Oakland-based design-building studio Because We Can was hired by SunPower to create furniture for their new office in an old Ford manufacturing building in Richmond, CA. This enormous, potential-filled pile of lumber had been taken out of the building and slated to be dumped, but the studio stepped in, deciding the wood could be reclaimed to build something new.
After mulling it over, they "decided that benches were the most feasible idea to use the lumber and keep costs down." They created two designs, one simple with legs and a seat, and another that doubled as a bookcase, with a bottom shelf fit for storing books. They designed 20-foot-long benches to use the wood most efficiently, basically as it was in its found state — but prettier and less splintery. When the wood was milled down, they discovered "a beautiful Douglas Fir glue lam, not far beneath the weathered exterior." The benches are so large that they had to be fork-lifted through a small opening on the second floor of the building. Now installed in the new HQ, they look gorgeous and fit for the vast size of the old factory building. To see the splintery wood planks in their fabulous new form,