21st Century Totter Paul Firbank fuses British heritage and contemporary craftsmanship, transforming vintage machinery, iconic engine parts and modern scrap into a bespoke lighting, furniture and accessories

Paul’s unique contemporary style of craftsmanship combines the past with the present. Aged machinery, vehicle parts and modern scrap otherwise destined for the melting pot are collected from London’s scrap yards and grease shops, reworked, restored and re-energised into a wealth of bespoke objects.

Using traditional metalwork techniques and his time-honoured machinery Paul interweaves the histories and identities of the parts he finds into new forms and functions. It’s his talent for channeling the character and quirks of every component, reinventing each element into the contemporary lighting, furniture and accessories, for which The Rag and Bone Man brand has become renowned

The Rag and Bone Man

The Rag and Bone Man reworks British traditions for a new generation of customers who are passionate about heritage, provenance and sustainability. Lizzie Gossling is the other half of the dynamic duo behind the company and takes care of the business. This young couple are a true creative force, celebrating the traditions of the ‘Totter’ as an example of resourcefulness and sustainable living for the 21st Century. Don’t be fooled by the name, they are not your run-of-the-mill rag and bone men, so I’m afraid there’s no point in calling them up about that mouldy old sofa in your garage; they won’t be coming round.

In purchasing a bespoke piece from The Rag and Bone Man, customers are investing in beautiful and future heirlooms that will stand the test of time. Each product is meticulously archived, which adds to the sense of ownership with each item baring its own individual tag including a unique hand stamped serial number with completion date.

The Rag and Bone Man launched at Tent London 2011 as part of London Design Festival. Paul and Lizzie work with individuals, collectors, interior designers, restaurants and hotels, architects and set designers. Their work has also been featured in The Times, The Telegraph, Living Etc, Elle Decoration, on Channel 4′s Man Made Home and Kevin’s Supersized Salvage.


Words by Jody Daunton // Another Escape.