We now – thankfully – live in an era of much more conscious furniture design. Materials which were once consigned to the scrapheap are now being reclaimed and turned into elegant pieces of furniture, all the more special because of their previous incarnations.
PGT-Reclaimed have been innovators in the recycled furniture space for twenty years. Since 1998, they have manufactured original, stylish and sustainable lifestyle furniture using 100% reclaimed wood, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
With around thirty beautiful collections across bedding, dining, living and office, all of PGT-Reclaimed’s products are made by hand using old English carpentry techniques, then finished with a multi-step French polishing process.
The reclaimed wood began life as old pallets, shipping containers, buildings or shipwrecks – adding a certain evocative romance to the pieces. PGT-Reclaimed’s finishes bring the pieces to life, showcasing the imperfect beauty of the timber, with every nail hole or marking.
With a factory in Vietnam, the company distributes furniture to 18 countries, worldwide, including Australia. Founded by Ian Burden, the company is today still run by Ian and his wife Yung, who is the company’s Brand and R&D Director. They also own PGT-Reclaimed’s exclusive Australian distribution company which supplies major furniture retailers and independent stores across the country.
Ian was first inspired to create sustainable furniture when the Vietnamese Government and World Heritage Council decided to clamp down on logging.
“I knew using wood already available was the way forward and our purpose is underlined by our unofficial motto: “Why cut one down, when you can use what’s lying on the ground to make a new one.”
We’re delighted that PGT-Reclaimed will be exhibiting at AIFF for the first time in 2018! In the lead up to the show, we asked Ian a few pertinent questions about his inspirations, process and what visitors can expect to see at the show.
You were one of Australia’s original manufacturers of 100% recycled and reclaimed furniture, through your factory in Vietnam. How do you ensure the process is as sustainable as possible?
We believe we were actually the first in the world to use 100% recycled wood in lifestyle furniture when I started the company in 1998! From then we’ve been focused on ensuring all of our processes have limited impact on the environment. This includes processes surrounding the wood we use, to the electricity, water usage and packaging.
Recycled wood is at the centre of what we do. It is our core ingredient, so we treat it with care and respect. All wood is collected and sorted, with nails and debris removed by hand. It is then treated, which includes being kiln-dried for 21 days. Absolutely nothing is wasted – even offcuts are used to fuel the fire!
We welcome the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to regularly audit our factory, to ensure we’re complying with their guidelines and that our wood has been ethically sourced and that it is genuine reclaimed wood.
“Our pieces display the FSC swing tag with pride in knowing we have fully complied with its regulations.
In our processes, I believe we’ve saved around 500,000 trees from not having to be cut down for furniture.”
How has 2018 been for PGT-Reclaimed so far? Have there been any particular challenges/successes?
2018 has been a very busy year as we’ve been developing new collections and new finishes that use a water-based solution only.
During this time, we’ve weaved in some celebrations for our 20th birthday. We held two events; the first for our customers and the second for our local workers and suppliers. It was a wonderful way to celebrate with the people who have been integral to our 20 years.
Have you noticed any particular trends in purchasing? What pieces are proving popular in contrast to last year?
In general terms, the ‘rustic’ look, as consumers tend to call it, continues to be popular and our furniture very much appeals to this consumer base. The most popular collection for us currently is Woodenforge, which has an industrial feel. It combines metal with wood and a ‘Rustic Natural’ finish. This will be one of our collections featured at the fair.
Overall, I believe consumers are becoming increasingly interested in a product’s environmental integrity, while being more conscious about what they bring into their homes and any effects products might have on theirs or their family’s health.
We continue to evolve our finishes for this very reason. Yung has been leading a program to move our finishes to using 100 percent water-based materials, away from Nitrocellulose (NC). While NC isn’t toxic, using water-based finishes is a much better option and ensures a more comfortable environment for both our workers and the end user.
Already, we’ve received great feedback on our water-based finishes, with customers in the UK, Sweden and US excited by the look, feel and benefits. We’ve moved 80 percent of products to water-based finishes, and aim for all to be transitioned by the end of 2018.
“We’re excited that all of our products we’ll be exhibiting at AIFF have been finished with water-based materials.”
The theme of the AH&G International Seminar Series this year at Decor + Design is ‘Everyday Luxury’ – whether that is created through luxe materials, bespoke design or small, everyday touches. How does PGT-Reclaimed approach the concept of luxury?
‘Everyday luxury’ is a great way to describe PGT-Reclaimed’s furniture. To us, luxury furniture is real wood, old English carpentry and a French finish, that ‘looks good, feels good and does good’. An owner of a piece of PGT-Reclaimed furniture should love the way it looks and feels and its functionality. They should also feel good about what it does for the environment.
Finally, what can visitors to the show expect to see from you this year at Decor + Design?
Visitors to the Australian International Furniture Fair will be the first in Australia to get a glimpse of two of our newest collections, Bohemian and Valetta!
The first, Bohemian, was inspired by my childhood, growing up in the multicultural suburb of Earlwood, Sydney. The collection is very modern and while it seems to have an industrial feel, instead of its legs being made from metal, like our Woodenforge collection, the legs are reclaimed wood that have been finely sanded and polished to look and feel as smooth as metal. These are completed with a brass plate to add sophistication.
The other new collection is Valetta, which is light in colour, completed in a Rustic Morning Mist finish, with the wood having a beautiful texture. This collection is stylish and modern, designed with a curved edge which is perfect to soften a room.
We’ll also be displaying new pieces from our Woodenforge and TuscanSpring collections. The TuscanSpring continues to gain momentum in Australia and was inspired by multi-generational catchups in the Tuscan countryside. It’s a beautiful collection and actually featured in Season 3’s garden party on The Great Australian Bake Off earlier this year!
We’re also happy to discuss the other collections that are available to Australia and exhibition-only prices will be available to visitors. If they order at the show, they’ll have the furniture in time for the busy Christmas season!
It’s our first year exhibiting at the Australian International Furniture Fair and Decor + Design. We’re looking forward to telling the PGT-Reclaimed story and furthering our footprint in the Australian market!
Taking place from 19th – 22nd of July at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, the Australian International Furniture Fair and Decor + Design are Australia’s No.1 Interiors Event. With 350+ exhibitors and 10,000+ visitors over four days, it’s the industry’s premier networking destination. Register now to attend and visit PGT-Reclaimed at Stand S26.
Find out more about PGT-Reclaimed at www.pgt-reclaimed.com.au.