Carrying a load of leather candelabras in his suitcase, Dutch designer Pepe Heykoop just got back from Mumbai, India. In the slums of the city, he worked with 15 craftswomen in creating signature leather interior accessories made of leftover leather from furniture industry by makers in Mumbai. In his Amsterdam studio, he is now putting a final touch to the prototypes of his ‘tailored candelabra’. The pressure is on, because in two weeks time, these new designs will be launched at the world’s leading design event, the Salone del Mobile in Milan.

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Each candelabra consists of up to six pieces of leather that are stitched together. Heykoop works with a natural resin that is used as a filler to make the candle holder a solid product. The resin is an experimental mixture of beeswax, pine resin and marble power, developed by Carmine Deganello. The beeswax seeps through the leather and gives the prototypes a polished look.

After Milan, Heykoop will work with the Indian makers in Mumbai to make sure the candelabra can be produced in volume. He will continue using leftover leather from the furniture industry. Together with the scrap leather Matka vases Heykoop previously designed, the candelabra will be sold in concept stores and at design events.

Not only does the production of the design pieces provide an income for the 115 families living in the Mumbai community, sales profits will also be used as an investment to fight poverty in the slum. In 2010, Heykoop’s cousin Laurien Meuter set up the Tiny Miracles Foundation, with the ambition of enabling this community to break out of poverty by 2020.

Heykoop will lauch the ‘tailored candelabra’ in Milan, during Salone del Mobile from April 9-14, 2013, at the exhibition ‘Ricette in Resin Naturale’, Fabbrica del Vapore, Via Procaccini 4, Milan, Italy.

+ Pepe Heykoop