Working with “old” materials and embracing new and different uses for them creates a profound sense of rebirth that fills a space with distinct warmth and charm. In honor of World Environment/World Oceans/World Bicycle Days this month, we would like to shine the spotlight on Malawian artisan group Katundu. They do fantastic work transforming discarded items and materials into stunning furniture, lighting and décor, and they have truly elevated concepts of green living and up-cycling to a high art form.
Our selection of Bicycle Cog Globe lighting, mirrors and tables are made from antique bicycle cogs inset with reclaimed copper discs and recycled tumbled glass, creating stunning shadows and sparkling colors when touched by light. Many of these antique bicycle cogs are from bicycles used during the first World War, and some still sport the original manufacturers’’ logos from the early 20th century. The effect for both the furniture and the lighting ends up being very industrial-chic… perfect to warm up a modern space or add a bit of glamour to a Boho theme.
We also offer handmade, vintage wood décor from Katundu. Made from abandoned fishing boats found along the shores of Lake Nyasa, between Malawi and Mozambique, artisans separate and clean each individual piece of wood, taking special care to preserve the original sun-bleached, water-worn paint, to create their stunning Nyasa Canoe Wall Sculptures.
In recent years, interest in utilizing salvaged materials rather than relying on new manufacturing has been consistently trending upward. This is correlated with growing concern regarding the negative effects that mass production has on our planet, but it is also connected to our desire to return to what is familiar and comfortable and feel linked to the past. Taking items that were forgotten or discarded and breathing new creativity into them fills a deeply rooted longing to hold onto things that have meaning and a story of their own. At Kanju, we love offering beautiful recycled and refurbished pieces as a slice of history, snapshots of a time since passed, and helping our clients surround themselves with pieces of a great and ongoing human story.