The mention of concrete conjures up images of dust, loud noise and traffic jams around construction sites. We live surrounded by concrete structures and grey is what I have come to associate metro cities with. Balaji Sampath, however, is giving it a pretty makeover by blending the industrial material and modern style. The Civil Engineer is making low-cost home decor super fun by combining the ruggedness of concrete with rustic materials like wood!
Balaji’s endeavour started when his daughter asked him for a lamp in the shape of a dog. “She asked me to make a lamp in the shape of her favourite animal. She loves dogs. As a civil engineer who has visited many home decor stores with his clients, I had an understanding of such items. Taking my daughter’s uncommon design idea and combining it with a production process involving cement, I began my journey as a designer,” Balaji shares with The Better India.
The Bengaluru engineer quit his job to dive into Future Koncepts. Today, three years later, his company, Fusion Koncepts, has sold over 500 home decor pieces that give concrete a beautiful face.
But beautifying concrete is not Balaji’s only goal. Instead, he wants you to have decor items that will last for decades. “What is the difference between the low-cost clocks you find in markets nowadays and the pre-British era grandfather clocks? The former is very fragile and won’t last long. The latter live for several generations,” he observes.
He wants his decor to fall into the second category and be eco-friendlier than plastic.
Balaji works with Rajesh in their Fusion Koncepts workshop. While Balaji brings in the designs, Rajesh brings his craftsmanship to the table. Together, they make home decor items like lamps, clocks and planters, among others.
“We started with lamps, thanks to my daughter. Our aim was to make the products strong yet not too heavy. Concrete is obviously heavier than plastic but we are developing our technology optimise the strength to weight ratio,” the engineer explains.
Every product you purchase from Fusion Koncepts is handmade and about 20 products are produced every day with each of them taking at least one week to finish.
Sharing what this means for his production, Balaji shares, “We have to scale down the manufacturing process by a huge number. Plastic home decor is made by the hundreds every day, all of them going through the same mechanised moulds. We are just four hands, working hard every day to ensure you have only the best products on your walls and tables.”
India produces 9.46 million tonnes of plastic every year. Along with a lot of packaging material, your broken clocks, planters, and other decor items also form a part of that plastic. We may not think of plastic waste while buying a new decor item, but we should condition ourselves into this habit as every bit counts.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)