Dubai resident turns 300kg plastic waste into Dh21,000 luxury table

Chinara Darwish switched from being a mechanical engineer to crafting furniture eight years ago and is excited about growing her collection


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Photos: Shihab/KT
Photos: Shihab/KT

Published: Sun 12 Nov 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 15 Nov 2023, 3:47 PM

The plastic that we see in the garbage is just trash for most of us.

But not for Chinara Darwish.

That ordinary trash is something that is very valuable for Chinara. Instead of letting them go to waste, she turns them into luxury furniture through her creative work.

At the ongoing Dubai Design Week at Dubai Design District, she unveiled her first masterpiece - a limited edition luxury dining table worth Dh21,000 that was crafted entirely from discarded marine, industrial, and construction plastic waste.

Plastic waste into beautiful objects

“This special table is more than just furniture, it's like a message telling us that even things we throw away can be turned into something beautiful,” said Chinara, who believes in making limited editions and not mass production.

“I want to develop many products out of waste and give it an element of luxury,” Chinara said.

300kg waste plastic to 193kg dining table

Only 10 of these tables are being produced, and they each weigh more than 190 kilos. What's even more interesting is that more than 300 kilos of plastic waste were used to make each of them. “These tables are not only super unique, but they're also good for the environment because they're made from recycled plastic,” said Chinara.

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Chinara Darwish is on a mission that's more than just about making attractive furniture. “I want to transform different kinds of waste, like the ones from the sea, construction sites, and industries, into special and unique pieces,” said Chinara. Her family's construction business helps her source waste plastics and other materials, like road barriers, marine waste, and water tanks, sourced across the UAE to use in her projects. “With their support, I am able to turn what others might see as trash into something artistic and amazing,”

The process

In her workshop, she becomes a bit like a scientist, playing with colours, shredding, and heating the plastic to make unique colours. “Then, I start making small palettes. These palettes go into an oven, get melted, and finally, they're shaped into the furniture,” said Chinara.

“My biggest challenge was to make plastic look luxury,” she said adding that the artistic and technical challenges she faced in making recycled materials shine with luxury.

Mechanical engineer to crafting furniture

Chinara switched from being a mechanical engineer to crafting furniture eight years ago and is excited about growing her collection. The dining table she showcased is just the start of her big plan to transform waste into fancy and wanted items.

Every element is crafted locally

“I am in the process of making even more cool things from waste. It is even more special that everything is sourced, made, and designed right here in the UAE. So it's about being proud and following the UAE’s initiative of sustainability, earth-friendly choices,” said Chinara adding that she will be featuring her products at the COP 28 in Dubai this year.

COP28 calls on artists and creators to embrace sustainable practices by incorporating recycled materials into their art.


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