Essential is a minimal furniture collection designed by London-based Viewport Studio for Industry+. Viewport Studio set out to dramatically reduce the energy and resources required for producing domestic furniture, while still creating enduring pieces that will be loved and used in everyday life. The result is Essential, a furniture range that has been sourced, developed, and manufactured from discarded timber within a 10 mile radius of its production location. This project questions the existing production cycle of commercial furniture and redefines what is essential to design, produce, consume and use at home. Essential merges responsible material sourcing, critical design thinking and key manufacturing, to create beautiful furniture for daily use.

Today, thousands of tonnes of timber beams, blocks and offcuts that do not conform to the standard shapes, sizes and finishes required by the construction industry are disposed of. These timber pieces vary enormously in size, shape and consistency, making them difficult to assemble into stable structures and useful items, resulting in wasted wood in timber yards. Viewport Studio cleverly pairs and efficiently machines these unwanted bits of timber, to create functional and naturally beautiful items of furniture.

Discarded timber pieces from construction sites and timber yards are selected and paired according to their structural properties, before being air dried to ensure stability in production. These pieces are then minimally sandblasted to strip away the bark and grime. The design team then assesses their unique characteristics, eliminating weak points and adding functional surfaces.

Rather than imposing a predetermined form onto the material, this process of form-giving results in a considered design that removes material that is unnecessary to perform the piece’s intended function. Structurally sound mortise and tenon joints and functional surfaces are then CNC milled into each piece, becoming a key trait of the collection’s adaptable design language. Once assembled, a layer of natural wood dye is finally applied to unify the different elements.

Photography by Benjamin Swanson