Most people are aware of the grand scale pollution that’s taking place in oceans and on beaches. the first thing that’s on one’s mind is probably plastic. But there’s another thing that pollutes beaches on a large scale. And that’s a flip flop. A well known friendly and fun piece of footwear. And that flip flop is a very environmentally unfriendly object. Especially when it’s tossed away by lots of people. Like in Asia where they end up in sewers that end up in rivers. Those rivers flow to sea and the ocean currents take these flip flops to the beaches of Eastern Africa.
Worn flip flop turned into unique object
And this is where this upcycle story begins. Every year tons of flip flops end up on the shores of Eastern Africa. So what to do with this waste? Several organisations and artisans tackle this problem. And one of them is creative company Studio Schneemann, founded by designer Diederik Schneemann.
He created a unique collection of one-off upcycle design objects called A Flip Flop Story. The collection includes tables, vases, lighting and a lamp with a power outlet in the base. These amazing objects are made out of worn flip flops. The colourful end result is always a surprise because of all the different layers flip flops have.
‘A Flip Flop Story’ is a social upcycle project. In 2011 Diederik started to turn discarded washed up flip flops into gallery objects and commercial products. These products were manufactured by a group of local craftsmen in Senegal and so he is supporting their local community.
Photos © Studio Schneemann
With this collection Studio Schneeman clearly demonstrates that old materials can be reused and upcycled into extraordinary and sustainable products. And another great thing about this collection and upcycle design in general, is that every new object has a fantastic story to tell.