For hipsters the future is retro!
Vintage furniture seems to be all the rage at the moment with corporate events, parties and more weddings having quirky, characterful design themes. This is ideal for Mark Weeks- Pearson the vintage furniture aficionado at Elite Hire. Mark is based at the Elite furniture workshop in the heart of the Buckinghamshire Countryside with stunning views out onto fields of farmland and livestock
“I love the creativity of vintage furniture design, creating unique pieces by upcycling materials from all kinds of unusual sources. We have designed poseur tables with zinc tops and used wood from the floor of a factory in West Yorkshire that had spots of oil ingrained in the wood from the factory’s machinery. It created an amazing patina in the wood, which we were able to make a feature.
We have a yellow Massey Ferguson tractor table from Canada, we further distressed the paintwork of the old tractor and then sealed- in the unique texture and added lights and legs to create a really characterful piece.
Another project was at the front of a bar created from farmhouse doors. We pressure washed them so that more of the paint flaked off and then sealed- in the distressed character with lacquer and it was used to build the front of a bar with an apple create back bar which houses a recessed fridge. One of my personal favourites is a pommel horse table. We sourced pommel horses from village schools and then use the top 2 tiers to create low-level stools and the bottom 3 layers are topped with reclaimed wood to create coffee tables.
We used wood from a prison which was being demolished because the prisoners kept burning it down! The place had to be rebuilt in brick, so we rescued the wood and used it to make vintage trestle tables. Sometimes we even add to the distressed look by beating the wood with chains to create pits in the wood, which we can paint or scorch to give a unique look.
It’s great fun to do as well as being challenging at times. The vintage ‘upcycling’ is becoming popular for corporates and for weddings. I think people recognise the history of the furniture, It’s furniture with a story attached.…I also think it makes people more relaxed, it’s worn and travelled and doesn’t want you to stand on ceremony, just have a good time!
A memorable event using our vintage furniture was a 50th birthday in an aeroplane hangar with a helicopter as part of the set! They created a chill-out zone and bar with the vintage furniture and the birthday boy was flown in by helicopter for his party, amazing!
I think the opportunity to mix and match styles and retain elements of history and character provides a great opportunity not only for me as a furniture designer but it also provides the event planner enormous flexibility to differentiate a brand or create a unique theme.
We provided furniture hire at the Truman Brewery venue in London for a prestigious corporate event, a media show for a giant US soft drinks company. They used vintage furniture as a bar and ‘green’ area which helps them differentiate their event and not seem ostentatious or too self-important. It is a constant source of excitement to discover new things to work with and even though being a furniture hire company we need to create 25 pieces or so of each piece of furniture, we can still build in slight differences or incorporate something of emotional value into the piece.
If an Event Organiser needs to feature a particular colour scheme or fabric then we can do that too, it’s nice to collaborate and I am always happy if an event organiser wants to chat or discuss a new vintage piece they have in mind. For more contemporary themes, we have our new brightly coloured furniture in the pipeline too, bright pink tables and bright blue chaise longues look amazing together …so again more food for thought for our event organiser clients and I hope a bit of inspiration too.” Mark Weeks -Pearson
I’m off to look for a piano now…I want to make a ‘bar out of it to serve drinks or maybe I can make it from a VW camper van that would be fun …” Mark Weeks -Pearson
Below are a few of the treasures found in Marks’ “Aladdin’s Cave’ of a furniture workshop in the Buckinghamshire Countryside…