In the early 1990s, Stephen Pikus volunteered with an NGO collective on a farm in Tzaneen, Limpopo, working together with a group of carpenters, artists and metalworkers to service the local community. The profit made from the work supported a range of initiatives.
Pikus fell in love with making things from other people’s trash and this started his passion for creating light fixtures out of upcycled materials.
In 2014, five years after returning to Johannesburg, Pikus entered and won Eskom’s energy efficient lighting design competition with a design that used air filters from diesel trucks. While he wishes his green journey had started out of a need to do the right thing, he admits that it was because of a lack of money.
“I used to go to rubbish dumps and literally open black bags looking for bottles. And then I realised there was a whole subculture of recyclers who collect trollies worth of bottles. We got them involved, created jobs and paid them three times more than what glass recycling companies do.” A growing ecosystem creates jobs and reduces waste. Pikus’s work shows that nothing negative can come from being more environmentally conscious.
Consol Glass, as part of its head office upgrade in 2019, commissioned Pikus and his team to install a 3.2-ton, 52㎡ installation light fixture made from 4 200 glass bottles. Pikus prides himself in producing one-of-a-kind designs and high quality energy-efficient pieces that can stand the test of time. “It’s all in the details, we’ve been meticulous about the right finishes to really give someone a product they don’t want to throw away again.”
“The negative effects of not being environmentally conscious and not doing whatever we can to make a positive impact are so evident.”