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Pete Seeger
We can't afford to live in a world where everything is discardable

One of my favourite quotes is this one by American singer and social activist Pete Seeger:

“If it can't be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production”.

Isn’t it just brilliant? These words sum up how I feel about interior design: Why should we buy discardable bits of furniture when we have wonderful pieces that are already made, with real craftsmanship, and that can be reused for generations?

I try to follow Pete’s advice (the quote is actually part of a song!) in everything I visualize for Bala Interiors. More than a shop, I see Bala as a seal for sustainability and craftsmanship in interior design. That is what gives me a real purpose, and is the main guideline in every step of our work, from salvaging vintage items and repurposing industrial pieces to packing them with recycled materials.

It is a small part that we play in a fight against the destruction of our environment. Now is the time to take real action to try and save our wildlife, with less plastic, no mass produced things, and green energy. Please do go to the Extinction Rebellion’s website to understand the importance of this issue.

I’ve just finished the book “Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers” and I thought it was a wonderful (and quick!) read. Basically, Wabi-Sabi is, as the cover explains, “the quintessential Japanese aesthetic”. It resonated a lot with my love of old things and their stories.

It is Wabi-Sabi's belief that “things are either devolving toward or evolving from nothingness". And, in that way of seeing objects, we should appreciate their marks, their materials, their repairs, the whole process of their lives.

Below, I’ve highlighted the bits that express a connection between Wabi-Sabi and the importance of antiques, vintage and industrial items. I’ve come to understand that I like furniture and items that show use because I also believe that the irregular, the imperfect and the unpretentious are incredible characteristics.

If you have a passion for old and beautiful things, I would strongly recommend this book. I would say it is a philosophic way to explore design.

Spiritual Values of Wabi-Sabi

_ Greatness exists in the incospicuous and overlook details

_ Truth comes from the observation of nature

_ Beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness

Material Qualities of Wabi-Sabi

_ Suggestion of natural process

_ Irregular

_ Intimate

_ Simple

_ Unpretentions

_ Earthy _ Murky

Brown sofa black trunk
A few of Bala's pieces: an eclectic, artsy and quirky style

I’ve always had a passion for collecting things. Some may call me a hoarder (don’t trust them! :), but I believe old things should be valued, because they are someone else’s stories. If you are open enough or creative enough, everything has a purpose.

Moreover, doesn’t it just seem like a horrible waste to produce vast amounts of flat pack furniture when we can give another life to an old, existing, well built and meaningful piece? If not for this poetic reason, it should be for the sustainability. To give you an idea, Britons throw away 300,000 tonnes of reusable furniture each year, according to RSA and SUEZ research in 2015. This needs addressing – and I hope in a very small way Bala can be part of the solution. So it’s easy to understand why I decided to create Bala in the beginning of 2018. Bala is a celebration of the things I love – and the things I am yet to discover. So why that name? Because, apart from sounding really cool, it has a number meanings: ‘candy’ in Portuguese, ‘powerful’ and ‘young’ in Sanskrit. That simple! It’s exciting to bring this to life and I hope you enjoy it too!

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