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East London Furniture builds sustainable furniture from 100% recycled materials, such as used pallets thrown away on the side of the road. They take something that exists and make it better, making East London better.
RUEBEN: There's so much value in what people discard, I mean we've managed to run a business for 2 years on what people throw away.
Hi, I'm Christian. And I'm Reuben. And we're East London Furniture.
CHRISTIAN: Our concept is based in resourcefulness, reuse and sustainability. We make furniture from materials we find on the streets of East London. We use 100% recycled materials and found objects. So, we use a lot of pallets, predominantly wood.
REUBEN: Upcycling is taking something that exists and making it better. In a way, we take things that exist but then take them completely apart and build entirely new things from them.
CHRISTIAN: Basically it started - I needed a coffee table for my house. I was on the way to the hardware shop to buy some wood, on the way there I saw a bunch of pallets on the side of the road and I'm like, why would I not just use this wood? It's sitting on the street, it's free, it's closer than the hardware shop. So I dragged it back home, pulled it apart with a simple saw and a drill, made a coffee table.
There was a problem with lots of empty appearing around London so meanwhile are a group that take empty shops and give them to short term projects to have a go at an idea
So they give us a space in Whitechapel. We worked there for 3 months and from that opportunity, we were able to grow this business.
JESSICA: We met Christian in 2010 with a space we had in Whitechapel at the time, which is in East London. Christian came into the shop, at the time I think he was unemployed and he was looking to fill his time while he was looking for a permanent job and started to build bits of furniture in the space by using empty pallets that he found on the streets nearby. It's an exciting concept and it's one that we're really happy to be involved with and to have had a positive impact in helping it get started.
In the last 18 months, we've created roughly 220 pieces of furniture from about 500 pallets. We make tables, benches, stools. We've done cafes where we've done all the bar services. Any application of wood, we'll sort of try.
Jaguar Shoes is quite an amazing bar in Shoreditch, every 2 months they completely renovate the interior so they ask artists or designers to collaborate with them normally it's sort of the walls, the wallpaper, but we're furniture makers, so we asked them if we could take out all the furniture and put in our own furniture.
They said they've actually been getting more business because we've generated a different environment in that space, which I think they've really liked.
JESSICA: East London Furniture has got started from just a real seed of an idea, and has managed to get that going to such a positive, massive impact that it is today. And I just would love to see that inspire other people to give something a try that they've been thinking about doing for ages.
Making furniture from rubbish (maybe it's a bad idea) but how do you know, unless you have a go? That's the key, I think: Just to do it.
If it's a good idea, it will grow.