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A new lease of life for redundant office furniture

London SE1 website team

Students at an Elephant and Castle college have created art works from redundant office furniture donated by London Bridge-based recycling charity Green-Works.

Green Works

Students at the London College of Communication (formerly the London College of Printing) have used the office furniture to build a funky and abstract maze and a giant wedding cake.

An award-winning social enterprise and registered charity, Green-Works has revolutionised office furniture waste streams. On target to divert 11,000 tonnes from landfill this year alone, it collects vast amounts of surplus office furniture from the commercial world and government bodies. These items are then redistributed at low cost to thousands of schools, charities, community groups, housing associations and small businesses across the country. In the whole process, valuable training and employment opportunities are created in economically deprived areas.

To ensure nothing goes to landfill, damaged furniture which cannot be re-distributed is broken down into component parts and donated as props to a whole range of art and design projects for use in creative ways. In this way a new lease of life can be given to old material. Not only does this protect the environment but "going green" saves money too and encourages people to actively think about regeneration.

Inspired by Gwen Stefani, the theme for their end of year project is the 'forgotten wedding'. It is a culmination of many creative directions that the students can pursue from the course to include graphic, media and commercial avenues. The show is an installation, performance and projection all at the same time.

"Lack of funding for student shows is legendary so Green-Works support is immeasurable and inspirational, said Melanie Goldsmith, course tutor for the foundation degree in visual design & display at London College of Communication. "The design students have focused on re-using these donated items in innovative ways for their show and staging it during the capital's biggest community event, London Sustainability Weeks."

Colin Crooks, chief executive of Green-Works, added: "Green-Works is delighted to support University of the Arts London so that they can throw caution to the wind, come up with some fantastic ideas and use unconventional recycled items. We are keen to support more art, design and theatre projects so that as many people as possible can be part of this exciting initiative. As part of our social ethos, we encourage people to take an active part in sustainability as it benefits everyone and protects the environment."

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