Earlier this month, Adrian, our Social Media Specialist, took a trip to London to visit an organisation that we have been donating timber to. Goldfinger Factory, based on Golborne Road, is an award-winning social enterprise who fabricate sustainably designed and built bespoke pieces and commercial fit-outs. We cut down any wood we have that is unsuitable for worktops, producing smaller items like chopping boards – nothing is wasted as we fuel our heaters using timber that would otherwise be wasted. Last year we started donating some of this timber and Adrian met with Marie, the CEO and Co-Founder of Goldfinger Factory, to find out how they use this wood.
Hi Marie. Could you tell me a little bit about Goldfinger Factory?
We’re a social enterprise that designs and fabricates furniture from reclaimed materials, sourced from a variety of partners like Worktop Express. We also help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds become self-sustaining through craft be providing them with a variety of training programmes.
Your products look great! What are you working on at the moment?
We’ve got our head of design and operations fabricating furniture for a variety of different clients – he can be working on as many as 10 projects at a time! Right at this moment, he’s working on a huge table. We also have a trainee working with us – he’s been training with us for two years under one of the master carpenters but now does it all himself. At the moment he’s working on office desks for a big client, which is a great outcome for him and for us.
What do you do with the wood we provide for you?
First of all, we are very grateful for Worktop Express’ support. The wood we receive from you is a really fantastic change to our operations. The consistent flow of high-quality wood, although useless to you, is all perfectly usable for us and still encapsulates our “waste to gold” philosophy. We piloted it last year when we launched a very exciting range of cute desk tidies that combine plastic from Arup and the wood that you supply, which we turn into the lids. The lids are made from walnut and oak. That’s just one way we use your donated timber to showcase how tactile and beautiful it can be. It really shows people that reclaimed doesn’t mean inferior – it doesn’t mean sub-standard. We believe strongly that waste is a resource in the wrong hands.
What is your process for creating something new?
Alex, the head of design and operations for Goldfinger Factory, has a very multifaceted role that requires him to wear many hats. He’s basically involved throughout all of the stages of a project, from conception to delivery. When a client comes to us with a proposal, it’s his job to consider how to use the recycled materials that we receive. He’s always thinking of ways to use the Worktop Express table tops and benches for large and small projects. When we get the wood in, he’ll have a look and see where it’s most useful. A great example is when we used your wood in a café in South Ealing that provides a place for people with trauma to go for treatment. That’s one place the wood has been used extensively.
Apart from sustainable design and build what else do Goldfinger Factory do?
Our kitchen was the first thing that we started way back in 2013. We had the vision to provide reasonably priced food and drink in an approachable space where communities felt welcome. Our start-up chef is a real food entrepreneur. We provide a fully serviced kitchen space for peppercorn rent in exchange for providing service to the community in the form of a people’s kitchen. Food is a real passion of mine. The Italian chef, Giuseppe, gives us his surplus food every 3rd Sunday and volunteers cook up a beautiful feast. At 6 pm anyone is welcome to drop by for a free meal.
Could you explain a little more about the social aspect of Goldfinger factory?
Using the resources that Worktop Express can’t use gives us the opportunity to create products, which in turn creates jobs and training opportunities. It completes the cycle and makes our socio-economic model possible. More importantly though, it really makes young people feel empowered, giving them the confidence to turn waste into gold!
If you would like to learn more about Goldfinger Factory or perhaps pay them a visit, you can find all the information on their website. What do you think of the work that they do? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.