Useful information

Team members
Ben Palmer
United Kingdom
furniture DIY waste system

Short Description

A system for building DIY furniture using one shape of varying lengths, cut from waste wood.

Detailed Description

OFFCUT is a system using waste wood from local makers to teach people skills to build their own DIY furniture. The materials are cut down by local makers and hand delivered. This DIY system allows people to appreciate materials seen as waste and to make furniture that has an emotional value to the individual through the act of making. Each piece of furniture is made using one shape with varying lengths, that can be easily cut from awkward offcuts of wood. The aim is to develop people's confidence in making and to enhance their skills and the likelihood of them continuing to participate in DIY. OFFCUT comes in between bespoke and mass-manufactured furniture to develop a new alternative.

Project Details

Does your design take social and cultural challenges and human wellbeing into consideration?

Value is added through a sense of achievement and personalisation by developing making skills. Each OFFCUT product is made from waste specific and unique to its location. Emotional attachment is formed between the maker and product through learning skills and greater interaction and collaboration within communities. In contrast, fast-furniture may be convenient for the consumer. However, the supply chain is long and lacks transparency. With OFFCUT, the making process takes more time but results in a greater appreciation of the product and a much shorter supply-chain.

Does your design support sustainable production, embodying circular or regenerative design practices?

Waste is sourced from local makers and designers, supporting existing supply chains for smaller workshops and fabrications. This raises community awareness of local production methods and the value of waste and in turn builds relationships between people and independent makers/businesses.

Does your design use principles of distribution and open source?

The aim behind OFFCUT furniture is to increase confidence in DIY for those who aren't familiar with making, therefore the tools and materials needed are minimal. Each piece of furniture has user-friendly PDF and video instructions and is based on materials that are available worldwide. The waste material used adapts to what's been generated from the local fabrication therefore the system can be implemented anywhere, and suited to the local materials available.

Does your design promote awareness of responsible design and consumption?

OFFCUT sits between cheap mass-produced furniture and bespoke handmade furniture. The use of high-quality free materials makes good design long lasting. Better-quality furniture is made accessible and affordable due to a reduction in shipping/labour costs. The focus is on waste from local fabrication, rather than extracting raw materials, and therefore benefits each manufacturer by removing some of their waste removal costs. It also raises people's awareness in the community of how waste material can be used to create high-quality long lasting furniture.