Ok so I know that this headline can be easily misinterpreted and people often raise an eyebrow or two when I tell them I am obsessed with old drawers, but just hold out and let me tell you why…
Every year hundreds of thousands of tonnes of usable furniture is simply thrown into landfill sites or crushed and chipped. It’s not something that continue as an island nation we can’t keep filling the ground with rubbish, there simply isn’t the room. I think we all have a bit of a responsibility to do something, and as a designer I believe that creativity plays an important role in the way we see the things that others may see as “rubbish”. For me it’s a resource, just waiting to become something else.
Over the years I have been working with various charities to create up-cycled furniture. One favourite charity, Emmaus, collects furniture during house clearances, and when they receive a chest of drawers that is too damaged to re sell they now hold the drawers to one side, often for my own projects. Below, is a photo of a wall in my own home â€“ it’s our lounge and children’s playroom, the drawers which have been painted and then wall papered have a real sense of fun and playfulness and double up as a giant sized dolls house for my girls.
Last year I designed the Geffrye Museum Eco Home exhibition in which featured this assembly of drawers at the opening to welcome visitors and let them know about the shows content.
I recently designed and created 2 pieces for a London based marketing company, who wanted to portray the theme of “Growth” in their entrance lobby. This “Tree of Growth” made from vintage drawers was carefully composed and then brilliantly illustrated on, explaining the company’s thought process on previous marketing campaigns; fantastically vibrant and just a bit bonkers.
In front of it sits this little multi layered drawer table, each section containing a variety of items to keep visitors entertained as they wait. I love it, such character!
But its not just me that is obsessed, and its been going on for a few years, here’s a piece by the Dutch Design super group Droog, first displayed in 1991, which is more or less a design classic (even if it’s not terribly easy to use!)
But other converts to Draw Mania which I might start calling it are Rupert Blanchard who’s fantastically crafted creations sell for a small fortune (but well worth it I might add!) I love the way that the draws are recratfed to create new pieces of furniture, with a real sense of value and worth.
And also a little further afield, these funky creations from Entwurf Direkt
For me its not just about reducing waste going to landfill but the semi random arrangements of rectangles, the sense of history, framing and containment that using vintage draws offers. Soâ€¦doesn’t seem quite so weird now does it!