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Reduce, reuse, funk up

Michelle Loveday creates Funkedup Furniture. “This piece in particular had a padded seat on it. We took it off and then I decoupaged the whole thing,” she said. Photo Credit: Katie Fedosenko.

Brisbane’s Michelle Loveday rescues discarded chairs, repurposes coffee sacks and recycles denim to create sustainable seats. Michelle started transforming trash into domestic treasure as a hobby. “I just did it for me,” she said.

Michelle’s business Funkedup Furniture was born when she built cube seats for a friend’s cafe in the West End, an eclectic Brisbane suburb.

“She asked me if could make her ‘some of those groovy stools.’ We tried a whole heap of ideas to make the stools look good. We used recycled coffee bags, recycled denim jeans, recycled fabrics like curtains and stuff like that to create the cube stools.”

Michelle showcased her furniture at South Bank Markets and Finders Keepers Markets where she connected with people who were interested Funkedup. Michelle’s cubes are currently featured at Taqueria, a Mexican restaurant in Woolloongabba and at the Regatta Hotel in their cellar bar.

Her furniture is more than functional; it’s art. Her benches have been exhibited in local art galleries and markets. The marriage of form and function is natural for Michelle, who has a degree in Visual Arts. “The best class I ever took was textiles,” she said.

Michelle builds the furniture in her Yeronga workshop with her partner Jason Silabon who comes from a family-run furniture business. “They used to do a lot of the cinema seating so he knows about upholstery and timber work. He’s a handyman by trade so everything we make is to commercial standards, especially the cube seats.”

It’s a joint venture and shared passion for Michelle and Jason. “Creating the furniture is just stuff we like to do. We’ve picked them up from the side of the road and remade them so they’re structurally sound,” she said.

Funkedup Furniture is currently on display at Karen White Gallery on Wickam St near Gotha St in Fortitude Valley, a fashion and club district of Brisbane. The Gallery only recently opened it’s doors. It’s official launch is on 10 May.

Michelle met Karen White in a business course and last year they did a joint exhibition. “She’s always wanted to own a gallery like this,” said Michelle. “This is her space but I wanted to be part of it.”

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Tags: Art, eco-chic, furniture, recycle, repurpose, reuse, sustainable living

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