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News & Views

The Future of Salvage


Adam returned from a recent weekend at Glastonbury with a message from The Greenpeace Field: 

"If not you, who? If not now, when?"

Increasingly Retrouvius are asked what the future of salvage is. 

Natural materials are finite at current consumption and Adam sees more and more often man made and modern processed materials becoming available as salvage. This is not our traditional style but it forces us to question how we appraise salvage and how we value it as a material resource, through its aesthetics and its financial value.

This salvage haul came from a London penthouse that was decorated only fifteen years ago. Every part of the interior was new and was being ripped out and to be destroyed. 

The fact that the material's life-cycle was so short is because of today's style-cycle - trends and fashions are changing quicker each year as we are bombarded with imagery through social media and the next "must haves". 

Two decades ago hardwood iroko worktops from secondary schools were being burnt on site - Adam began saving them and after appearing in Maria's design projects; they are now a mainstay of our stock. 

This apartment was of its time fifteen years ago. Although high quality its interior is out of fashion to its new owners. We reclaimed as much as we could of the surface decoration from the apartment, stock such as gold plated bathroom hardware, burr-maple veneer panelling and cast glass columns. 

Cast glass panels formed a screen around a staircase in the apartment. Unfortunately the frame was destroyed but we have saved sixty panels that make up an abstract image of an oak tree. 

#2266 Cast Glass Tiles £25+vat each further details... 

#2315 Cast Glass Panels £245+vat each further details... 

The bathrooms had quality fixtures and fittings by Samuel Heath. They are solid brass with gold plate — hardware that retails at the top end of the market.

#2305 Gold Bathroom Hardware £35-£95+vat per item further details...

The majority of materials used throughout the apartment were of very high quality. Built in wardrobes were fitted with solid hardwood drawers and all custom built to size.

#2284 Hardwood Storage Boxes £10-£30+vat each further details...

We were able to save these along with cupboard doors which are industrially made but veneered in attractive woods; twelve in burr-maple, eight in mixed timbers and eleven with a floral inlay.

#2306 Veneered Panelling £25+vat each further details...

This salvage haul adds a distinct aesthetic to our usual salvage stock. 

Although it isn't the regular Retrouvius style we need to find a re-use for it. It will become more and more frequent as fashions continue to change. 

Retrouvius has always approached design without being slavish to a singular style or aesthetic. 
This type of salvage adds another layer to our stock. If we are to reduce waste then these materials must go back into circulation even if they are only 15 years old.

If not us, who? if not now, when?! 

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