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Assemble's Stylish New Upcycled Furniture Has Social Mission

The temporary Granby Workshop showroom, set up in the Tramway in Glasgow, displays a collection of socially minded crafts created by architecture collective Assemble. All images courtesy Assemble.
The temporary Granby Workshop showroom, set up in the Tramway in Glasgow, displays a collection of socially minded crafts created by architecture collective Assemble. All images courtesy Assemble.

When socially-minded architecture collective Assemble was nominated for the Turner Prize earlier this year, the young group's ascension to the upper strata of the art world upended tradition. So it shouldn't be a surprise that their contribution to the Turner Prize exhibition offered an unorthodox means to turn community empowerment into meaningful art. Called Granby Workshop, the new social enterprise features a line of singular hand-made home goods, currently available online via a crowd-funding campaign and on-display at a showroom as part of the Turner Prize exhibit in Glasgow, Scotland.

This unique product line came about when the collective looked at ways to help a community in Liverpool rebuild. Each piece was designed to furnish one of a series of re-occupied homes in the Granby neighborhood, buildings previously boarded up by the local government councils that have been recently reclaimed by a citizen-led community land trust looking to re-activate a once-lively main street. Many of the pieces being promoted result from a crafting process deliberately imbued with elements of chance. Assemble used discarded material from the housing sites, such as burned wood or chipped-off pieces of terra cotta, as the raw materials for random yet refined collages and furniture pieces, such as a patterned clay lampshade. The unique designs are meant to help these once-discarded, derelict buildings regain a bit of character and personality. Pre-payments for the collection will provide starter funds for a neighborhood workshop that will employ locals in the experimental manufacturing processes.


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