Custom designed, hand-made furniture that didn’t cost the earth was the way forward.
When we moved into our new office space in a beautiful old mill we wanted furniture that would be sympathetic to the aesthetic of a 160-year old, former spinning mill yet be practical, functional and above all a little unique. We wanted extra deep desks for our team to spread out, cable trays underneath for all the clutter of wires and plugs, and some sockets on the desktop for plugging phone chargers in.
We also wanted a big table that was high enough to stand at for our brain storming sessions (we even came up with a pretentious name for it – it’s our ‘ideas island’). We realised that our best thoughts came when we got away from our desks and emails and made a conscious decision to go somewhere else to do that. And we wanted all that without spending an absolute fortune….
When we started to think about structures, we realised that scaffolding was nice and solid, and that ply wood, when it’s varnished gives a great desk top. With a rudimentary idea in mind of how they could go together, but a complete lack of skill in building anything we started to cast around for someone to build them.
The solution… We got Ian’s Dad out of retirement to build our workspace!
Ian’s 75-year-old dad and his 80 year old mate set to work with plumb lines and all their old tools – measuring and building by hand, all from discarded scaffolding poles and plywood. The guys did amazing work and it was great to have them onsite during the build.
We spent loads of time laying poles on the floor to see how the desk sizes would fit in the space we had, sitting there to make sure people could walk past and not barge into each other, and checking that we had the right height to work at.
We’ve ended up with some fantastic custom furniture that raises a comment every time someone comes to visit, that fits the way we work perfectly – and that didn’t cost the earth. Which is a pretty similar to the approach we take when we’re designing communications.
If anyone wants to build on the designs we came up with and make their own, we got the materials from these places:
Scaffolding poles and joints came from Scaffolding direct; they have a really helpful page with pictures of all the joints that are available for those of us without the right terminology, but know how we want the joint to work.
We got the biggest sheets of marine ply we could find, 3050 x 1525 x 12mm from Travis Perkins (we then doubled these up to create a dual layer for strength)
Cable trays, plug sockets and conduit just came from our local electrical supplier.
We ran up some schematics of the design for anyone who wants to have a bash at building their own which have got all the dimensions and layout, you can download the full file here; drop us an email or post us a comment if you have a go – we’d love to see how they come out.