A few weeks back we introduced you to an awesome chair designed and built by Fallen Furniture, a UK-based design company that uses old aircraft parts to create functional furniture pieces. The one-of-a-kind chair that was once a 737 Engine Cowling became an instant hit in the internet world. Inquisitiveness to know more about the company and people behind it led us to contact the founding members of Fallen Furniture, i.e., Benjamin and Harry Tucker. We were quick enough to ask Ben for an interview, and, as expected, he answered in the affirmative. Here is what he and his brother have to say about vision of the company, design, sustainability and upcoming projects. We hope you enjoy the ride.
HC: Tell us something about yourself. How did journey of Fallen Furniture begin?
Ben: Fallen Furniture itself was born in early 2013, and came about after we saw this concept of furniture being done in the USA but decided to put our own unique British twist on the concept. We are two brothers at the heart of it, Ben + Harry Tucker, and I guess in a nutshell we were tired of our day jobs and craved something that involved day to day diversity and creativity. Prior to this Harry was modelling and I was working in the city of London, but we come from a family of farmers so we have always been very hands on with machinery and metalworking.
HC: How did the idea of making aviation furniture come to your mind?
Ben:I am afraid to say it did not come as any sort of epiphany, or anything as exciting as that, we both wanted to change our working lives, and we knew we wanted to do something unique and interesting, and whilst doing our homework we stumbled upon this concept being done mainly in the states, so we got to do some research and saw that there was no-one really doing it here in the UK, so we decided is would deb a good business idea to pursue, we did, and since then have never looked back.
HC: Why just aircrafts, and not recycled car parts?
Ben: We aren’t really interested in cars ourselves, and the parts are abundant, so we felt they lacked a wow factor. When we started we partnered up with an aircraft breaker here in the UK where we have access to huge volumes of aircraft parts, so there has been plenty of material to keep us busy over the years. That’s not to say we wouldn’t try our hand at working with boat parts or the like in the future. Also, there is something magical about aviation that resonates with nearly everyone, so that makes the parts special almost in our minds.
HC: Are your designs mass-produced? If yes, what is the price range?
Ben: In a short answer, no. Everything is made here in the UK, with nearly every piece of engineering sourced within a 20 mile radius of our workshop. We make everything bespoke to order, so we rarely carry stock. During the past 4 years we started to notice the huge amounts of material going to landfill, so we have actually just started a new venture which is due to launch before summer, that will be turning the old seating fabric into luxury bags and accessories, it will go by the name of P L A N E. We will be launching the first range on Kickstarter and have been working on it for nearly the last year, we are both super excited and it will be our first line of mass-produced products.
HC: Your product range mainly contains furniture. Does this indicate your love and preference for furniture? If yes, why? For how many years have you been into this profession and what do you fancy doing other than creating exclusive aviation art pieces?
Ben: I guess the above answers that a little bit. We don’t have a preference as such, but we do enjoy creating pieces that people put in their homes and are so proud of, it makes us proud. We have been in the profession since 2013, and had no prior experience in making furniture before that, we are believers that you can do whatever you put your mind to, and it is paramount that you have good people around you who are experts in their specific fields.
No, furniture is just the start, as mentioned above we are now trying our hand in the fashion industry, and have some big plans going forward with regards to making, smaller, more accessible and affordable pieces of furniture and accessories for the home.
HC: How do you manage to maintain perfect detailing in each creation?
Ben: Attention to detail, it is the bedrock of any good trade or profession, sweating over the little things make all the big things work out. I know it sounds like a cliche, but we really are perfectionists, Harry more so, its just not in our blood to make anything shabby or unfinished, It definitely stems from our father who we grew up working for in the summers, he is the absolute perfectionist and it must have rubbed off more than we had noticed! We will not release a product to the general public if we do not think it is right or meets our own high standards. Its is something we are proud of and touch wood to this day we do not have a disgruntled client (that we know of!).
HC: Is buying your products a way to encourage and rethink recycling? How will recycling save the day for us?
Ben: Reuse more and waste less whilst making desirable products that will last the test of time! We like to think that all the materials we use to build our pieces have an amazing backstory and we aim to give them a new future narrative and purpose. We believe that we can always do more to reuse rather than constantly make more from new materials, and that is at the heart of what we do and our message, we constantly ask questions, scrutinise and study our relationship with the things we throw away.
HC: How do you define connection between recycling and sustainable living through your designs?
Ben: Sustainability seems to have become such a hated word, people are becoming increasingly weary of using it as i seems to have been adopted by just about every big and small business as a bolt on/ add on, an afterthought if you will. We want it to be at the heart of everything we do by using both sustainable materials and labor too. We will always retain production here in the UK where we know what we are paying our subcontractors, and we have complete control over the materials we use and their provenance. We are installing solar panels in our workshop and we constantly strive to look for ways in which we can improve our carbon footprint. More so, through concentrating on using materials that would otherwise be headed for landfill, or melted down, at the cost of the environment, we aim to create a fully sustainable business that will be carbon neutral by 2018.
HC: As your designs look bulky; how do you address the issue of mobility? How do you justify connection between minimalism and modernism?
Ben: We appreciate that given we are working with aircraft parts, size is always an issue, so for the larger products we design them from the ground up so that they will be able to fit through a standard door, that is true for everything we have made to date, including the 737 cowling chair. It is always the more difficult option, but practicality is always at the top of our list when designing anything. We aim to be as reductionist and minimalist as possible with our designs, and always staying true to the original aircraft part, however because we never start from a blank canvas, there is always an initial part to work from, it is much more of a challenge to create minimal sleek products, but something we relish doing and feel we have succeeded in doing with our products to date. We are really excited about the furniture industry today, with up cycling gaining more and more traction and credibility, we see some really fascinating things being built, more and more so using “scrap” as the raw material, our aim is to make antiques of the future by making the world’s most luxurious upcycled products.
HC: What is an average time taken to complete an art piece?
Ben: From design and brainstorming to final production it can take up to 12 months on the larger items. For our current collection of smaller goods it will be anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks.
HC: Have you collaborated with other businesses to mass produce your designs?
Ben: We do have a few things in the pipeline, including a line of really exciting products that will be mass produced from old aircraft parts in collaboration with a large lighting company to take them to market, we can’t say too much at this point in time but as soon as we can give more details we will.
HC: Any word on your upcoming designs we will see in coming days?
Ben: We have just launched a new project called P L A N E. During our time with Fallen Furniture we noticed a lot of fabrics ending up in landfill, and we did not like this, so we set out to try and do something about it.
The result was P L A N E where we will be making luxury bags and accessories from the old seating fabrics. It is due to launch before summer this year and we will be doing so on Kickstarter. The photography is nearly complete so when that is done I will be able to get some images to you, for now people can sign up on the website for previews and news.