Relic Design and Craft Co

Relics Reimagined

Louise Liddiard-Smith 01 June 2020

Breathing new life into aviation history

When Zachary Briggs – ex-avionics technician in the Royal Australian Airforce – was stationed at Amberley, he would drive past an aviation museum each day on his way to work. The sight of the historic planes rusting away in the grass intrigued him and when one day the planes disappeared, he knew he needed to find out what had happened to them. 

Relic Design and Craft Co

After visiting the museum, he discovered that the planes were being discarded.  “The idea that these planes were being sold for scrap was so sad to me,” says Zachary. “They were pieces of history that needed to be preserved.” 

THE PRESERVATION PROJECT

Zachary was studying industrial design at the time and he saw an opportunity to combine this with his aviation experience and an interest in sustainability.  “I went back to the museum with a presentation on how I could repurpose components of the aircrafts into products that would celebrate their unique history,” he says.

Relic Design and Craft Co

The museum was sold on the idea and told Zachary he could take any of the items destined for scrap. With that, Relic Design & Craft Co was born. 

A BUSINESS IS BUILT

Relic Design & Craft Co is staffed by industrial designers, aircraft and aircraft structural technicians that have served a combined 30 years in the RAAF and ARMY. By utilising aircraft parts that would otherwise be consigned to the scrap heap, the team creates one-off sculptures and pieces of furniture with a nod to aviation history. While the COVID-19 crisis has impacted sales, Zachary says he is able to continue designing and creating these unique pieces solo in his workshop and is currently working on a conference table made from the wing of a RAAF Aermacchi plane for the Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre. 

Relic Design and Craft Co

In his spare time, Zachary also volunteers at the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre on the Sunshine Coast. He encourages other veterans in the area with an interest in aviation history to join him, saying the increased social connection with other like-minded people is helpful. Find our more information at aahcqld.org.au. Although taking to the skies might be on hold right now, Zachary dreams of seeing a Relic Design & Craft Co piece in the Brisbane Airport departure lounge. “When I can fly to visit my family again, I would love to see my work displayed in Australian airports and being enjoyed by the public,” he says. 

Visit relicdesignco.com to learn more about this unique, veteran-owned and operated business. 

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  • Veteran stories