A small furniture company in London's east end, East London Furniture, has made a nice line in pallet furniture. It's simple, low-key, and basic. But there is something endearing about the pieces. And the aesthetic philosophy.
All East London Furniture furniture is made from 100% recycled materials. The pieces are all made in their workshop at the back of their store. As the designer explains: "The concept is that we are in no way responsible for the production of new materials or the transportation of materials over long distance. Instead, we use those that already exist and are proximate to our workshop. And so far we have more wood that we can store!"
Going beyond the normal reclaimed timber yards, all materials used are salvaged from waste, meaning that most materials used in the products have been diverted from landfill or intended to be broken down into wood chips. The designers also have built up relationships with local store owners.
There are quirky touches to many of the pieces: a streak of yellow, a light made from a door frame, an oddly shaped stool. The provenance of each pallet used is noted and so the origin of all the materials used on each piece can be traced all the way back to where the materials were found.
The Burning Question: how does one choose the proper pallets?
The Answer: "There are two main types of pallets – some pallets are owned by a company as part of a pool, and those ones get reused, so we don’t use those ones. The second type are more like packaging and are not reused. Some palettes are very poor quality, made of soft, fast growing pine, so they’re not built to last. But some are good quality and are built to be used again, but many people don’t reuse them – so we do. You have to choose your pallet carefully!"