Making beautiful and functional things out of discarded materials is not second nature to a lot of people; it can take a bit of practice, skill and creativity. But it was the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that prompted Brooklyn-based designer Matt Loftice to begin his recycled furniture company, Recycled Brooklyn, when he read an article on a man salvaging all that he could in order to rebuild from scratch.
As Loftice says on Crafting a Green World, the idea stirred something of a sustainable eureka moment in him:
Doors, windows, lumber… he was he was grabbing stuff that looked like garbage and making piles near his property, determined to start over using little more than his hands and hard work. To me, an old door was just an old door – the kind of thing you’d see, step over and just keep going. Stopping to look at it, however, it occurred to me that an old door can be pretty much whatever you want it to be – a desk, a dressing vanity, a coffee table...
And so, Recycled Brooklyn was born, with Loftice nowadays making pieces with a distinctively rough-hewn character, using whatever he finds on the curb or on Freecycle or Craigslist. Bringing a no-waste mentality down to the details, he also uses salvaged paints and hardware in his work.
Old coffee sacks becoming upholstery, driftwood pieces becoming seating, discarded doors transformed into coffee tables, pipes turned into coat racks -- Loftice is drawn to the history of the materials, and resurrects them into new forms and uses.
And it seems to be working: Loftice nowadays is busy filling orders for customers eager to have something unique in their homes or shops. If you live in New York City, you might have already sat on or seen one of Loftice's rugged pieces: they have been featured in TimeOut NY, NBC and a number of local cafes, and are also being sold online on Etsy and at Brooklyn's The One Well. More info over at Recycled Brooklyn.