Would you sleep in a Merc?

Jaipur-based Cartist’s newest endeavour, Project Rebirth, recycles scrap auto parts into functional furniture — like a low settee made from parts of a Nissan’s engine, a Bharatbenz truck’s chassis that is now a study table, and pistons from a vintage Chevy and a Plymouth that now house clocks.

While they started off in February by repurposing spares, they have now bought and taken apart a 1996 Mercedes E-220. “I looked for a Merc because it’s a brand most people recognise, and it is owned by almost all the who’s who,” begins vintage car restorer, Himanshu Jangid, who founded Cartist (an initiative to promote art and the love of vintage cars) in 2015. “We are planning to create lampshades from its shock absorbers and a bed from the chassis.”

But finding the luxury vehicle was not an easy ride. “We don’t have an organised system of disposing obsolete cars — people just dump them on the side of the road. I spoke to many
kabadiwalas
and brokers before I got my hands on it,” he recounts. “I have since acquired a 1984 Maruti 800 (a vital piece of Indian car history) and a Mercedes E-Class (2000 model). I’d love to get a Jaguar next!”


Wheels of change

The process of reclaiming the parts is long, he explains — from draining the oil and transmission fluid, to stripping the engine and undercarriage, to dismantling the body and interiors. But it is not daunting for the car restorer, who has worked on vintage wheels like a 1934 Mercedes for the Rajkot royal family and a 1949 Morgan for the Samode royal family, among others. However, Project Rebirth is Jangid’s first foray into furniture design. “I have designed the entire range. It wasn’t entirely new to me as both my father and grandfather were carpenters and had a very popular furniture brand,” he says.

News articles on environmental pollution spurred him to start the project. “There are 30,000 spare parts in any car, and using recycled metal scrap, instead of manufacturing afresh, can save on oil and reduce air pollution generated by a steel mill. We use about 95% of the parts that we reclaim,” he says, adding that they use water-based colours and reclaimed wood to liven up the pieces.


Sentiments and sustainability

Though others have tread this path (like Priti International, which uses waste material, including discarded bits of vehicles, to make accessories), Cartist plans to use only automobiles — both luxury vehicles like the Mercedes and more functional ones like Bharatbenz, Tata and Nissan — in their collections. “This range will be available on our website, and in a store we will be launching in ITC Khimsar (Rajasthan), from August 15. Next year, we will expand to other cities,” says Jangid. “We are also in talks with several people for custom orders. If anyone has a sentimental value attached to their car, we can turn it into a statement piece for their homes.”

Priced between Rs. 500 and Rs. 30,000, the range will be available at ITC Khimsar and on cartist.in from August 15.

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