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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.

18K Gold Plated Horn Inset Ring | Obakki
18K Gold Plated Horn Inset Ring | Obakki
Silver Plated Horn Inset Ring | Obakki
Brass Horn Inset Ring | Obakki
 Horn Inset Ring | Obakki
 Horn Inset Ring | Obakki
 Horn Inset Ring | Obakki

Horn Inset Ring

$110.00
Mottled Reclaimed Horn Bangle (Set of 2) | Obakki
Mottled Reclaimed Horn Bangle (Set of 2) | Obakki
 Reclaimed Horn Bangle (Set of 2) | Obakki
 Reclaimed Horn Bangle (Set of 2) | Obakki
 Reclaimed Horn Bangle (Set of 2) | Obakki
 Reclaimed Horn Bangle (Set of 2) | Obakki

Reclaimed Horn Bangle (Set of 2)

$35.00
Natural/Gold Circular Horn Ring | Natural | Obakki
Natural/Gold Circular Horn Ring | Natural | Obakki
Natural/Silver Circular Horn Ring | Natural | Obakki
 Circular Horn Ring | Natural | Obakki
Natural/Brass Circular Horn Ring | Natural | Obakki

Circular Horn Ring | Natural

$55.00
18K Gold Plated Horn Inset Studs | Obakki
18K Gold Plated Horn Inset Studs | Obakki
Silver Plated Horn Inset Studs | Obakki
 Horn Inset Studs | Obakki
 Horn Inset Studs | Obakki
Brass Horn Inset Studs | Obakki

Horn Inset Studs

$80.00

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.

18K Gold Plated Square Signet Ring | Obakki
18K Gold Plated Square Signet Ring | Obakki
Silver Plated Square Signet Ring | Obakki
Brass Square Signet Ring | Obakki

Square Signet Ring

$95.00
18K Gold Plated Looped Oval Earrings | Obakki
18K Gold Plated Looped Oval Earrings | Obakki
Silver Plated Looped Oval Earrings | Obakki
Brass Looped Oval Earrings | Obakki
 Looped Oval Earrings | Obakki

Looped Oval Earrings

$105.00
18K Gold Plated Spiral Ring | Obakki
18K Gold Plated Spiral Ring | Obakki
Silver Plated Spiral Ring | Obakki
 Spiral Ring | Obakki
 Spiral Ring | Obakki
Brass Spiral Ring | Obakki

Spiral Ring

$110.00
18K Gold Plated Chain Link Bracelet | Obakki
18K Gold Plated Chain Link Bracelet | Obakki
Silver Plated Chain Link Bracelet | Obakki
Brass Chain Link Bracelet | Obakki
 Chain Link Bracelet | Obakki
 Chain Link Bracelet | Obakki

Chain Link Bracelet

$135.00

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. 

Natural + Black Mini Rainbow Sculpture | Obakki
Natural + Black Mini Rainbow Sculpture | Obakki
 Mini Rainbow Sculpture | Obakki
Natural + Burgundy Mini Rainbow Sculpture | Obakki
 Mini Rainbow Sculpture | Obakki
Natural Mini Rainbow Sculpture | Obakki
 Mini Rainbow Sculpture | Obakki

Mini Rainbow Sculpture

$495.00
Natural Danzante Sculpture | Tall | Obakki
Natural Danzante Sculpture | Tall | Obakki
 Danzante Sculpture | Tall | Obakki

Danzante Sculpture | Tall

$395.00
Natural/Black Danzante Sculpture | Short | Obakki
Natural/Black Danzante Sculpture | Short | Obakki
 Danzante Sculpture | Short | Obakki

Danzante Sculpture | Short

$375.00
Natural Tassel Wall Hanging | Obakki
Natural Tassel Wall Hanging | Obakki
Natural/Black/Green Tassel Wall Hanging | Obakki

Tassel Wall Hanging

$275.00

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.

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