In the spirit of Christmas, many homes are lit up with festive cheer — bright and colourful lights, lushly decorated trees, and a bright star that symbolises hope adorn the front doors of many houses. Some reuse decorations from the previous year and others have purchased new ones. Bengaluru’s Godrej Woodsman Estate in Hebbal has done something slightly different, with a giant Christmas-themed installation made completely from upcycled scrap material.
The installation consists of a Christmas tree made of bamboo sticks and PVC pipes, a snowman made from old tyres, Santa Claus made using an old water tank, a sleigh made using a large cable spool, and a reindeer made of fallen tree barks.
The design was ideated and executed by Anumeha Mittal, a resident of the colony. “The idea was part of an initiative that the complex had undertaken earlier this year for Diwali,” says Anumeha, who holds a Masters in Design degree from the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Delhi. She adds, “When the apartment’s cultural committee head — Sirisha Tadepalli approached me and asked if I could make an eco-friendly installation that looked like the ones put up in malls, I immediately said yes.” She has worked as a visual merchandising designer with well-known brands across the country.
A bid to do something different
Anumeha says that earlier when she had to create installations for brands she worked with, she would jot down the material she could use and the budget in hand, and then think about structures she could make using what she had.
“If I had to make a Christmas tree, I would simply buy one from a store. However, I didn’t want to do that this time, and instead decided to use things that were lying around or were discarded in our apartment complex,” she says, adding that the idea to upcycle things came to her during her child’s birthday party, when she used old cassette tapes lying around her house to make return gifts.
A few weeks before Diwali, Anumeha approached Vittal Sujeer, the head of maintenance and administration in her society and gathered all the scrap material she could find. This included bamboo sticks, tree branches cut off during pruning, pipes used for plumbing, an old red carpet from the storeroom, cement mixing bowls, wooden cable spools, and a metal chain from an abandoned scooter in the apartment.
“With help from 10 maintenance workers, including carpenters and plumbers, we spent seven days converting a cable spool into a Ferris wheel, and PVC pipes into rockets and ladis. Besides making still installations, we made the Ferris wheel, which could spin around and keep the children entertained. The wheel also had spokes made from bamboo sticks, on which we put diyas. Each diya was made from a painted cement-mixing bowl, with flames made from yellow coloured cloth,” says Anumeha.
Upcycled Santa Claus
For Christmas, Anumeha designed a snow globe-like structure using bamboo sticks and a plastic sheet. The sheet was wrapped around the sticks, and inside was a snowman made from tyres painted in white. She repurposed the red carpet from the Diwali decorations to make his scarf.
“The Christmas tree inside the snowglobe was made by arranging sticks in a conical pattern, with an old cycle’s tyre as the base. It was decorated with colourful wire. The globe also holds thermocol-snow and the entire structure is held in shape with a strong PVC pipe in the centre,” she says.
The red-coloured sleigh was made from the society’s garbage pushcart, and the reindeer pulling the sleigh were made by arranging painted sticks. Their horns were made from fallen tree barks. On the sleigh sits Santa Claus, whose body was made from a water tank painted in red, beard from rope and glasses from GI wire.
To give the installation a more festive look, Anumeha decorated the premises with bells made from fire extinguisher buckets and fairy lights.
Anumeha says, “The entire installation was made within a budget of Rs 15,000 and most of the items purchased will be upcycled for the next installation, which is for New Year’s Eve. The theme is along the lines of a disco party and we are making most of the decorations from CDs lying around residents’ homes.”
Plans for the future
Early 2020, Anumeha launched a company that is pending registration, named Boomerang. She says she would work as a space stylist and decorate venues by upcycling material. However, when the COVID-19 lockdown was announced, she stopped working on it.
“I named the company Boomerang because like a real boomerang, waste that is thrown out will be brought back as decoration,” she says.
Now, with two successful installations, she is ready to start her work again and offer help to others if they need to decorate. To know more, you can contact her through her official Instagram page.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)