Recycling old furniture. Sustainable actions for responsible travel
In the summer of 2019, while we were designing one of our most special experiences (Follow the Rhythm. A route to discover Flamenco in Granada), we came up with the need for some seats. We wanted our travellers to rest while listening to Antonio, the guitarist.
The cheapest were the typical camping stools that are sold in the big department stores, but we had to be consistent with our way of thinking. So we started looking for wooden stools, preferably made in Andalusia. However, on one of our visits to the village we remembered the old bulrush chairs from our grandmother’s house. This was the key, our search changed, we started to look for second hand wooden stools, old and forgotten in the houses of the villages. In the old days, furniture was made with higher quality and more resistant wood, as programmed obsolescence has never been applied to handmade products.
We found the stools
After a lot of searching we found some stools in Andújar. We contacted the owner and made an appointment. We found 20 of the same stools, made of anea, quite dirty and some of them in bad condition. However, they looked sturdy and with a lot of tradition.
The owner told us that they belonged to an old bar that opened in Andújar around 1950. This is when we decided to keep them. On the way back we gave them a good going over with water, sandpaper and nails. Now the anea has come back to life. We decided not to paint them and to keep their original appearance which, as Antonio told us, was more aesthetic with the essence of the old Sacromonte caves. He told us that painting the chairs white is “modern stuff”, so we listened to the voice of experience.
And so it was that stools that had been forgotten for 40 years became the resting place of travellers in love with Andalusia and the art of flamenco.
The bulrush is a plant that grows in marshes and wetlands. It is found almost everywhere in the world, forming truly impenetrable areas. It is a hardy plant that withstands low temperatures. Its uses are very varied, traditionally it has been used for the manufacture of various basketry objects. In other countries, such as Bolivia, it is used for the construction of boat hulls. The rhizome is also edible due to its high starch content. Since at least the 18th century, bulrush leaves have been used for chair seats. During the 20th century its use became popular and practically everyone has sat on a bulrush chair at some time in their lives.
The importance of the conservation of this plant in wetlands is of vital importance for the sustainability of these habitats. It provides shelter and food for many species. Like humans, birds use it for nest construction. But perhaps the most important value of this plant is its ability to absorb heavy metals and its water purification qualities.