Meet Christian Pade, the German designer behind the upcycling brand, Onkto Katuh. His notions behind permanence and the mix of materials are quite intriguing and force us to have second thoughts about what we deem to be rubbish or treasure.
Please give our readers a bit of background information about yourself and how you found yourself in Berlin working on your various upcycling projects.
I was born to an artisan family in the former GDR but moved to Berlin in the early 2000’s to study photography at the Fotoschule am Schiffbauerdamm. As a photographer, I am always looking for objects or places to capture. On my way, I’ve found a ton of things that no one wanted anymore so I started collecting them with preconceived idea to re-use my finds. Two years ago, I developed the label Onkto Katuh for my recycled creations and have been working with it since.
Is your interest in ‘upcycling’ more based in environmental sustainability or creativity – or a mixture of both?
Firstly it has to do with my background and personal history. In the former GDR, we knew more about having restrictions than free consumption. I guess that it is a part of my essence now. I will always try to see what I can save from a broken object before throwing it away. Then, my main aim as a designer is to make something special and unique out of these found objects.
You work with a lot of different ‘upcycled’ materials. What first caused you to start working with these materials and what are the most challenging aspects of using them?
Concrete is a material that signifies permanence – something unbreakable. So, as soon as a found or broken object meets with this material, it prevents this object from being easily thrown away, either because it was transformed into something more beautiful or simply because it is now too heavy to move. I started working with concrete and enjoyed its production process: from the form to the finalized object. For a couple of weeks, I need to look after the concrete everyday, like taking care of my own garden. And since each piece ends up being so unique, it is only at the very end that I get to see how the cement matured in this process.
What are your goals in regards to onkto katuh? Where do you hope to be 5 years from now?
In 5 years, I hope to have a huge storage space, filled with amazing finds, that I can use to continue to pursue my work and bring life these discarded objects by giving them more value.
A selection of Onkto Katuh’s newest collections will be available at the next event, Funky Fresh, from July 6th-9th. You can find out more on the Onkto Katuh website.