When we decided to open a training space in central London there were three things we knew we wanted...
1. It would be built, not bought. By us.
2. We'd build it using second hand, reclaimed materials.
3. It would be awesome.
So, after months of hard work. Here's the story of how we built our workspace from materials gone to waste.
We spent months (okay, years) looking for the perfect location to turn our sustainable vision into a reality.
And then, we found it. A collection of 50 sustainable businesses working in a shared space just two minutes from the buzz and excitement of Borough Market.
The space is in Sustainable Bankside, Europe's largest community of sustainable startups.
We arrived as the Sustainable Bankside was still being built. It was an empty shell but ticked so many boxes. We'd be part of a like-minded sustainable community, with space to work but also to train and to host dynamic events like cupping.
We had the room to source reclaimed materials and upcycle them into something which was custom designed and built by us.
It took a huge amount of effort. Long days (and long nights) with Co-founders Dave & Lee sanding, sawing and building each part. Our London team, Ben, Harrison, Nathan, Chris and Oliver all roped in to help. Not to mention the engineering work and machine installations required by our technical mastermind, Kit. But slowly it started to take shape.
First, we built the front and back bars using an old pub floor from what was once Joe's Bar in Covent Garden. You can see we've put good use to their bar rail too.
The concrete tops of our front and back benches were salvaged from the bathroom fittings of a housing project in Victoria, London. Our sink was discovered in a pile of scrap and we've found various uses for old pallets, cabinets scrap metal and wood.
The cupping table was built by us too. Everything is on casters so we can move and reformat the space according to what we're doing.
The waste from the hospitality sector is shocking. We all have a responsibility to look at how we can reduce waste and innovate ways to reuse and recycle items which have come to the end of their original purpose.
One of the values we live by at Extract is to do what's right, and not what's easy. Another is Built not Bought. Extract London is proof of what can be achieved when you start looking for new ways to use otherwise waste materials from within the hospitality sector.
The result? A beautiful, sustainably-built, premium training facility for baristas from across London and the South East.
From our new location, we'll be hosting coffee cuppings and tastings, sustainability events and discussions. We'll provide barista training and accredited SCA courses to baristas within our network.
A London 'base' means we can grow the voluntary work we do with homeless adults through The Passage charity. Not to mention keeping our fellow Bankside residents; Winnow, Plumen and Toast Ales to name a few, fully caffeinated.
Huge shout out to Dave our co-founder and restoration visionary for many weeks spent building and working at Bankside to pull everything together.
Also to our awesome London team; Lee, Harrison, Nathan, Chris and Oliver who have been sawing, scrubbing, screwing and sanding with the best of them.
Special mentions also go to the Landsec site team here at Sustainable Bankside, our friends at La Marzocco, BWT, Marco and DR Wakefield for your support throughout the project.
Creative thanks go to our friends at Superfantastic who helped us mock up designs and bring ideas in their earliest stages into life, and finally to Alan Thornton who has photographed the space beautifully.
What we have created together, is awesome.
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