Next in our series, Small Businesses that Green our World, it is our pleasure to introduce you to Tristan Titeux, eco-carpenter, furniture designer, owner of Custom Carpentry and creator of eco-furniture Milo.
Concerned with the wastage created by installing fitted furniture, Tristan created Milo, a stunningly elegant coffee table created left over off cuts and unwanted furniture.
Growing up close to nature, Tristan is a passionate advocate of sustainable design and hopes, through his furniture and forthcoming book, to help others understand and make more environmentally-friendly product choices.
I asked Tristan to tell us a little more about himself and his background:
I was born in London and brought up for 13 years in Belgium. My father was a Belgian herbalist and inventor who spoke on the national radio about wild plants every weekend for 5 years in the early 80’s. We lived in a beautiful but primitive house with thick walls made of flint stone and chalk. Inside we just had one cold tap that lived in the kitchen. The toilet and bathroom were outside and had no plumbed water, we had no TV or fridge and lived very close to nature where I spent all my time playing and using my hands. We milked our goats and collected eggs from our chickens and ducks. We had two wood fires, learned not to waste a thing, learned the value of resources, produce and where they came from. This closeness to nature has never left me and teaches me a lot of what I know about sustainability today.
What is the Milo and what makes it so special?
Milo is a small coffee or bedside table that is made of off-cuts left over from making our fitted furniture, as well as unwanted furniture that we take out of peoples homes. It saves space in landfill and avoids dangerous glues decomposing and seeping into the environment and new raw wood from having to be processed and manufactured to make new materials. And even more importantly in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t about one or a few tables, it is about making people think about waste, materials, their possessions and to be more aware of where they come from, what it has taken to bring those to life, the resources it has taken, the power to produce them and the environmental footprint on the whole. We must not take things for granted and them away without thought. Everything we consume has an effect on the environment and ultimately our health.
How did you come up with the idea for Milo?
I came up with Milo because I was very upset with seeing all this waste go to landfill, it really broke my heart to see this good wood be wasted, so I made a table that only needed small pieces of wood because offcuts are usually small and useless for anything else.
What has been your proudest moment to date?
My proudest moment to date is a hard one because I struggled a lot in the past with seeing what good I had in me, not because I am bad but I take what I do for granted and don’t value myself. I think… though it has nothing to do with creating furniture, it was creating my first real baby boy, because I didn’t think I could produce something so beautiful.
What has been your biggest success to date?
My biggest success to date is doing my first eco wardrobe project this year for a Home makeover programme on ITV, we had to remodel an existing wardrobe and all that we took off were the doors that we recycled ourselves, and replaced them with clean modern style ones that we specialise in, they were made of formaldehyde free mdf and painted with voc free eco paint. Instead of ripping the whole wardrobe out we were able to reuse the old carcass and save material from being potentially wasted.
What are your plans for 2012?
My plans for 2012 are to publish my book called “Eco (furniture) Choices” which focuses on home furnishings and everything that they affect in our environment. I give people tools, techniques and examples of how you can understand if something is sustainable, good for you and the environment.
Where can people buy/ find out more about your product?
To find out more or buy Milo contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, head over to our Custom Carpentry Facebook page
Finally, we are very excited to announce that Tristan has kindly offered us one of his unique Milo coffee tables worth £475 to give away as a competition prize.
Details of this fantastic prize and how you could win one of these totally unique coffee tables will be announced soon …