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The Upcyclers: Making the Best from Waste at Workshop Q

Radhika and Madhvi Khaitan’s Workshop Q is “a movement, not a business”. The Jaipur-based design house works on the “best-from-waste” philosophy and offers a variety of home décor products. The extremely stylish clocks, trays, photo frames, tissue boxes, coasters, card holders, lamps and other utility items are crafted from scrap procured from factories, construction sites, small artisans and households. The sisters tell us more.

Why Workshop Q?

The increasing awareness of the importance of being eco-friendly in the West as opposed to the lack of awareness in India inspired us to start Workshop Q. We wanted to show people that what we often label as ‘waste’ is not truly waste. We also wanted to change mindsets – eco-friendly does not mean boring, it can be fun. Our workshop in Jaipur consistently revamps junk into chic products – acrylic, aluminium, wood, tyre tubes, compact discs, vinyl records, jute, cork, wood fibre, industrial felt, cables, wires and similar stuff are repurposed into stylish lifestyle products.

Tell us about your design philosophy.

We like to say our design philosophy is SIE.

Sustainable: Creating sustainable products and experiences where being eco-friendly is not just a compromise but a want and a passion.

Innovation:  Innovate by seeing possibilities everywhere, even in the places others think it to be the least

Ethical: Ideas put in designing beautiful and useful products should be in conjunction with efforts to conserve power, natural resources and save landfills.

We believe that design is everywhere and in the simplest of things. It is just about the perspective you see to look at things. Designers are often mistaken for being a designer in their specific field! Design is not something where one can be limited to its specific boundaries that have been set. Design is a vast field where every aspect is intertwined with each other.

How do you distinguish between recycling and upcycling?

At Workshop Q, we consider ourselves upcyclers rather than recyclers. Upcycling means to use discarded material in such a way that instead of downgrading it and making it of lesser value, you add value and create something new. A unique feature is that our products cannot be recognised instantly as ‘made from scrap’. We give scrap a whole new makeover. Our products are quirky enough to fit perfectly into any kind of an environment.

What are your favourite Workshop Q products?

The products, priced between Rs. 50 and Rs. 7,000, are available at many outlets across the country and also online through our Facebook page. The best-sellers are the vinyl record clocks and the Twister lamps, but we like the steel mirror and the Twister lamps!


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Chanchal RainaWill someone come and fix my sofa if I buy fabrics from your website?
Cheryl Bansalvery good