by Kathryn Clark.
Dutch designer Pepe Heykoop has always sought a link between design and art in his work. A few years after graduating in 2008 from Eindhoven University of Technology (the place to study design these days, I might add), he noticed the large amount of leather waste created by the furniture industry. Up to 30% of high quality leather is simply thrown away. Finding alternative uses for the leather led Heykoop to create the Skin Collection. Recently, the Matka Vase was born.
In India, a matka is a traditional water storage cooler. In a modern twist on this concept, Heykoop recycles stainless steel matkas and then covers them with the leftover leather scraps. Seeking sustainable ways of production, Heykoop teamed up with traditional makers in some of the poorest neighborhoods Mumbai. He was aided by the Tiny Miracles Foundation, founded by Laurien Meuter and Florentine Slingeland, an organization that offers work to unemployed mothers and schooling to their daughters.
Each vase is unique and reflects both the maker and the shapes of the leftover scraps. They make a powerful statement about reuse and sustainable production processes. Studio Heykoop has also created a series simply called Leather Lampshades by using recycled, soft lambskin leather tanned with as many natural materials as possible.
The lampshades are a quirky reworking of traditional metal industrial lights.
The pieces are beautifully crafted, lightweight, and foldable, making them easy to ship. They are available in a horizontal or vertical format on Heykoop’s online shop for 420 euros.
I wonder what’s next in the collection. By breathing new life into wasted materials, Studio Heykoop brings attention to our harmful production practices. Let’s hope Heykoop makes a lasting dent in the industry.
All images courtesy of Annemarijne Bax.