“Giving back is not merely an act of kindness or compassion but of necessity. We are programmed to take what we believe to be ours, be it motivated by greed or our own sense of entitlement, and to change that way of thinking takes a conscious effort – and often a kick in the pants! Never before has it been so apparent that there are severe consequences to our actions, and that we ALL need to do our bit. Like the tide, there needs to be that constant exchange else all we touch will become stagnant and eventually die” Stephen Pikus.
In the beginning
Stephen Pikus was raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, often accompanying his contractor father to building sites, and has had a love for working with his hands ever since. A little over a decade ago he, his wife Samantha and their first born daughter Tahlita (subsequently Mila has been added to the herd) felt the tug to sell up and volunteer for an NGO based on a farm in the beautiful hills of Limpopo province, South Africa. An orphanage and various other community upliftment projects made up the backbone of the organization, and each of these spaces needed to be made beautiful with very little budget. There he worked with numerous talented creatives and artists, and fell in love with the process - and so often challenge - of transforming “one mans’ trash into another mans’ treasure”.
Over a period of a decade, there were countless trips to rubbish dumps and scrap yards to find items to repurpose or recycle – this gave birth to a new way of thinking…” where before all I saw was trash, I now saw potential”. It was at this time Stephen fell in love with lighting, and started exploring materials like recycled glass, bamboo and a little later, used air filters. It was on a trip to Jeffreys Bay where, at sunrise one morning, he found a filter in a rubbish bin at a fuel stop…and the rest is history. After trial and (much) error, TRuK was born and a year later won the Eskom Energy Efficient Lighting Design Competition. A few months later, in January 2015 he relocated back to Johannesburg, and Green Light District was born. A little over a year and a half later, he and his team often work with SA’s top interior designers and architects, and are steadily making a name not only in the South African design industry, but have product on its way to The United States and Australia.
The ‘raw materials’ for our two initial product offerings, TRuK and FIRE+ICE, are sourced in the most socially beneficial means possible…this what makes their offerings so unique. They believe that not only design, but the fabrication thereof needs to have a relevant and measureable positive effect, while entrenching an attitude of zero waste. They work closely with micro recyclers – their hugely overloaded trolleys such a common sight on South African streets – and support them wholeheartedly. Stephen Pikus also works closely with an established NGO, New Beginnings Care Centre (www.nbcc.co.za), hoping to offer people an opportunity to ‘change their stars’. “These guys are the real deal – they feed, clothe and house thousands of people every week” says Stephen.
The team is consistently growing and made up of a truly rainbow mix of people – from qualified tradesmen to parolees and people battling - and winning – the battle against substance abuse. Their mission is to produce unique, beautiful products, leaving a footprint of love and respect both for people and the environment.