SAN FRANCISCO; California – A San Francisco furniture company is all about second chances.
Formr transforms rubble into stylish geometric furniture by empowering and employing people who were previously imprisoned.
“Formr connects to the word and material used previously,” said Sasha Plotitsa, CEO and founder of Formr. “We take this material and use it for furniture.”
Since Formr opened in March 2020, Plotitsa has diverted approximately 10,000 pounds of construction waste from the landfill.
“When I started Formr, I thought about who I could offer a chance to an underserved population that needed more opportunity,” said Plotitsa. “I thought, why not give people out of jail a chance. They have a hard time getting employment and giving them a job, a sense of pride, building things and achieving things. “
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Plotitsa studied industrial design in college and pursued several career paths. In 2005, he was working in construction with his father and was shocked by the amount of construction and demolition waste that was being thrown to the landfill.
In 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that the U.S. generated 600 million tons of construction rubble.
“When I talked to my father about rubble, he said you will always have clipped material,” said Plotitsa. “It bothered me that so much waste was created during construction.”
The images of rubble stuck to Plotitsa for over a decade. Now he’s built relationships with local contractors, collecting huge piles of rubble, and using the wood to make unique and functional pieces of furniture.
During the COVID-19 shutdown, Plotitsa had to close its doors and take its employees on leave. Shortly after he was able to open and design the overLAP again, an alternative desk that could be used comfortably from your sofa and / or bed. The Overlap Switch quickly became Formr’s number one best seller as many Americans worked from home amid the ongoing pandemic.
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“I always felt that there was a way to incarnate the material into something else,” said Plotitsa. “It is rewarding to believe that some of this material has been rescued from the landfill.”
Cris Wolf, a dedicated woodworker at Formr, was imprisoned for nineteen years. He remembers re-entering society as a “terrible” experience and the feeling of being catapulted into the future.
“It’s the first job that is important to me,” said Cris Wolf, woodworker at Formr. “My boss is great and he has a really big heart. I just appreciate his patience and willingness to take on people like me.”
Wolf likes to work with his hands and for a company that believes in helping the environment.
“Here it is important that I take care of the planet. Every time we can reuse existing products, there is an advantage,” said Wolf. “It was a great pleasure to be here. It is very important to me to create something new. I try very hard every day to be here and do everything I can.”
“It was definitely a good experience giving them an opportunity,” said Plotitsa. “And give people a sense of hope in their new life.”
Visit the Formr website for more information.