Reclaimed Material as Design Inspiration
In fine home building, material is often seen as a means to an end. Sometimes, however, we encounter extraordinary reclaimed materials that inspire the design itself (as seen in our douglas fir conference table). Oxgut Hose Co. is a local startup founded on that very principle of material-inspired design: and in this case the material is salvaged fire hose.
Why Retired Fire Hose?
Re-purposed fire hose was an accidental discovery on the part of Oxgut founder LauraLe Wunsch. She was designing tech accessories from reclaimed wood when a friend and volunteer firefighter suggested salvaged fire hose for the textile component. The Mill Valley fire station agreed to save some material for her to try out – and when LauraLe showed up there were 2,000 feet of fire hose rolls waiting for her. As she recalls: “The firefighters told me that whatever I couldn’t take would end up in the dumpster. I only had space to take a small swatch at that time, and it broke all our hearts to see the rest go to waste.”
A Business Model Preserves Our History and Environment
Two years later, LauraLe has the studio, the drive and the team to do something about all that precious material going to landfill. She works with local designers to develop products that showcase the unique character of each hose including the original identifying factors such as color, size, stitching and stenciling. (Wouldn’t the original occupants of our historic firehouse preservation be proud!)
“The most arresting characteristic of fire hose is its history,” LauraLe told us. “The bottom line is this stuff is really well made. It’s strong and rugged and also has a feminine, beautiful side to it.”
High Design with a Nationwide Vision
Oxgut aims to maximize the usage of retired fire hose in a new and innovative way, all the while supporting local designers and craftspeople. Fire stations from all over the country have started calling about donation opportunities, and Oxgut hopes to create local processing hubs in major cities all over the country. LauraLe is eager to continue experimenting with new products and applications. If you have any ideas, drop us a line to share with us!
As LauraLe sums it up: “Everything is inspired by what we receive from the fire department: different colors, sizes and textures. Each design is inspired by the material itself.”
Get to Know Our Friends at Oxgut Hose Co.
To support a local company with a conscious mission, head over to Oxgut.com. You’re sure to find the perfect holiday gift for anyone that loves high design with a practical application and historic twist.