Birmingham student bringing old office chairs back to life as backpacks


A Birmingham student is breathing new life into old office chairs as part of a new project.

Thomas Howell-Jones, who studies product design at Birmingham City University, is converting the unwanted furniture into hard-shell backpacks and panniers.

The Rest backpack created by Thomas Howell-Jones

The Rest backpack created by Thomas Howell-Jones

He has created the Rest brand after discovering that around 810,000 office chairs are thrown out each year across the UK.

Thomas dismantled a number of chairs to see what could be done with the parts before deciding on a new use for them.

“Realising that a backpack was possible from office chair waste was the turning point for the project,” he said. “This allowed me to continue detailed investigation and development.

“Materialising the office chair backrest shell allowed Rest to be as functional as possible while also supplying an impact resistance and waterproof bag.”

Rest has already won the Stepping Stone award at the RSA Student Designs Award after a panel of judges commended the creation’s innovation and range of uses.

Thomas says he now intends to look at other items that could be repurposed into other products.

“The process from realisation to outcome was very enjoyable and I now look forward to developing the range,” he said.


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