One Workplace and Uhuru Transform Commercial Interiors Industry With Heirloom Design

Joint venture produces timeless furnishings that tell a story and will never see a landfill

April 22, 2021
— Santa Clara, CA and Brooklyn, NY — It’s common knowledge that buildings — and their contents — make up as much as 40% of our collective carbon footprint. The commercial interiors industry offers programs to refurbish, rehome, redesign and recycle some products but the need is much more urgent today — to develop a true circular economy that eliminates the concept of waste altogether.

That’s the idea behind Heirloom Design, a company created by One Workplace and Uhuru Design. Heirloom seeks to transform the current industry model by partnering with makers and manufacturers to offer high quality, handcrafted furniture designed to last a lifetime. Through the Heirloom platform, a piece can be easily “handed down” (ie, refinished and re-sold) within or across companies and industries, carrying its unique story along with it.

Launching on Earth Day 2021, Heirloom Design will bring together makers, manufacturers, and workplace creators on a platform that showcases new furniture offerings and — once available — pieces that are available for reuse and resale, slowing the carbon intensive cycle of furniture refresh.

“As workplace creators, we appreciate everything it takes to get a piece of furniture from design to installation, and we are intentionally working to improve our carbon footprint,” said Dave Bryant, a founding partner of Heirloom Design and vice president at One Workplace. “We understand that the most sustainable materials of all are those that have the longest useful life — telling meaningful stories of its journey, much like a family keepsake. That’s both the intention and the appeal of Heirloom.”

Each product on the Heirloom platform comes with a unique QR code to tell its story. From the design studio such as a table created by Uhuru in Brooklyn, to the careful craftsmanship by a second generation woodworker in Lancaster, PA curated to sit in the office of a West Coasttechnology company in a sale facilitated by One Workplace, the chain of custody is documented. Imagine that years later, that same QR code tells how the refinished desk makes its way across the country to a startup life science company when a specifier in the network becomes aware of the table and its story.

One Workplace and Uhuru Design are joint venture partners who created the platform, and designed the chain of custody technology. Together, they are recruiting end users, makers, manufacturers, and workplace creators to become partners in transforming how we think about furniture and its impact in the built environment.

“At Uhuru, we’ve made our mark in New American furniture design working with found, salvaged and reclaimed items, determined to give them new and useful life,” said Uhuru Founder Jason Horvath. “Heirloom is the most Uhuru thing we could imagine — starting with a beautiful design that only becomes more special as you understand the story of where it’s been. It is antithetical to what the contract industry does today – designing it to go away. To us, it’s a belief system that has the power to shape and change the world.”

About One Workplace

One Workplace creates new ways of working by helping companies bring their brands and cultures to life. As the West Coast’s leading interior solutions provider, One Workplace brings construction, technology, furniture and services under one roof to create better spaces, build powerful brands, and empower stronger cultures from the inside out.

About Uhuru Design

Uhuru Design is the Brooklyn-based New American furniture design firm specializing in bespoke residential and high-end commercial furniture. Founded in 2004 by Rhode Island School of Design graduates Jason Horvath and Bill Hilgendorf, Uhuru gained attention for its sustainable approach, utilizing reclaimed and found materials through a narrative design process. This design approach generated collections currently in the Smithsonian and Brooklyn Museums, positioning Uhuru at the forefront of New American Design and contributing to popularizing the “Brooklyn” aesthetic.

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