This Cebu-Based Brand Makes Furniture Entirely Out of Second-Life Materials
Looking at Cebu Homecraft’s eye-catching, impeccably crafted pieces, you’d never guess that they’re made out of driftwood and recycled denim. But owner and designer James Doran-Webb’s commitment to sustainability drives him to constantly innovate new ways of turning second-life materials into stylish pieces. Just check out this collection of chairs and tables made out of driftwood and recycled denim:
Blue Coral Tub Chair
Born in the UK, Doran-Webb moved to Cebu in the 1990s after falling in love with its beauty and the skill of its artisans. Re-using discarded material comes naturally to him, given that his parents were antique dealers. They often bought wobbly or damaged tables and chairs then repaired or renovated them in their workshops. This taught Doran-Webb to see the potential in waste.
While he did sell antiques in his teens, he eventually became more interested in making his own furniture. “Being a naturally creative person, I found a lot more satisfaction through setting off to build something new rather than repair another craftsman’s work, but still focusing on second life materials,” he says.
Slice Floor Lamp
Lava Candle Holder
When he isn’t collaborating with renowned designers like Gabby Lichauco, Rita Nazareno, and Tess Pasola, Doran-Webb conceptualizes all of Cebu Homecraft’s pieces himself. “I am very much a process-based designer—being turned on by the use of new materials or original methods of utilizing old materials, or mixing an unorthodox melange of materials within the same piece,” he explains. “I rely on classic designs to showcase these processes. The skill set of designers like Gaby and Rita, or my absolute idol, Tess Pasola, never ceases to amaze me as they seamlessly conceptualize new and exciting shapes and designs. This is beyond me!”
Each design is made in small batches, so it’s best to inquire about a product you’re interested in before it sells out. Doran-Webb usually won’t make more than 10 of his more expensive pieces. But as he develops new techniques to make what he calls his “glory pieces,” he usually uses them to create cheaper, more commercially friendly décor which his very loyal buyers will then purchase.
Ribbon Screen Made from Recovered Wood
“For example, something I made once, I called it a ribbon screen. It was a big screen weighing about 150 kilos. And we found solid wood in a kind of woven shape, and then we inserted it in and out of these metal spokes, and it was outrageously expensive,” Doran-Webb recalls. “But that whole technique then led on to a much cheaper family of vase holders and using the same technique of band-sawing long dead wood to specific shapes. I know I wouldn't have gotten to the more commercial variant had we not experimented with this ridiculously expensive product that I dreamt about one night. So for the R&D pieces, we only make one which is the initial point of inspiration.”
Vase Holders Made Through the Same Technique as the Ribbon Screen
With its range of unique pieces created using innovative processes, it’s no surprise that Cebu Homecraft regularly participates in exhibitions like Manila FAME. They currently have an online showroom on FAME+, Manila FAME’s digital trade community platform which was launched during the pandemic.
The company is also taking part in French trade fair Maison & Objet’s digital exhibition, Maison & Objet and More. In this way, Cebu Homecraft is championing Filipino craftsmanship both locally and internationally.
Big Bang Mirror and Gravity Console Table
Cebu Homecraft’s pieces demonstrate that with resourcefulness and ingenuity, one can transform discarded material into something that looks completely new. Brands like these make it possible to create a stylish home while minimizing your impact on the environment.