Extreme recycler and star of The Salvager, and the follow up Le Salvager - his own series for
Discovery Real Time. Each show sees him knock up something weird and wonderful
from the most unlikely mix of rubbish and reclamation – such as a TV/DVD entertainment
unit that was once a galvanised water tank and two 50s fire extinguishers.
Inspired by his upbringing in the East End
of London in the 1950s, Rico spent his time salvaging from ruined houses and
factories around him. When he’s not up to his elbows in rubbish, Rico likes
nothing more than a spot of fire-breathing, axe-throwing or knocking out a tune
on his blues harmonica.
Rico Daniels IS The Salvager - star of his
own series for Discovery Home and Leisure, and the second series shot
in and around his home in France,
aptly named Le Salvager.
He was born and brought up in the East end
of London, in
the post war fifties. To him, the ruined houses and factories were a paradise
of useful and wonderful stuff that in the hands of inventive boys could be
turned into almost anything - a sheet of rusty corrugated iron could become a
sledge for example. The day a rag and bone man paid Rico 17 pence for a sack of
lead he knew that waste material had a real value. Since that day, he has never
been far from a bag of brass, copper or lead, as his emergency fund. At 15 Rico
took a Saturday job, which earned him enough money to indulge himself at the
local flea market. - African spears, fossils, old records were all sold to an
excited boy with a bedroom that looked more like a museum with every passing
day. He rapidly learned that broken objects, ever easily fixable, were always
On leaving school he dipped his toe into
the job market, first as a civil servant which introduced him to a life of
abject boredom, and then he become an art student, but hated formal art
training. He began trading a market stalls, from Brick Lane to Camden Market and his
favourite sources of stock were from the auctions of rural Essex.
He bought items that required modifying in some way, maybe it was a dresser
base that needed stripping and a new top, maybe a table with wonky legs and a
missing drawer. In the lean-to at the end of his garden, he dismantled, cleaned
and re-glued. He sanded or stripped layers of old gloss paint, made from
scratch and re-assembled. In the process he began to understand the technology
woodwork and learned the techniques to age new wood and merge it invisibly with
the old. He also discovered aesthetics. What attracted buyers?
Eventually demand outstripped supply and
Rico set up production of furniture made from scratch. He climbed into a
thousand skips and raked over unsightly heaps of junk. The only certain way to
obtain enough supplies was from salvage yards. Once he discovered these
treasure troves he became locked into the lifestyle and The Salvager was here
Each show of The Salvager sees him knock up
something weird and wonderful from the most unlikely mix of rubbish and
reclamation. The results of his extreme recycling - his storage unit made out
of doors and fruit crates, for instance - are quite something. And even wackier
is his coffee table using concrete and 30 tin tea caddies. Then there is a
TV/DVD entertainment unit that was once a galvanised water tank and two 50s
Rico has recently won a gold and silver
award in the US
for his amazing trailer for The Salavger shown on the Discovery channel. Rico
found all the locations, styled his jeep and scripted the ad himself.
And when he's not up to his elbows in
rubbish, Rico likes nothing more than a spot of fire-breathing, axe-throwing or
knocking out a tune on his blues harmonica. He's also an amateur historian with
a special interest in the poor of 19th Century London and Jack the Ripper.