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CIRCULÉIRE Members Farrell Furniture and ReFunk Upcycling are competing in the 2023 Irish Business Design Challenge

CIRCULÉIRE Members Farrell Furniture and ReFunk Upcycling are competing in the 2023 Irish Business Design Challenge

Design & Crafts Council Ireland, also a CIRCULÉIRE Member, is running the 3rd edition of the challenge – open for public vote now! 

CIRCULÉIRE Members Farrell Furniture and ReFunk Upcycling have proceeded to the public vote in the Irish Business Design Challenge (IBDC), a competition run by Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI), also a CIRCULÉIRE Member. The challenge involves micro, small and medium enterprises in Ireland that have designed sustainable products, services, or strategies that have benefitted their customers, communities and the environment at large. 

This is the third year of the Irish Business Design Challenge. It has always highlighted the resilience, ingenuity, and creativity of Ireland’s MSMEs and it is a privilege to shine a light on these businesses. This year’s entries clearly show how a greener outlook and design thinking can come together to ensure a more sustainable outcome for businesses and their customers.

Farrell Furniture and ‘Do More With Less’ project 

In 2022, Farrel Furniture was granted the CIRCULÉIRE’s Innovation Fund to run the pilot project ‘Do More With Less’, a collaborative furniture take-back and remanufacturing scheme that moves Government from green procurement to circular procurement.  

Farrell realised certain furniture was reaching end of life prematurely due to office trends. They brought the idea of remanufacturing furniture forward to their staff, a research institution – GMIT Letterfrack (now ATU – Atlantic Technological University) and their client – The Office of the Public Works (OPW) to jointly form a project to extend the life-cycle and honour examples of Irish furniture design.  

“Our aim was to set an example that circular procurement is not just achievable but it is a viable business model. And so our ‘Do More With Less’ project was born”, stated the company. 

Learn more about Do More With Less here and read Farrell Furniture’s submission to Irish Business Design Challenge here

ReFunk Upcycling 

ReFunk joined CIRCULÉIRE in 2022’s cohort for the Circular Venture Innovation and Mentoring Programme. They are a one-stop eCommerce platform that facilitates the buying, selling and commissioning of pre-loved and upcycled furniture through their marketplace. 

Their entry to the Irish Business Design Challenge states that 7 out of 8 furniture upcyclers want to scale up their business but find it difficult as there is no one platform for upcycling to enable them to do so with ease. The ReFunk platform purpose is to solve the furniture upcyclers’ problem of scaling their creative passion into a business and empowers consumers to extend the lifetime of their furniture without compromising on design, all while addressing the shocking statistic that 10 million tonnes of furniture is discarded annually in the EU. 

“At ReFunk, we believe the return to local craft and the prioritisation of refurbishment of existing materials is a necessary element in the journey to decelerate climate change. Our mission is to empower consumers and craftspeople, by connecting them and facilitating the accessibility of artisan trade, for the Earth.”, stated the company.

Read ReFunk Upcycling’s submission to Irish Business Design Challenge here. 

DCCI’s Irish Business Design Challenge 

Design & Crafts Council Ireland’s Irish Business Design Challenge will grant a prize fund of €15,000 each plus free publicity and promotion (winner); €2,000 each plus free publicity and promotion (runner up); and Business Mentoring plus free publicity and promotion (highly commended). 

CIRCULÉIRE wishes the best of luck for all competitors in this challenge. Learn more information about the challenge here


CIRCULÉIRE is a public-private partnership co-created by Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) and three strategic partners: the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and EIT Climate-KIC. Together with industry partners, CIRCULÉIRE aims to assist manufacturers and their supply chains to switch from linear to circular business models.

Read more about CIRCULÉIRE here.

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