The Preloved Team recently travelled to the University of Birmingham to chat to Matt Beveridge and to see how Project Up was doing in the social area of Centre Court. As mentioned previously, the Green Community is a unique living arrangement where students of the University who have an interest in sustainable living can learn new skills and want to take responsibility for the impact they have on the environment.
Project UP has put together the furniture in the social area, and the first thing they did was to put up a fitted bookcase made out of scaffold boards and ¾ inch malleable iron piping; this was provided by Barnington Forge Blacksmiths.
We talked to Jon Hutchinson about what this collaboration with UoB means to Project UP, how does it defer from other projects, and how they thought this initiative will make a difference.
“The collaboration with the University of Birmingham is something that we are really proud of. Working with likeminded organisations is always great and being involved with something as innovative as the Green Community fills us with excitement. With this project we were given a blank canvas and able to turn the University’s vision for the Green Community into a reality. We wanted to use a wide range of salvaged materials and produce items from reclaimed timber, repurposed scaffold poles and fabric offcuts. The result is a practical and engaging space that we hope will be a vibrant home for this new community.
We used upcycled materials throughout the room in the hope that it will make students look at waste differently. Upcycling is one of the most creative design processes you can go through. It makes you look at the intrinsic value of materials as well as thinking about the journey it has been on to get to you. It is not thinking outside the box, it is thinking what you can do with the box!
Over the coming months we are running a workshop series with the incoming students to teach them basic upcycling skills in the hope that we can inspire a new generation of designers and makers.”
The sofa was made with pallets, and The Sewing Rooms provided the cushions. Both pallets and cushions were made to measure and look like at home in the corner.
The large desk was also made of reclaimed scaffold boards and poles. The low coffee table was made of a circular cable reel and hair pin legs sourced from turned pipes.
Blackboard were added to note upcoming events, activities and opportunities.
The space now looks amazing and inviting, ready to inspire and bring together its new inhabitants.
Matt Beveridge is the Deputy Manager for Environmental Services and told us all about this new project. The idea came about because students expressed an interest in living more sustainably; at the same time, it was noted that they are looking to learn new skills outside the scope of their degree. That is how the idea of combining sustainability, introducing upcycling workshops and creating social spaces emerged. He remarked that this is a pioneering project which could be rolled out to other areas of the university or even around the country if it proved successful, stressing that it will be ever-changing as they will conduct annual surveys to carry out new ideas on into the following academic year.