple, Mediterranean appetizers set this stunning European table.