Featured Designers: Curb Collective

FK chats to Sydney based Curb Collective, about their refurbishing furniture collective.

Tell us about Curb Collective and what we can expect to discover.
Curb Collective is a group dedicated to the reuse and repair of curbside finds. They find pieces or accept donations then refurbish them with a unique new look, using salvaged fabrics. If you have a piece you’re looking to refurb or an overwhelming urge to buy something different and ethically sound, you can expect us to help you out!

What is the concept behind Curb Collective, and where did the idea evolve from?
The idea came from The Bower Reuse & Repair Centre. General Manager Maaike Pullar has worked in furniture resurrection for a number of years and was keen to increase repair skills in the local community. The Bower promotes Reuse and Repair as a sustainable living ethos which decreases waste headed for landfill in Sydney.

The Bower approached PLACE and TAFENSW Outreach to partner in the project, and took up work in a large warehouse in Redfern. After a 6 month course in timber repair and curbside uphosltery, students have graduated and are looking to apply their skills to new pieces and develop our business.

Who are the team behind Curb Collective and what are their roles?
The team is hot off the press! Having recently completed a skills course, 6 graduates are now working on projects for resale, including commissions on request. As a social enterprise the group work as a unit, discussing jobs, commissions and materials together.
A number of representatives from The Bower, PLACE and TAFENSW Outreach continue to mentor the group, providing support through retail opportunities, marketing and promotion.

What has been some rewarding moments since starting?
Chatting to passers by while Curb Collective is at work is a definite highlight. Everyone in the local community is so enthusiastic about what we’re doing. Whether they love a particular piece or want to donate something they no longer need, everyone has a story for us!
Finders Keepers was a great chance for us to share our passion with a broader cross-section of Sydney, and a number of commissions have come from the December markets. The great thing about salvage is that each piece is unique and rewarding for its own reasons – knowing what it was when we found it in an alley and looking at it after a hard days work never gets old!

What are your favourite suburbs to find goodies?
We’ve found great things all over the place. Many of our base pieces were donated to The Bower and then diverted to us for repair. Others we find on the way to the shed in Redfern. The eastern suburbs have a huge amount of curbside ‘junk’ from it’s high student and backpacker populations. We’ve only been around for a short while, but we’re finding that already the furniture is coming directly to us as word of mouth spreads, so we spend less time trawling curbs now and more time in the workshop.

Which other nostalgic/recycled projects are you inspired by?
We’ve all got different aesthetics  and inspirations, some are more traditional and appreciate rich brocade and jacquard while others prefer the shabby chic aesthetic. There are several other restorers who sell through The Bower Reuse and Repair Centre that we keep an eye out for. Steve Swan is a great example with painted and stencilled timber tables and drawer units, and while Maaike tries to rein in her own aesthetic and approach in the Curb Collective workshop, it can’t help but creep in!

http://www.bower.org.au/curb-collective

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