Update – Event Cancelled – Design for Good at the Living Furniture Project

Sadly I have just been informed that the event below has been cancelled, however see the links below to find out about Wasteland the inspiring documentary by Vik Muniz and the Living Furniture Project in their new showroom/cafe in 22-26 Farringdon Lane. Please see our feed on the right hand column of the blog for more info on upcoming events. I will also be posting more on the London Design Festival for the next two weeks.

VIK MUNIZ LOOKS DOWN AT MAGNA'S PHOTO AND PORTRAIT  (SCREEN GRAB) Artwork courtesy of Vik Muniz Studio

VIK MUNIZ LOOKS DOWN AT MAGNA’S PHOTO AND PORTRAIT
(SCREEN GRAB) Artwork courtesy of Vik Muniz Studio

Next Monday, 16 September, there will be a screening of the award winning documentary Wasteland, as part of London Design Week. The film surrounds a landfill in Rio, Brazil and the lives of those that live and work on the site, while artist Vik Muniz creates art using discarded objects he finds among the rubbish.

LFP's workshop and showroom in Clerkenwell

LFP’s workshop and showroom in Clerkenwell

The event will be hosted by the Living Furniture Project at their fantastic new space in 22-26 Farringdon Lane in London and will feature talks and discussions as part of the evening. The speakers include representatives from Friends of the Earth, The Living Furniture Project’s very own Donna Walker, the renowned furniture designer Paul Kelley and product designer Erin Deighton. There will also be video art by Tom Sachs, which will be screened throughout.

To register click here.

The Living Furniture Project – The Social Impact of Design

The Living Furniture Project is a design studio and workshop with a social purpose – creating jobs for the homeless. Located in East London, an area with a visible housing problem, the project aims to encourage training and creativity to address this growing problem. It not only highlights the issue of homelessness but also takes a positive and practical approach in attempting to solve it.

LFP's workshop and showroom in Clerkenwell

LFP’s workshop and showroom in Clerkenwell

The People Behind the Project
The Living Furniture Project involves a number of design creatives and experts in reclaimed materials, these include:

- contemporary upcycling luminaries Donna Walker and Nic Parnell,
- Geoff Walker who has twenty six years experience in bespoke carpentry and has designed the stylish interiors of bars like Barrio East and Dalston Superstore,
- Sarah Baulch, who has been regularly featured in Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and on TV for her upcycled fabric designs,
- Yinka Ilori, a prodigy designer regularly asked to exhibit his furniture in Berlin, Milan and London,
- Kat Wight, an acclaimed pattern designer who previously worked for Laura Ashley,
- Kat Hamer who is an Australian eco-fashion designer and social entrepreneur, and
- James McBennett, founder of innovative furniture start-up Fabsie.com

Emerald Chair Collection

Emerald Chair Collection

Tackling Homelessness
The company works in partnership with two homelessness charities – Crisis and Providence Row, who refer their clients to the workshop for a range of paid and unpaid training and work programmes. Each Apprentice is given technical training, structured mentoring and pastoral support – a personal development programme which has been designed in conjunction with the partner charities.

The project has taken on two homeless Apprentices since launching in January 2013, and is taking on two more in May. The aim is to employ ten Apprentices by the end of the year. Apprentices will stay with the company for up to six months and are then helped with finding a job elsewhere in the furniture industry.

“The first time an Apprentice finishes a piece can get quite emotional – holding something unique in their hands and thinking – I did that.”

Donna Walker, designer on the project, explains her motivation for joining “I like the idea of skill-sharing, I use it a lot in my own work – I learn making skills from my colleagues and I teach them mine in return. So skill-sharing with the homeless is my way of giving back to the local community.”

Designer Nic Parnell adds “I like the idea that a high level piece of furniture can be made by anyone, of any skill level, if they’re given the proper tuition. I’m very excited to be part of the project.”

Emerald side cabinet by Nic Parnell

Emerald side cabinet by Nic Parnell

Sustainability
The Living Furniture Project source all their materials sustainably – using reclaimed plywood or shipping pallets, or restoring old pieces they find in salvage yards, skips or on the street. The company already has a network of spotters and collectors who identify opportunities to reclaim waste in the construction, textile and manufacturing industries. Below is a short video explaining how the Living Furniture project works and how you can buy bespoke made furniture from them.

The Living Furniture Project – How to buy furniture from us from Alastair Sloan on Vimeo.

Around the World in 80 Chairs: The Tyred Chair, Cape Town – South Africa

A combination of Roy Lichtenstein, South African slang and upcycled design. Yameng Li has reimagined a simple recycling idea into a work of art, by painting this unique tyre chair in collboration with Tyred, at the Design Indaba Conference 2010 in Cape Town.

Tyred Chair by Yameng Li

Tyred Chair by Yameng Li

Yameng Li painting the Tyred Chair

Yameng Li painting the Tyred Chair

New Goodies at Retrouvius

The London based salvage and design company, Retrouvius, have found some beautiful things recently, acquiring a number of great pieces ranging from antique chairs, exotic rugs to a pair of striped barber poles!

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ANGLEPOISE SHADE PENDANTS all photos courtesy of Retrouvius

Here are the objects that caught my eye, for more information have a browse through their new stock on their website

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KILIM RUG

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STRAIGHT BACKED YELLOW CHAIRS

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BARBER’S POLE

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TURNED TIMBER BOBBIN CHAIR

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SHOP MIRROR

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ROSEWOOD SIDEBOARD

Thomas Chippendale: Google celebrates furniture

I was surprised to see the Google doodle in the form of furniture today. Google is celebrating Thomas Chippendale and the legacy of his furniture, which rather amazingly is still popular today almost 250 years after his heyday. He published The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director in 1754 (which is still in print!), a book of his designs. His wide range of elaborate and often exotic designs, fascinated noblemen of his time. Here is a clip from the excellent BBC documentary on this remarkable craftsman and his furniture.

Repurpose & Sustainability at Berlin Design Week

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As Berlin’s first Design Week gets underway, we’re taking a sneak peak at the top sustainable and recycled designers exhibiting this year. The Design Week is organised by DMY Berlin, an internationally renowned platform for contemporary product design. The organization has been promoting the creative industry nationally and internationally since 2003.

reditum_moveo_turm

Reditum Moveo bookcase

Reditum designs furniture with sustainability, society and economics in mind. They focus not only on the furniture’s past but also on its future, taking into account environmental and social factors. Reditum is the Latin for ‘return’ taking used and discarded materials and bringing them back to life.

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El Reinventor Atelier

Another exhibit to look out for is that by El Reinventor, who uses discarded or reclaimed materials for his designs. Incorporating everyday goods like old silverware, broken instruments and oil barrels into his work, transforming it into something entirely new. His atelier for sustainable objects from “the other side” range from rotating bicycle tables (rotables) to jewellery, and his work is both eccentric and fascinating.

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Showcase by Die Fabrik

Do not be alarmed by the clowns! Die Fabrik have a range of sustainable and recyclable pieces that have been designed in an extremely practical and unconventional way. They use practical concepts such as flatpack furniture and combine this with the ethos of recycling. Their innovative and unconventional designs, provide a perfect balance in the world of IKEA shoppers and environmental degradation.

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Showcase by Die Fabrik

The Story Behind the Chair: Re-imagining Myth

Between Life & Death Installation

I recently posted a chair designed by Studio Sfog in the Around the World in 80 Chairs series. After publishing the post they emailed me with the story behind the chair, and I realised that there was a lot more to this chair than an interesting cover.

The design team at Studio Sfog were invited to participate in an exhibition at an abandoned villa in Caesarea, Israel. The villa was “hanging between life and death”  as it was about to be demolished and rebuilt.

studio_sfog_living_room_1

“The brief was simple: – you can only use the materials found at the villa – after finding 3 old broken chairs, a broken old lamp and a bunch of wooden legs from chairs, table, cupboards and beds that were all thrown about the villa, we accepted the challenge.”

studio_sfog_living_room_3

Studio Sfog soon gained inspiration by researching old stories and myths from around the world.

“Inspired by the state of the abandoned villa, we called our installation “Between Life & Death” and started collecting stories and myths about life and death from different cultures. The story of the Golem from Prague, the Tree of Life from the Kabbalah, Frankenstein, Pygmalion (the Greek myth, not Shaw’s play) and Vaudeville carnivals were our main inspiration sources for the graphic language.”

studio Sfog

“We refurbished the chairs and lamp, and, using different techniques, created new upholstery and a lamp shade. We used the collection of broken chair and table legs to create a Gueridon.”

studio Sfog

“We chose to place the furniture in the room that was used by the grandmother of the villa when it was inhabited. The result is a morbid take on a perfect place for a Gueridon, with chairs and lamp for having the perfect afternoon tea.”

studio Sfog

studio Sfog