We asked Gilbert De Rooij head of upcycleDZINE a few questions about his journey to the world of Upcycling.
He also gives us an insight into his designs, interesting Eco initiatives in the Netherlands and whats in store for him next!
1. You originally started in Graphic Design, what was it that first sparked your interest in upcycling and encouraged you to start upcycleDZINE?
The economic crisis brought about some unfavorable changes to my previous company. As a result, most of us were laid off. It came as some sort of blessing in disguise because I was able to discover other areas of opportunity.
Twenty five years of my life have been spent on graphic design work so naturally I wanted to explore opportunities where my creativity will be put to good use. The crisis became a turning point in my life which allowed me to make a new start. My interest and love for design inspired me to create dutchDZINE, a blog site that aims to showcase and celebrate Dutch designs, as well as design in general.
In March 2012, the same year I started dutchDZINE, I went to Milan to attend Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano, the largest furniture trade fair in the world, to look for great designs and concepts. As the global benchmark in home furnishing, Salone did not disappoint. The venue was swarming with great designs, however, environment-friendly designs were scarce. There were not a lot of designs that truly stood out except for a few young designers who took risks to differentiate themselves. This made me realise that I was missing something.
I became convinced that designers should produce responsible designs – designs that are not just visually attractive, but also environmentally responsible and sustainable.
I did extensive internet research and learned that one can actually produce spectacular designs from discarded materials or objects. Upcycling is a brilliant way to turn scraps into masterpieces that are not only stylish and functional but also contribute to environmental preservation.
I’ve always cared about the environment, and upcycling strengthened this further. Blogging about upcycling ignited my passion for designing upcycled products. One aspect of design that I wanted to venture into is lighting. It came as no surprise to me since my father used to work for a lighting company. He became a big influence.
In April 2013, I started the blog upcycleDZINE by posting examples of eco-friendly or upcycled de-signs. My goal is to share this information with as many people as possible, to inspire them to pursue upcycling and provide them with some ideas for their projects.
2. UpcycleDZINE showcases Upcycle artists from all over the world, what interesting things have you seen recently?
You can see some great examples on my blog upcycleDZINE There are so many interesting up-cycled designs featured in the blog that are better seen than described. A short while ago I came across a collection of chairs made out of radiators by a Swiss designer named Boris Dennler. Another stunning design is a lighting design by a Canadian designer Samuel Bernier, called ’Achille le Grand’.
This year, in Milan, I saw these oil drums that were upcycled into libraries or “containers-on- wheels”. I noticed that oil drums are quite popular in upcycling. Here in the Netherlands is a design company called Indusigns and they create lampshades and other design from oil drums. Aside from environmental benefits, upcycling also generates jobs that help improve people’s living conditions. Locals are encouraged to participate in upcycling projects and one of the countries supporting this advocacy is India. Participants, often craftsmen, use discarded materials and turn them into beautiful upcycled products designed by world-renowned designers.