The Moroccan company upcycling tyres into artistic pieces
Mohammed Khattou started his life journey in culinary arts, a world miles away from his present-day passion: tyre-based artistry.
Upcyclemo was born as a social entreprise turning used tyres into functional and aesthetic pieces. Beyond its artistic endeavours, Upcyclemo is also on a mission to reduce the ecological footprint of the industry while creating jobs in the local community.
“As a child, I would use anything that was available to make toys,” Mohammed recalls. But it was during his regular travels between Agadir and his workplace that the young Moroccan got the idea of using discarded tyres for a new project.
“People are used to burning tyres without paying attention to the bad effects black smoke and smell have on their health,” stresses Mohammed, who notes that his project seeks to raise awareness of sustainability and waste reduction.
Using the tyres scattered around his native village of El Mader, Mohammed developed a process to flatten and transform them into functional products, while treating them to get rid of the smell.
“The first year was challenging, especially to convince the public about this novel concept”. But he persisted, creating a substantial stock and displaying his products in Agadir to attract a wider audience.
As UpcycleMo gained traction, Mohammed’s aspirations expanded, including with regards to education and training: “I want to know that young people – in or out of school- can receive training for the future, whether they choose to stay with us or not.”
With a dedicated team of 15 artisans, UpcycleMo’s creations now grace many interiors, with designs influenced by Art Deco and Bauhaus styles. The fusion of classic aesthetics with modern sustainability even got him noticed by world-giant Michelin, with whom he is planning to launch a collaboration soon.
"Even if your ideas seem like a risky bet, if you love what you do, keep going: you will soon realise you could not be doing anything else.”
TANDEM Media Awards
EU Neighbours South is launching the 2nd edition of the TANDEM Media Awards, a regional media contest, funded by the European Union (EU). The competition is based on the concept of collaborations between pairs. The theme of TANDEM Media Awards is culture, an area in which the EU is active through different types of support and contributions.