Skip the Factory: These Trees Grow into Furniture

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Figuring that the longest part of wooden furniture construction is waiting for the tree to grow, Derbyshire, UK based furniture designer, Gavin Munro, has come up with an ingenious solution to speed things up. By rigging the trees into specially designed plastic frames to mold young willow, oak, ash and sycamore trees into the shape of chairs, tables, frames, or lamps as they’re growing, the company is effectively able to skip the wood preparation and construction steps to produce some amazingly unique pieces.

The mass production of furniture is riddled with issues. Despite the deforestation that takes place during cultivation, the mass-manufacturing process itself is hard on the environment, wasting a significant amount of wood, and consuming its fair chair of energy. (Pun intended.) While the simple, Eco-friendly process is easier on the earth, they do still take a bit of time. Trees mature in their rigs, and come out as a fully functioning piece of furniture made from a single piece wood; no cutting, gluing or assembling required.

According to an email written to FastCo Design, Munro’s company, called Full Grown, aims to “rethink our relationship with trees and time.” After studying furniture design at university, Munro “was left with the desire not just to make things as beautifully as I could, but to make the whole manufacturing process—from acquiring the raw material to finished piece—as simple and elegant as possible, too.” Using his method, growing an individual tree into a complete chair takes anywhere from 4 to 8 years. “In essence, it’s an incredibly simple art,” he says. “You start by training and pruning young tree branches as they grow over specially made formers. At certain points we then graft them together so that the object grows in to one solid piece.”

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The project was inspired by a bonsai throne the designer visited as a child and the patience he learned while waiting for a spinal fusion graft to heal. The resulting work is a collection that borders on unique art pieces – and retails with a price tag to match. Ready from late spring 2016 through mid-2017, each unique grown chair will sell for about $3,700 each.

Read more here.

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Category: Spotlight