Industrial Design Students Convert Wire Spools for Outdoor Entertaining
Old Majestic Brewing Company is a craft brewery and tasting room in Mobile, Alabama, partly owned by Auburn alum Chad Marchand. Each week, two master brewers create new beverages, and the brewery has a great outdoor space for tasting. When Marchand wanted to expand outdoor seating, he turned to Professor Randy Bartlett of Auburn’s School of Industrial and Graphic Design (SIGD) to come up with solutions for the space. Bartlett’s students at futures studio, an off-campus instructional site in Mobile where students can complete a semester of undergraduate or graduate studies, crafted a fire pit and converted reclaimed cable spools into standing and seating areas for Old Majestic.
Initially, the main focus of the project was on fabricating the six foot square fire pit from steel tubing and mahogany boards. The burner insert was a prefabricated component due to safety concerns, but the students did the rest of the work by hand. The fire pit, which includes an eight foot bench, is the communal centerpiece of the outdoor space, and its visibility from the street serves as an invitation to come sit around the fire.
For the seating and standing areas, the students proposed repurposing cable spools from the telecommunications industry. They found a local company in Mobile to donate four spools, which they sanded down and varnished. They used the holes in the middle for lazy susans or sun umbrellas and added metal legs to bring the spools to the proper height for standing or sitting. Some of the spools were modified to include a footrest at the bottom while others have hooks to hold coats and purses.
The project was so successful that Marchand has asked futures studio to create more seating for Old Majestic. Bartlett says that while the idea is not new, his students’ cable spool bistro tables are something special. “This has been done before, but with the modifications our students made, they took it to a new level,” Bartlett explained. Third year student Henry Meehan gave credit to Bartlett for trusting the students’ instincts. “This wasn’t initially on the list of requested products so I was very happy that Randy let us run with this idea,” he said. “Being able to reclaim a waste product from a local company and upcycle it into a beautiful, functional piece of patio furniture was really cool, and doing it four times with four tables was even cooler.”