London Craft Week 2021: Launching our circular design furniture collection

This London Craft Week, we were delighted to bring together our friends, supporters and local community to celebrate the launch of our Ayrton collection and raise vital funds for our teaching academy.

A circular design 

We were proud to present Ayrton, a circular design collection that brings together our minimalist aesthetic with our commitment to sustainability. 

Designed by our Designer and Maker, Daniele Barco, the first edition pieces gave new life to teak lab benches, kindly donated by Imperial College London’s Department of Electrical Engineering. This was combined with Douglas Fir, a strong softwood with a contrasting light hue, sourced from locally-grown trees that had been felled to make way for urban development. 

Our artisans crafted the new pieces by hand in our workshop using hand-cut joinery and traditional tools, producing a timeless collection designed to be used, cherished and eventually passed down to future generations, or even transformed into something new. 

The stunning curves of the Ayrton Bench were created by Designer and Maker Daniele Barco using an old compass tool (pictured here), believed to be around 100 years old.

An evening of celebration

The night before the auction of the exclusive first edition pieces drew to a close, this event was a chance for potential bidders to get up close and personal with the first edition pieces and hear more about their incredible journey from lab to lounge.

We were joined by special guest, purpose-driven writer and speaker Katie Treggiden for an inspiring interview  with our CEO and Co-founder Marie Carlisle on circular design and the power of craft.

The night was topped off with a live auction led by Deputy Director of Sotheby's Giorgia Parodi-Brown, where some lucky winners got their hands on fantastic prizes including a place on Katie Treggiden’s Waste Masterclass, a drumming lesson with The Cure’s Jason Cooper and a making experience with our very own artisan designer-maker, Daniele Barco. 

We would like to say a huge thank you for the delicious drinks provided on the night by our Pale Fox Prosecco, Belu and Boxer Gin, who share our core values of bringing sustainable, ethical and socially-responsible products to the market. Pale Fox produce prosecco use 100% renewable energy sources in their production, from both solar and hydro-electric energy, and they plant a tree for every order placed. Boxer Gin, part of the Sustainable Spirit Co., has created an innovative refill system, which reduces their use of packaging and saves energy on the carbon cost of producing a new bottle. Belu have made a 68% saving in CO2 emissions since 2010, turned almost 80 million old bottles into new ones, and been certified carbon-neutral. They also give 100% of their net profits to Water Aid.

 A new life for Imperial’s lab benches

The following day, after a flurry of final bids, our online auction came to an end.

One of the lucky auction winners was Belen Barbed, a graduate of Imperial's engineering department who remembers working on these benches when she was studying. Now, a piece of the university’s history sits in her home, reimagined as a stunning side table. We can’t think of a more fitting end to the story of this material, and we hope Belen enjoys her new piece. 

Auction winner Belen Barbed sitting at one of the teak lab benches donated by Imperial College London and her Ayrton Side Table in its new home.


An exciting future for the Goldfinger Academy

We are delighted to announce that from the online auction and the launch event, together, we are delighted to have raised a total of £15,620 for the Goldfinger Academy. This money will go towards creating more spaces in our craft workshops for local residents on low income and support our apprenticeship scheme for local young people not in education, employment or training

​​We would like to say a huge thank you to all who attended the event, bid in the auction and have already donated. Also to Imperial College, Giorgia Parodi-Brown from Sotheby’s, and Heatherwick Studio, Michaelis Boyd Architects, Soho House, Laylow, Native Hotels, Dazed Media, Caroline Boseley, Katie Treggiden and Gerard Mcatamney who all donated an auction lot. The funding will enable us to continue to share our skills in sustainable design and craftsmanship with our local community, educating the next generation and promoting wellbeing.

If you missed out on our Ayrton launch, please consider making donation to the Goldfinger Academy here.


Our partners at Sustainable Spirit Co. would like to offer our readers a 10% discount on Boxer Gin and Pale Fox Prosecco. To redeem this offer visit their website and enter code GOLDFINGER10 at check-out.

Images by Danny Abbott.