Cape Town designer creates extraordinary furniture out of ‘junk’

When Katie Thompson started her furniture design business, Recreate, in 2009, it coincided with the sweeping movement of sustainability across the design disciplines. Finding inspiration in discarded junk, Thompson saw a creative opportunity to upcycle and repurpose forgotten old pieces, giving them new life as everyday luxury goods. She shares more about the inner workings of her studio on Salt River Circle, on the border of Cape Town’s city centre.

Recreate specialises in luxury, extraordinary, upcycled furniture and lighting. Our ranges are comprised of unwanted or discarded items combined with new finishes and parts. Most of our work is custom made/bespoke, where clients bring us their own sentimental “junk” to be recreated into something functional.

Alternatively, customers can request something unique to be recreated and we will source the original vintage or “junk” item and recreate it into something new and luxurious.

I am inspired by the things that people throw away; what they believe to be useless. I have a big imagination and the discarded items that we work with usually tell me exactly what they want to be recreated into.

Our creative process mostly involves “listening” to these unloved junk items and then sourcing the perfect materials and parts in order to create a luxury product with a new function.

A project I really loved was a collaboration with Mercedes-Benz Germany, in 2012, to design an office node of office chair, desk and accessories out of their old SL car parts. Exhibiting at the prestigious design events Ambiente in Germany in 2013 and Maison Objet in Paris in 2014 are definite highlights of my career.

Ed’s note: Check out Katie Thompson’s blog for useful info on upcycling and recycling and other creative Cape Town design new.

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