Creating new fit-outs from unwanted wood

Creating new fit-outs from unwanted wood
Starting with unwanted pallets from his father’s farm and using his grandfather’s old Dutch woodworking tools, Paul Roest has created a fit-out business from upcycled materials.

The adage ‘good things take time’ is definitely applicable to Paul Roest’s creations at Industrial Design NZ.

It takes six months to dry out and prepare the forgotten timber Roest uses, before it is crafted into furniture, shelving, or an entire commercial character fit-out.

But the effort is worth it, he says, because there is nothing Roest loves better than to repurpose neglected materials into something beautiful.

“I have a passion for transforming wood and the end result,” he says.

Inspired by cafes in Holland that featured scaffolding timber, Roest began to build coffee tables for sale on Trade Me four years ago. He originally used pallets from his father’s farm, and his grandfather’s tools, which his dad had brought with him when he emigrated from Holland.

He was then contacted by homeware company Nest about a shop fit-out, and the business grew from there into office, retail and commercial space fit-outs.  Currently 70% of his business is commercial fit-outs, and Industrial Design NZ has two full-time and four part-time employees.

“I get a call every second or third day, so it’s a matter of keeping up with it.”

Reducing environmental impact is the backbone of Industrial Design NZ’s ethos. Roest has a Masters in environmental science, and is committed to keeping in line with Auckland Council’s  Zero Waste policy. He uses very few new materials, instead sourcing raw materials from landfill, demolished buildings and businesses.

Initially, he often worked a lot with unwanted pallets but says lots of other companies have jumped on that bandwagon, and now he uses more reclaimed woods such as oregon and rimu. 

He says design-wise he is using more chunky timber, and including raw industrial metal.

Roest says he is working with several boutique businesses, including Snowberry, Nest, Indochine and Habitual Fix. Rather than using a design company, the fit-outs are managed directly with clients.

Apart from Trade Me, Roest has spent virtually nothing on advertising – it’s all through word of mouth, he says.  

To cope with demand, Industrial Design is building a larger workshop on a recently-purchased block of land. Roest is also planning to open a pop-up shop is in the Auckland CBD during the busy Christmas season.

As if that wasn’t enough, Paul is also “juggling a four-month-old daughter.”