Fresh starts

The Take 2 exhibition at Design Indaba Expo will showcase designers who have given waste products a “do-over”.

Upcycling is the more evolved sibling of recycling. Where recycling seeks to return waste to the cycle of production, upcycling re-fashions waste into a better quality product with a longer lifespan. Upcycling is more than just a reuse of an object in its existing from, or a mere surface or aesthetic change. However, the structural makeup of the former product is often apparent in the upcycled design, to play up the creative aspect. At Design Indaba Expo, the Take 2 exhibitors will show the inventive ways that they have upscaled waste items into useful objects.

These designers don’t see trash. They see the potential to inject new life and purpose into waste materials.



Ryan Frank has done something rather unusual: he’s combined plastic and grass to make a material. By combining grass fibres with recycled polypropylene, a new resource-efficient material that is fully recyclable and renewable is created.

Inspired by old, industrial crane hooks, Frank attached them onto strips of this plastic-grass material to make GRPL. GRPL is a unique hanging system for clothing, shoes and just about anything else that needs to be hung.

Once GRPL has come to the end of its lifecycle, it can simply be sent back to the manufacturer to be fortified and restored.



In regular homes, the little clips keeping bread sealed for freshness lose their function once they’ve done their job. But Adriaan Swanepoel, who has been collecting bread tags for years, is giving them a second chance at life. He’s collected hundreds of bread tags and crafted beautiful lighting features from them called Toast.

Hundreds of bread tags with different dates, colours and shapes are first sorted out before small holes are drilled into them. Swanepoel then links the tags together with metal rings to form a mat of tags that looks like chainmail. The body of the lamp is fluid allowing it to yield to the wind.

The assembly of tags is currently being tendered to the organisation Bread Tags for Wheelchairs. By collecting the tags, the organisation raises money to buy wheelchairs for the disabled.

Trolley Lounge chair

Philippe Bousquet and Carrie Pratt have designed the Trolley Chair, a chair made from a shopping trolley. The process involved cutting and welding the trolley to fashion a chair and then fitting a seat into it.

Bousquet and Pratt make work that merges their love of design with their desire to live more consciously and carefully on the planet.

Not only is this a great design that re-thinks the concept of discarded, broken-down items and re-imagines them as something of value, but adults can now sit in the trolley again.  

Silo Designs

Silo Designs manufactures and designs upcycled products from scrap metal, recycled wood or disused materials. The items are functional pieces made from discarded everyday items.

For example, the lamp pictured is made from the inside of a washing drum. A couple of holes were drilled into it and the light fittings attached. The drum is sandblasted and powder coated to the client’s specifications. Its dual purpose enables use as a standing light shade or as a pendant-type lamp.