Alchemy for our times: Busybees Furniture

Bespoke Stripey sideboard

Busybees Furniture; a local social entrepreneurial outfit, ticks all the right boxes for the world we live in these days.

They take unwanted furniture from your front door direct to their Crumlin warehouse for future recycling, saving you the expense of locating a skip. Thus their adage “Saving the planet one sofa at a time” as they rescue old unloved furniture – unearthing hidden gems from the inner recesses of Dublin homes – long forgotten and inherited mostly from the last century.

Next, these pieces are up-cycled using in-house design experts whilst also providing FAS training for the unemployed. The Result: an eclectic collection of some contemporary looking and likeable pieces using a resourceful range of techniques like decoupage and stencilling. In some cases a really witty re-imagining of the kitsch and the mundane. Alternatively classic pieces may also be restored to former grandeur and kept as an antique.

Chest of Drawers restored in contemporary colours

If you are the creative type, it’s possible to customise and commission a bespoke piece for yourself using materials like old photographs or patterns that you wish to see embedded in your little creation. It’s a great resource too. You have probably seen some of their work as theatre props, window displays and I always find it educational watching them showcase their techniques.

upcycled one-off chairs for the Furniture & Home Accessories Fair seminar theatre

The Irish Furniture & Home Accessories Trade Fair for example, has spotlighted their socially entrepreneurial work at their annual event last March, using upcycled chairs from the old Switzers Department store Cafe. In effect an old piece of Dublin history was revived and given a makeover at the event. The quirky collection of dolled up chairs rescued from landfill, formed a feature in themselves as seating for the Smart Retail” seminar theatre and were eventually sold to trade buyers on the last day of the show in support of the organisation. A great example of lateral thinking and mutual collaboration at work.

Just as handy if you are a business looking to restore old stock and rejig your displays or as spotted recently, getting rid of furniture without the cost of skip hire: Starbucks in Blackrock just gave them a whole load of slightly worn furniture ast week.

Busybees upcycled chairs in the Furniture & Home Accessories Fair seminar
Restored Chairs rescued from landfill

See their pop-up shop in Rathmines, their permanent Bridgefoot St. retail unit or watch them work their magic in their Crumlin Warehouse. I have been there and its an Aladdin’s cave filled with vintage furniture including some really promising pieces of mid-century design awaiting that transition from unwanted heirlooms into hip talking points for the next house party. I have seen boring old office chairs turned into pieces of Burlesque folly, coffee tables seared in verse and 1930s dressing tables re-varnished and imbued with images from personal photographs….

At the end of the day you may think twice about that mass-produced design classic at €1500 euro a pop and opt instead for a unique and sustainable piece of craft indelibly marked with your own memories, that’s also good for urban job creation.

It doesn’t get more Good, Green and Gorgeous than that. Dare I say it: Alchemy for the times we live in..


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