Wooden pallets made to batch up factory products are often unceremoniously tossed aside, but this product designer is giving them new life alongside recycled plastics to create eco-friendly furniture.
Our waste problems are real, but it can be easy to burn out from all the consumption blaming and corporate greenwashing. Sometimes it’s just about finding a solution to a tangible problem, and product designer Rawda Shawkat founded Paletta to do just that, turning industrial waste into sustainable furniture. Through her venture, wooden pallets - which are normally disposed of after industrial usage - are transformed into stool and table creations, and covered with recycled plastics.
“During my university years I was always thinking of how I could create something that is well mannered towards the environment,” Shawkat tells #SceneHome. Her passion for sustainability brewed as she studied applied arts and sciences at the German University in Cairo in 2021. “Two of the gravest dangers we face are plastic waste and deforestation. This is what I focused my thesis studies on and aim to tackle through products.”
Shawkat reshapes wooden pallets into furniture that keep their shape and form but situate its repurposed frames in less industrial aesthetics, say with brick wall backgrounds instead of being used to batch up bricks at a plant. Rather than piling up in landfills, the materials now occupy homes, contrasting its kitchens and complementing its greenery in balconies. What started as a bachelor project turned into an experimental initiative as Shawkat continues to experiment with more than one material, adding recycled plastic bottles to seatings.
“Our planet faces many man-made problems that are caused by the way we consume and exhaust resources,” Shawkat continues. “The road to combating these circumstances is full of obstacles and will take a lot of time.”
Concepts like these decrease the burden on our natural resources and oceans, but they can’t do it alone. To make a large impact, many creative minds must play their parts in maintaining and expanding sustainable initiatives, so that real impact can be felt. For their part, Paletta’s take on eco-friendly furniture is doing what it needs to do - tackle a tangible issue, and look gorgeous doing it.