Six years ago Robbie Neville began salvaging materials from buildings that had been demolished in his local neighbourhoods of Collingwood and Fitzroy.
‘I was becoming increasingly frustrated at how difficult it seemed to be to incorporate recycled materials as a fundamental element of new design and construction,’ he explains. Since then, he has made it his mission to establish a purpose-driven business that champions sustainable design and construction. This is Revival Projects.
From its founding in 2016, the business has salvaged hundreds of tonnes in construction and demolition waste across Melbourne, transforming it into furniture, interior and architectural projects.
It’s this work that contributed to Revival Projects achieving B-Corp certification, globally recognising them as a business who can prove they prioritise people and the planet over profit.
‘It’s almost unheard of for a construction company,’ explains Robbie. ‘That’s not an easy title to hold in our industry.’
Of course, everything they do uses reclaimed or recycled materials – ‘No new or toxic materials are allowed through the door’, he says.
‘We sell pieces and take on furniture commissions. But we make the biggest impact when we are engaged as a multidisciplinary partner; structural engineer, builder, furniture maker and materiality advisor across the entire project.’
Revival Projects’ most recent project was the Industry Beans flagship in Fitzroy. As the principal contractor, structural engineer and furniture maker for the job, Robbie and his team were able to execute a sustainably-focussed build. This included recycling every demolished brick back into the design, building the entire project using solar energy, leasing a fleet of e-bikes for site labourers to use, and instigating their work experience program to provide exposure for women emerging in the industry. AMAZING!
After working so hard for the past six years to build their new business model from the ground up, Revival Projects are finally starting to receive the accolades they deserve! Just last week, they took out the 2022 Melbourne Design Week award with their exhibition; Zero Footprint Repurposing.
‘Our city is full of the most amazing materials, but unfortunately it has become industry-standard to let them go to landfill, or let them be destroyed throughout demolition,’ explains Robbie.
Their exhibition aims to bring about change by inspiring and enabling designers to adopt simple re-use and recycle policies. Robbie is also hoping to influence legislative change to introduce a legal framework that obliges developers and designers to handle existing materials responsibly.
You can visit the Revival Projects hub in Collingwood during Melbourne Design Week, for a free tour between 1pm and 5pm this Friday 25th March. True to their cause, this hub – a 100 year-old, 1500sqm warehouse – is a temporary workshop for the team. It will be demolished in 2024 to make way for a future development, and Revival Projects are repurposing the existing materials to be used in the new build.
111 Islington St