Dezeen Magazine

Aldgate Gold collection by London Metropolitan University students and Benchmark at Clerkenwell Design Week 2024

Frying pans and tennis balls feature in collection made from found objects by London Met students

Students from London Metropolitan University worked with Benchmark to create a range of products using the furnituremaker's wood offcuts and objects gathered from the streets of London for Clerkenwell Design Week.

A group of second and third-year students from the university's undergraduate degree in product and furniture design participated in the project, called Aldgate Gold after the area where London Metropolitan University (London Met) is based.

Tennis ball sliders by Odysseus Papamalis
The Aldgate Gold project finds a new purpose for found objects

Each of their designs incorporates objects found in the local neighbourhood that are transformed into new products through their combination with crafted wood components, made using offcuts from the Benchmark workshop.

The brief called for responses characterised by "wit, intelligence and economy" to unlock the hidden properties of the found objects, according to course leader and designer Simon Hasan.

Mirror by Lency Perez
Among the projects is a pan repurposed as a mirror by Lency Perez

"Looking with the eyes of a designer slash creator, we wanted them to unlock the latent potential within the 'old' objects through thoughtfully designed and beautifully crafted appendages," he told Dezeen.

"We encouraged the students to scour the streets – avoiding the urge to just pick up anything but to instead really choose an object that they personally felt has latent potential."

Aldgate Gold collection by London Metropolitan University students and Benchmark at Clerkenwell Design Week 2024
The collection is on show at St James's Church as part of Clerkenwell Design Week

The project was undertaken in collaboration with furnituremaker Benchmark, which has a long track record of supporting emerging designers such as Mac Collins and Sebastian Cox.

The students visited the brand's Berkshire headquarters to meet the design team and craftsmen, and used their wood offcuts as the main constituent pieces for their final products, with the found objects playing a supporting role.

"They needed to consider the visual and conceptual balance between the found object and their response, so it should remain identifiable for what it was, but also be transformed into a new item," Hasan said.

Bookend by Michael Dairo
Michael Dairo made a bookend from a broken clamp

The objects developed by the students include a pair of walnut wood sliders by Odysseus Papamalis, made with tennis balls found in a local park court and old gym towels repurposed to create straps.

And a clothes rail salvaged from the Petticoat Lane street market in east London became the support for a simple oak seat by Giada Rinzivillo.

Olivia Gonsalves transformed an old broom into a leaning lamp by adding a walnut stand that conceals the cable along with a bespoke linen shade, while Achille Nasard's ForkLight contrasts a carbon fibre bicycle fork with a lamp holder and base made from sycamore.

Mirko Vassallo transformed a discarded wine rack into an umbrella stand with a sturdy walnut wood base.

A broken clamp was given a new life by Michael Dairo, who crafted an American oak bookend that uses the screw mechanism to hold books in place.

Achille Nasard's ForkLight
The ForkLight combines sycamore wood with a carbon fibre bicycle fork

Teresa Kupcikova created a set of dumbells using a bicycle handlebar and blocks of sycamore in different densities. Similarly, Iliana Stoyanova created an exercise tool by combining a CNC-machined oak board with a found bicycle inner tube that can be used as a resistance band.

And Lency Perez polished a non-stick frying pan to create a reflective surface that now functions as a mirror when the pan is hung from a wall-mounted walnut hook.

Exercise weight by Teresa Kupcikova
Teresa Kupcikova's dumbells use sycamore wood in different densities as weights

"Usually our offcuts are converted to biomass to heat our workshop," said Benchmark's managing director Martin Penrose. "So it was great to see how the biogenic carbon in the timber could be locked up for longer."

"The students identified some really innovative ways to add value to found objects that would otherwise have been waste. We really hope that the exhibition will inspire others to think creatively about how we can all do more with less."

Aldgate Gold collection by London Metropolitan University students and Benchmark for Clerkenwell Design Week 2024
Aldgate Gold is a collaboration between London Met students and Benchmark

The Aldgate Gold collaboration was initiated by the organisers of Clerkenwell Design Week and is currently on show at St James's Church in Farringdon as part of the festival.

Other projects unveiled during the event include a cork and latex sofa by designer Paul Croft and a pavilion by Peter Morris made from pink imitation stone.

The install images are by Ashley Bingham and the studio shots by Lakruwan Rajapaksha.

Clerkenwell Design Week takes place from 21 to 23 May 2024 at various locations across London. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

More images

Tennis ball sliders by Odysseus Papamalis
Tennis ball sliders by Odysseus Papamalis
Leaning Lamp by Olivia Gonsalves
Leaning Lamp by Olivia Gonsalves
Excercise Board by Iliana Stoyanova
Excercise Board by Iliana Stoyanova
Bowl by Samuel Reeves
Bowl by Samuel Reeves
Chair by Giada Rinzivillo
Chair by Giada Rinzivillo
Umbrella stand by Mirko Vassallo
Umbrella stand by Mirko Vassallo