The Brief: Sustainable Furniture Solution for Met Office’s Expansion

In 2002, Rainbow won a tender to provide furniture for the Met Office’s new UK HQ in Exeter. The original installation was designed with sustainability in mind, using natural heating and cooling methods, rainwater usage, and promoting alternative transportation options for employees. The furniture supplied by Rainbow was built to last 20 years, aligning with the Met Office’s commitment to minimising environmental impact.

However, in 2006, the Met Office needed to accommodate nearly 40% more people, and the existing desks were too large for the expanded workforce. Rainbow’s first question was, “Why?” as they were committed to their clients’ best interests and wanted to ensure minimal impact on the environment while saving costs.

The Solution

Instead of suggesting an entirely new furniture installation, Rainbow proposed a solution that would repurpose and recycle the original furniture. They suggested cutting down and re-edging the existing tops and beams to make them smaller and compatible with the expanded workforce’s needs. The additional desks required at the smaller size would be purchased, and Rainbow would deliver them in phases, taking back the original tops and beams in the empty lorries for re-manufacturing at their factory, and then returning them to the Met Office.

It saved the Met Office a significant amount of money while ensuring that nothing was wasted. The wood that was cut off during the repurposing process was used to heat the factory, and the metal was recycled. The re-manufactured furniture was put back into use and is still in use today, aligning with the Met Office’s commitment to sustainability and minimizing environmental impact.


The solution was successful, and the re-manufactured furniture is still in use today, showcasing Rainbow’s commitment to sustainability and their clients’ best interests.