Anurag Bhandari, the founder of Ek Kalakaar Designs, a sustainable furniture studio, has always prided himself on his creative choices.
In 2017, the 38-year-old from Ahmedabad transitioned from his family business to the world of sustainable furniture, all based on a gut feeling.
Following this decision, he began to look around for inspiration for the materials he could use for making the furniture.
He found discarded wood, TMT steel bars, old cupboards, broken chairs, and other such waste in a spare room of his farmhouse, and this became his first choice.
He bore holes into large pieces of wood, then began moulding a bench supported on a wooden trunk — a model that would later go on to be his best-selling piece.
“Everything was on an experimental basis and looked raw and ugly, factors that I realised needed to be worked on if I were to sell in the contemporary market,” he says.
As Anurag points out, the story behind every piece of furniture he has created is strong and meaningful.
While the sustainable brand is keen on avoiding mundane designs, they work towards building timeless furniture that ups the aesthetic of the house almost instantly.
Most weekends see Anurag visiting scrap markets to source TMT steel bars along with metal corrugated sheets, plastic pipes, old tyres, and of course, wood from his farmhouse.
“If I see old wood eaten by termites, I see it as art and I don’t disturb it, as I want my designs to be art,” says Anurag.
He adds that they spray natural medicines on the wood to ensure it is free from insects, while for metal, a high-pressure jet stream is used to clean the rust and dirt.
He also uses PVC plastic pipes to make standing lamps by boring holes into the pipe and putting a light at the bottom.
Yet another unique product was a table he made out of a manhole cover! “Making waste look beautiful is tough, but gratifying,” says Anurag.