While not exactly the most ubiquitous upcycled material out there, retired fire hoses have been making the (repurposed) rounds in the personal accessories department for some time now — online retailers Etsy and UncommonGoods peddle a slew of old hose items. And then there’s Elvis & Kresse, a U.K. design house that along with standards such as belts and billfolds, offers gorgeous totes, messenger bags, purses, dopp kits, and iPhone and iPad covers all crafted from genuine decommissioned hoses collected from fire brigades across Britain.
What’s long been missing from this accessories-heavy salvaged fire hose party, however, are home accessories and furnishings.
This is where Oakland, Calif.-based Oxgut Hose Co. comes to the rescue.
Specializing in “Exclusive Designs with a Heroic Past,” founder LauraLe Wunsch and the rest of the good folks at Oxgut (a nod to the materials that fires hoses were manufactured from once upon a time) have moved beyond fire hose-based personal accessories (although they do offer them … fire hose wine caddy, log carrier, or sunglasses case, anyone?) with a range of durable and one-of-a-kind locally handcrafted home goods for both indoors and out including loungers, dining chairs, hammocks, and the newly formed company’s signature item: super-stylish and vestatile woven mats.
These lovely, vividly colored mats are currently what Oxgut is offering through a Kickstarter campaign that will enable the fledgling company to expand its operations and invest in new equipment and tools (because every proper recycled fire hose design firm needs electric cutters, fork lifts, hose winders, drying racks, and used hose washers).
Once we were introduced to this rugged, resilient material, its many forms and its wildly unique aura ... we couldn't put it down. We now know more about fire hose than we ever imagined. We're hooked!
The thing is – tons of fire hose winds up as land fill across the U.S. each month. Until now, most fire departments simply didn't have an alternative. Hose fails at some point and becomes unsafe. And, what can't be donated gets thrown out. (Which can also mean a hefty expense in disposal fees.)
So, we decided to try to do something about that. At Oxgut, we get decommissioned fire hose into the hands of great designers and artisans, where the hose is given new life. Our mats are a perfect example. They're a wonderful way to display the fire hose and appreciate its history, in a utilitarian way.
More info over at the Oxgut Fire Hose Co. Kickstarter campaign page. And be sure to keep an eye out for the company’s soon-to-be-launched e-commerce site
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