Sustainable Living

  • Dutch Design the Upcycled Way!

    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?

    Upcycle Stuido Dzine LogoThe 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?

    Upcycle Studio Boris Lab Heater Seat

    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.



    LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT THIS YEAR?   1. Triple Card Holder-Made in England with Fire Hose & lined with military parachute silk $49 2. Zip Tie-Made in California with recycled felt $69 3. Franklin Wallet-Made in Seattle with Bike Tubes $36 4. Slider Belt-Made in England with Fire Hose $44 5. Eastlake for Kindle […]
  • Top 5 Upcycled Fathers Day Gifts

    Looking for awesome Father’s Day gifts?   We’ve listed our top 5 Pressies for Dad that wont disappoint!   1. Elliot The pinnacle of toiletry bags, this bad boy is made with Truck Tubes in Seattle. Tough as guts but packed with great design and good looks. Its available in Black or with Orange […]
  • The Environmental, Social and Personal benefits of Upcycling!

    The environmental benefits of upcycling are mammoth, aside from minimising the volume of discarded materials and waste being sent to landfill each year, it also reduces the need for production using new or raw materials which means a reduction in air pollution, water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and often a conservation of global resources. Naturally, […]
  • Top 5 Destinations in Sydney for Fellow Upcyclers

    Reverse Garbage in Marrickville is an Upcyclers paradise and my absolute favourite place to go on a weekend for inspiration. You can find just about anything here from Mannequin limbs to fabric remnants and banners, old books, records, tools, leftover paint and art supplies, old pallets, furniture and much, much more. You won’t be disappointed! […]
  • Top 5 Upcycling Tips

    Any kind of Upcycling is good but if you can use items made of plastic our planet will love you for it! Plastics can take hundreds of years to break down and unfortunately some are predicted to take millions of years. When plastic remains in our landfill or in our oceans it not only harms […]