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#EDEarthHero Anu Tandon: Name to know

DEC 9, 2015 | By Tasneem Merchant
(L-R)Anu's woven creations include chairs and baskets crafted using cane weaving techniques;The bright shades are a result of the print on plastic. Various colours from the discarded material lend it the vibrant hue.

“For me my work right now is a celebration, I really enjoy doing what I do,” says Anu Tandon, a Mumbai based textile designer, who studied at NID and has been freelancing for the past 25 years now. “Anything that happens is an added celebration. It’s not going to take away from what I’m doing.” She was one of the Godrej Design Lab 2015 winners (a contest in association with ELLE DECOR India for designers of all ages) – her pet project The Retyrement Plan, a range of seaters made from discarded plastic and tyres, was one of eight winning products from thousands of entries received and she also got the golden chance to display her designs at India Design ID in New Delhi.
The idea is a culmination of two things that are close to her heart: The plight of unemployed skilled craftsmen who have migrated to Mumbai and excessive garbage strewn across the city. “Small industries that generate a lot of waste feel it’s not worth their while to do anything about it. If it’s segregated, used or made into a product at that stage, it would not end up in landfills,” she explains.
Passion to rectify these two wrongs and the inherent nature of materials she works with sparked a brilliant idea. “Plastic by its very nature is rugged and can’t disintegrate. If you make high twist rope, it has the strength of steel wires and cables. One rope starts at pink, goes on to blues and greens, and then to any other colour. The only thing left was to incorporate it into something that would celebrate that diversity.”
This problem was solved when one day she spotted a couple of auto repair guys fixing tyres. “When a tyre stops being roadworthy it becomes a nuisance. The fact that it is difficult to get rid of can be turned on its head. To make it worthwhile, we made it into a product that is so gorgeous and well made you wouldn’t want to get rid of it. This was the idea behind The Retyrement Plan…” she elaborates.
She believes in working hands on with her craftsmen and feels that her biggest achievement is being able to instil a sense of pride in the weavers. Ask her how she likes to get away from life in the city and pat comes the reply: “I love to travel. I think the only justification for making some money is to travel.”
Website: more details about Godrej Design Lab, visit