No holds barred on reclamation

Apr 24, 2020

Nicole Bittar



Simplicity provides an overwhelming design impact at Hold Fast Designs.

Holding firm to the belief of rescuing and re-imagining invaluable raw materials into statement handcrafted furniture proved the catalyst in the foundation of this Queensland furniture-making enterprise. 

Based on salvaging and transforming discarded hardwood timber as an experienced commercial builder and carpenter, Drew and business co-founder Tanya Hui Tong established the Noosa hinterland furniture design studio in a former mango farmhouse in 2017 — and their proudly eco-conscious efforts are bearing fruit.

“We choose to exclusively use reclaimed and recycled timber, which we buy from builders and from reclaimed timber sellers who source the timber from commercial demolition companies,” Tanya says.

“This means that the previously logged timbers that have been used in the construction of homes, factories and wharves and other building types are not wasted and end up in landfill, but are re-dressed and repurposed into beautiful, sustainable furniture.”

The give-and-take message of using reclaimed timber is alive and well at Hold Fast Designs, says Tanya.

“We can create a balance by only taking what we need and leaving the rest for nature,” she says.

This is achieved via respect and appreciation for the sustainable source; the concept of ultimate renewability is realised at Hold Fast Designs by using only reclaimed timber.

The scar tissue of repurposing reclaimed timber into reinvigorated and striking designs also offers a tell-tale history that is handled with the utmost care.

Extending the lifespan of the sustainable source, such as “the markings of gang nails, bolt holes, the building it came from – these all tell the story of the former life”, is embellished in Drew’s dedicated craftsmanship.

From a design perspective, the mutual benefits of beautifully created, sustainable timber furniture are undeniable, for craftsman and clientele alike.

“For me, as a maker, I love seeing the timber transformed from single planks of timber into whatever I’m crafting,” he says. “I love the look and feel of timber — it is timeless and will never go out of style.”

Drew derives inspiration from nature-based, manmade environs, akin to recreating the atmospheric warmth and comfort immersion of, for example, a log cabin interior.

The unique qualities and original features of the raw material are reflected in the ideation and realisation of Drew’s individually crafted furniture creations.

“With timber, no two pieces are ever the same,” he says.

“it’s just like a fingerprint. You can have five sticks of the same variety of timber, but the colour tone, grain orientation and gum veins will vary so much in each piece.”

Durability, flexibility and adaptability also play key roles in the transformation of the raw material — from sustainable source to furniture creations that make a statement, yet also suit every style.

“Timber is very versatile and will blend with any interior style – from modern, to coastal, to country,” Drew says.  “I love the character and warmth that timber adds.”

Photos: Aimee Dodge Photography