Meet upcycle, recycle's hotter, younger sister. "If you're not up on the green lingo, the best way to think of upcycling is that it's like a sexier, even greener version of recycling. When something is recycled (or "downcycled"), it's broken down into something of lesser quality--a process that consumes energy. Upcycling adds value by transforming or reinventing an otherwise-disposable item into something of higher quality. It's the ultimate in reuse--and a whole new industry sector is shaping up around it." – Wang, Jennifer "Upcycling Becomes a Treasure Trove for Green Business Ideas", Entrepreneur
A prime example is the Hermès, Petit h. collection of goods. In 2010, Hermès brought together all of its disregarded materials, know-how and creativity in a single place for the first time. A workshop that's continually evolving, as the materials that are recovered and provided change. Artists create objects keeping in mind that they need to be functional and have a certain understated style that is true to Hermès.
For example this miniature boat sailboat. The point of the sailboat is to highlight the company's emblematic materials, which include scraps of the luxury brand's precious leather, metal and silk scarf. Of course, it is also inspired by the toy sailboats that both children and adults use. But at $10,200 you might want to set this piece on the highest shelf until your tot is much, much, older.
While the Hermès Petit h. is the extreme to luxury upcycling we searched for other companies and artists offering more refined pieces at an accessible price point. We wanted to explore the idea that not all products made from scrap materials have to look like something made by your child at preschool or shop class. Instead with the category of upcycled products is taking advantage of discarded, quality materials and refined designs you would be proud to own them not just because they are "green", but because they are handsome additions to your home.
The following selections are a few unique pieces that we thought showed particular promise to please both the earth and the end user.
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