Shabby chic, vintage, retro, antique, upcycled – these are words being banded round the hipsters of the design industry more and more. Even BBC1s The Apprentice last night had its contestants setting up shop in trendy Brick Lane.
The appeal of this look is not surprising, however. It appears to be a backlash of sorts against clean and clinical modern design and mass uniformity. Why buy a flatpack Ikea dresser when you can find another, older model for much cheaper, and snazz it up?
More and more online upcycling shops are appearing, all with some really brilliant and creative pieces. Almost always sympathetic to the time the piece was made, the modifications give a fun and funky edge.
This chair and the set of drawers above both come from Elemental, a store based in the East End’s Spitalfields. Another great source of upcycling inspiration is The Old Cinema, who were actually on last night’s Apprentice. Located in an old cinema, they have an incredible range of pieces.
This table was upcycled from a Boeing 737’s landing gear.
What is refreshing about this trend is that anyone with any creative spark could have a go. A tired, dated table could instantly be transformed into something unique and infinitely interesting. I think this is a very exiting movement indeed.