GROWING up in Colombia, Jorge Luna spent hours watching his grandfather build anything with his bare hands – whether it was a chicken coop for the garden or a table for the kitchen.
Inspired, Jorge went on to travel Europe, collecting unused materials and building his own pieces.
Four years ago, the 32-year-old found himself in Southsea. Not knowing any English, he took odd jobs and picked up English through speaking with customers.
In April, he opened Southsea Pallet Project on Albert Road. Having studied architecture, Jorge has always been passionate about constructing bespoke pieces.
He said: ‘I love to design and create things, especially out of recycled or unused materials.
‘I began by building furniture for my house out of wooden pallets. My favourite piece is a headboard I made out of a huge, heavy window I found on the street. I removed all of the glass. It’s unique.’
Enamoured by Jorge’s uniquely decorated home, friends asked if they could buy his work. This left him to turn his passion into a business.
Now, Jorge can be seen on his bike, cycling around Southsea carrying heavy pallets.
‘People think I’m a crazy Colombian. It’s funny,’ he said.
‘But if people donate materials or if I see anything left on the side of the road to be thrown away, like pallets, I’ll take it and use it for decorations, furniture, wine racks, whatever I can.
‘Most people would throw old materials away. I see it as an exciting opportunity to create something beautiful and reuse what the earth gives us whether it’s metal, glass or wood.
Jorge founded the company but his girlfriend, Mariangela, helps him run the shop.
He added: ‘In the future we hope to run environmental workshops. We’ll invite school children in to build things and learn the importance of recycling. We should all help in any way we can.’