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HOW TO SPEND IT | the London upcycler turning waste into homeware

 the London upcycler turning waste into homeware

Islington’s The Home of Sustainable Things is helping to close the loop
Words by Clara Baldock | 21 October 2022

Orange peel, yesterday’s newspaper and used takeaway cups have little value for most, but for Petko Tashev and his partner Desislava Vangelova, they hold the potential to become beautiful objects. The duo’s Islington-based shop The Home of Sustainable Things is entirely devoted to the task of upcycling waste into artisan-made homewares that are zero or low carbon-emitting, making it one of the first shops of its kind to curate exclusively circular and sustainable design objects. 

“We’re trying to close the loop with pieces that don’t pollute the planet or use virgin materials,” says Tashev. “Our products beg the question: why use up our finite natural resources if we can use what we already have?” Wherever it’s not circular design, it’s organic Contemporary offerings range from the upcycled and recycled – terrazzo-like door handles made from food waste, slippers felted from recycled plastic – to the ethically sourced, such as yoga mats handwoven in India or homewares made from paper waste by women artisans employed on permanent contracts in South Africa’s Eswatini. “Wherever it’s not circular design, it’s organic,” says Tashev. “Our products made from wool, willow and so on get people closer to nature, allowing them to smell it and talk about it, which reignites their love for it,” says Tashev. 

It was while working together in events that the pair first started imagining serving trays made of hemp instead of plastic ones, and they soon decided to focus their attentions on homewares and lifestyle. After 10 months of research and sourcing, The Home of Sustainable Things opened its doors in 2019. 

Today, in the calm, minimalist space with exposed brick – a listed building that was once a family-run butcher’s shop – you will find pieces far removed from what they once were: mouth-blown vases fashioned from microwave glass, textured coasters made from rooibos tea and sculptural lights crafted from, erm, yes, horse manure. Innovative materials such as Malai, a fabric made from banana fibre and coconut milk, are used for bags and wallets. “The products are fantastic conversation starters because of their unusual origins,” says Tashev, whose customers include designers, architects and environmentally minded business leaders. Tableware tends to be snatched up quickly. Plates are made from the bark of felled trees, while their saucers and egg cups are crafted, with a touch of humour, out of discarded eggs.

FT HTSI Interiors Article can be found here,

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