Turning a scrap heap into a treasure trove
If what they say about one man’s trash being another man’s treasure is true, then the showroom of Northern Beaches furniture company Le Bench, is Pete Gardiner’s veritable treasure chest. In the company’s headquarters, located in Brookvale, there’s not a square inch of space that isn’t being occupied by a piece of their unique furniture, each one handcrafted by Gardiner himself from discarded pieces of timber that were often headed straight for the scrap heap.
If you haven’t guessed already, Le Bench is known for its benches – its outdoor table settings made from recycled timber and marine-grade steel, but they also make coffee tables, bookshelves and other indoor pieces, as well as their premium range of outdoor pieces. The idea came to Gardiner during his day job, as a builder renovating homes around the Northern Beaches. He kept seeing beautiful old pieces of timber that had once been staircase stringers in majestic federation-period homes or the decking joists of Californian bungalows, but were now lying in skip bins ready for the tip.
Not content to let the timber go to waste, he gathered it up and took it home with him, turning his find into a desk for his wife to use for work. But each new day on a different building site brought with it armfuls more of timber, and Gardiner decided to make what would become the company’s signature tables and benches. “That’s when I discovered there was a gap in the market for long-lasting outdoor furniture that also reflects the Northern Beaches lifestyle,” Gardiner says, so he took on the space at Brookvale.
Nicola says that what appeals about Gardiner’s creations is the way they espouse the Northern Beaches lifestyle. Le Bench’s signature outdoor table, the Palmy – named after its namesake in Palm Beach – is the only table on the Northern Beaches that’s made with marine-grade steel, so it lasts a lifetime and can stand up to the Northern Beaches weather – the sun, the surf and, though we’re loath to admit it, the rain. There’s also a design that features a built-in ice bucket, because it wouldn’t be a Northern Beaches barbie without a few cold ones chilling within arms reach.
As a local Northern Beaches business, Le Bench is as passionate about creating furniture that’s as hardy as it is beautiful, as they are about supporting other local businesses. They stock Manly-based homewares company, Escape to Paradise, which supplies Le Bench with the cushions, table settings and other accoutrements that help bring Gardiner’s pieces to life.
This September, on Saturday the 26th, Northern Beaches residents – and Sydneysiders alike – can see Gardiner’s creations for themselves, when Le Bench opens its doors for the company’s inaugural Spring Sale Event. From 10am to 4pm, customers will be treated to a 10% discount off all tables and bench seats, as well as 20% off all homewares. And for those curious about the provenance of their pieces: “Pete will be there to explain the origins of each table, bench, and bookshelf,” Nicola promises.
Le Bench’s Spring Sale Event:
Saturday, September 26, 2015
2/20 William Street, Brookvale, NSW
For more information visit www.lebench.com.au or phone 0456 094 311.