© Benoit Florencon - Design Isabelle Pujade

Extramuros is a pioneer in furniture up-cycling

Posted on 29 March 2018.

Supported by the Veolia Foundation, the Extramuros social enterprise recovers unwanted office furniture and designs sustainable furniture and accessories.

Reusing wood in high-value office furniture - a great example of up-cycling.

Pioneering up-cycling since 2007, the Extramuros social enterprise is a major player in recycling materials from furniture and in particular wooden furniture. With 10 years’ carpentry expertise, the company recovers office fittings and furnishings that are no longer used (old platforms, floors, etc.). It designs, creates and distributes high-end material made from wood waste.

That is the principle behind upcycling: upgrade waste and offer products from reuse and recycling that have high added value in terms of quality, process and design. A principle perfectly espoused by Extramuros, whose eco-designs have also been in the spotlight during the "New Lives" exhibition organized by the VIA, the furnishing center, in September 2017. Extramuros is supported by the Veolia Foundation, and its premises are even housed in Veolia’ssorting center in Gennevilliers -a logical location since most of the flow of recovery materials that supply the young company arrive on the site.

Extramuros’ other specialty is its ambitious integration program - it recruits and trains people struggling to find employment who are supervised by experts in solidarity workshops. To raise awareness about re-employment and creative transformation, Extramuros has also developed a whole range of activities in the form of workshops and educational projects.

Organizing the sector

Upcycling is central to the Extramuros project and close to the heart of its leader Julien Richardson. With its creative products, the company has already attracted large companies and institutions that are particularly concerned about responsible purchasing – for example La Poste, UNESCO, Orange, Vinci Construction, SNCF, ADP, L'Oreal, Kinnarps and Veolia.

With Kinnarps, Sweden's leading workspace design company in Europe and Valdelia, an eco-organization approved by the Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition, Extramuros actively participates in the "Chants Libres" program - a recovery and creation project which is currently in France but will soon go European.

Studies on supplies, publication of a benchmark catalog, prototyping, short series, exhibitions, events: the idea is to organize a pilot material recovery sector. Vital when you know that in France, only 15% of the 2 million pieces of furniture waste produced annually are recycled. The goal is now to open ten more structures, notably in Nantes, Montpellier and Brussels. And with them, 85 jobs could be created, including 64 on back to work schemes.


> Scaling up for Extramuros