The brain child of designer Anu Tandon Vieira, The Retyrement Plan is all about working directly with craftsmen and giving waste a new lease of life by focusing on the merits of the original material and treating it in a way that befits the intrinsic character of the virgin material. This according to Anu is upcycling in the truest sense of the word.
Ever since her graduation in Fine Arts and post-graduation in Textile Design from NID, Ahmedabad, Anu has worked on a wide range of projects like teaching, textile design for export houses, art direction for films and even designing interiors for the Udaipur palace.
While she was always fascinated by materials, another thing she immensely enjoyed was working with artists and craftsmen. “A vacation to Greece where I saw an old couple pursuing their hobbies as a small-time profession after having retired from their main jobs was the final turning point. I decided that working with craftsmen and upcycling, which have always been my calling would be the foundation for my ‘retirement plan” adds Anu who started The Retyrement Plan in 2012. The quirky twist (Retyrement) to the spelling comes from the fact that discarded tyres are used in plenty as material to build the furniture.
From chindi ropes which are woven like cane to create aesthetic looking pieces to tyres which are used to build the underlying frames, Anu works with a wide variety of materials which includes cane and rattan too. She uses waste materials like the extra ends of saree falls, edges of playing cards that are disposed after trimming and discarded plastic packaging wrappers are strong, sturdy and ideal for upcycling.
A true champion of upcycling, Anu works out of her ‘kharkhana’ in Goregaon with her team of around 10-12 full time employees. Since inception, the brand has grown organically and Anu has worked with not only with end customers and architects but has also designed furniture for cafes and offices. Customers who reach out are given a view of their look book and the pieces can be customized based on size, colour etc.
With a journey that is as inspiring as innovative, Anu is not only doing what she loves but has managed to make a difference to artisans’ lives while providing earth friendly and sustainable choices.
A detailed version of this article was first published in The New Indian Express.