At Relevé Design, upcycling is chic and luxe.
By infusing a hefty dose of art and design, we elevate upcycling beyond crafty and homemade. Create art and design inspired decorative accessories with inexpensive, easy, and eco-friendly DIY projects anyone can do at home.
When we’re done with magazines or plastic bottles we usually throw them away. Sometimes we reuse them. Other times we recycle. Recycling actually downgrades the material. For instance, the quality of plastic lessens each time it’s recycled. Different types of plastics and impurities get mixed together, weakening the plastic. Fortunately, there’s a better way to deal with waste, and that’s upcycling.
Upcycling is a special type of repurposing. In general, repurposing puts things to use in a different way than originally intended. Repurposing is not always eco-friendly, especially when it uses new and usable things. Upcycling is an eco-friendly way of repurposing, because it only uses unwanted and discarded materials and transforms them into something new, desirable, and more valuable.
In our case, we save six-pack rings from being dumped into a landfill or downcycled into low quality plastic, and we make them into new, fabulous lighting.
Why do I upcycle?
I’m a lifelong upcycler. I spent my much of my childhood in the Midwest surrounded by numerous siblings and relatives. We were poor, but we compensated with creativity. I grew up watching my father repurpose materials around the house to make repairs and create new useful things. Nothing went to waste. He even made nunchuks from steel pipes and electrical tape.
I was expected to pursue law or medicine. Instead I painted, designed, and danced my way through college. I spent a few years dancing for a couple of Modern dance companies. To combine my interests, I moved to NYC, where I fully realized my penchant for making and was rewarded with another nifty design degree from Parsons School of Design. Early in 2010, I cobbled together my first pendant light. Relevé Design was incorporated shortly after.
Having watched my father upcycle over the years, coupled with my passion for design and the arts, led me to Relevé Design. I look at everything and see potential. Am I an eco warrior? No. I just can’t stand waste.
How’d I come up with the name “Relevé Design”?
I drew upon my dance background for the name. “Relevé” means “lifted” in French. In dance terms, it’s when dancers lift their heels off the ground to stand on the balls of their feet or toes. Relevé Design lifts discarded materials handcrafting them a new life as designed lighting and furnishings.