0418 design week pdx originals bj0uv1

If the Great Carpet Rush of ’14 proved anything, it’s that Portland International Airport’s cast-offs are a nostalgia gold mine. So when the Port of Portland auctioned off 372 of the airport’s 30-year-old steel-and-vinyl benches late last year—the same benches you and millions of others occupied while waiting for flights—three Portlanders jumped at the opportunity to place a bid.

Ryan Widell, Ben Vickers, and Steve Mika formed PDX Originals to bring these benches back to life as sofas, love seats, and waiting-room bum pleasers. Manufactured by a furniture company called Chromcraft at least 30 years ago (the Port of Portland isn’t sure exactly when), the benches’ simple, sturdy frames are entirely modular, allowing for various combinations of seating arrangements, armrests, and side tables. Using leather from Oregon Leather Co and wood from Creative Woodworking NW (for armrests and end tables) the trio began reupholstering and restoring the benches in a Southeast Portland warehouse, one by one. The result: beautiful, comfortable, midcentury-modernish pieces.

For Design Week, PDX Originals will show off at least 10 custom benches, produced in collaboration with local craft and furniture studios like Lagom, Fiction, and Felling. The company will auction the custom benches off at the end of May, with proceeds going to New Avenues for Youth.

PDX Originals Open Warehouse

1–9 p.m. Fri, April 20, 4409 SE 24th Ave, FREE

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