Imperial College London

Lab to lounge update: former student wins a piece of EEE history


Belen with her side-table

Belen with her first-edition Goldfinger Ayrton side-table, named after early electrical engineer Hertha Ayrton

Goldfinger's new furniture collection — made from original lab benches donated by the department — has launched with a fundraising auction.

"We can’t think of a more fitting end to the story of this material" Goldfinger

Designed and handcrafted by Daniele Barco, Goldfinger's Ayrton Collection has given new life to EEE's teak lab benches after last year's refurbishment of our Level 5 teaching space.

The rare teak is combined with Douglas Fir, a strong softwood with a contrasting light colour, sourced from locally-grown trees that have been felled to make way for urban development.Designer and maker Daniele Barco at the workshopThe curves of the Ayrton Bench were created using an old compass tool (pictured here), believed to be around 100 years old.

An evening of celebration

The launch event on 6th October was a chance for potential bidders to get up close to the first edition pieces and hear more about their journey from lab to lounge. EEE's Buildings and Facilities Manager Zia Rahman was at the launch:

"Increasing our sustainability agenda is one of my aims for the department. During the lab refurbishment in the summer of 2020, I knew repurposing the existing teak benches meant a huge reduction in our furniture waste footprint — but more importantly, we’d bring a new lease of life to these revered worktops that have called Imperial College their home for almost 60 years.”

Special guest Katie Treggiden gave an interview with Goldfinger CEO and co-founder Marie Carlisle on circular design and the power of craft. A signed and dedicated copy of Katie's book WASTED: When Trash Becomes Treasure will be available in the Faraday Cage on Level 6 of EEE.

One of the lucky auction winners was Belen Barbed, a graduate of our Electronic and Information Engineering MEng course, who worked at these benches when she was studying here. Goldfinger said: "We can’t think of a more fitting end to the story of this material, and we hope Belen enjoys her new piece."

Belen in the lab and the table in its new homeAuction winner Belen Barbed with one of the original benches, and her Ayrton Side Table in its new home.

Supporting the Goldfinger Academy

The online auction and the launch event raised a total of £15,620 for the Goldfinger Academy. This money will go towards creating more spaces in their craft workshops for local residents on low income, and to support their apprenticeship scheme for local young people not in education, employment or training

"We would like to say a huge thank you to all who attended the event, bid in the auction and have already donated. The funding will enable us to continue to share our skills in sustainable design and craftsmanship with our local community, educating the next generation and promoting wellbeing."





Jane Horrell

Jane Horrell
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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