Wood-based furniture is usually made with timber, nails or metal fittings and glue. Over time, inherent weak points cause joints to fail, requiring us to repair or replace our favorite easy chair or dining room set. That’s the way it’s always been. Until now.
Lampshades “growing” around formers, photo by Full Grown
For the past nine years, Gavin Munro and his UK-based company Full Grown has worked with trees to nurture them, shaping them into one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture that could last for decades. Using ancient techniques married with modern technology, his living trees grow to become chairs, tables, sculpture, whatever you may fancy.
Over the course of three to eight years, Munro coaxes trees over and around plastic forms, weaving and interlacing each branch to become a solid unit. Tendrils slowly become entwined legs, stiles, rails, and stretchers that result in a completely-formed piece of furniture.Once the shape of the tree is achieved and it reaches the desired size and thickness- after pruning, training and preserving the tree’s health – the “furniture” is harvested in winter, then allowed to season and dry for a number of months. The surfaces that will become the arms and seat will then be planed, revealing the deep wood grain and its beauty.
The harvested chair, photo by Full Grown
Munro uses Willow, Ash, Sycamore, Hazel, Crab Apple, Sessile Oak and Red Oak for his masterpieces. His process dramatically reduces the energy used to create his furniture and the amount of water used. Trees aren’t sawed down, chopped up, carted away or milled, making this furniture as eco-friendly as you could dream of. Munro’s furniture isn’t yet available for sale but expect the first commercially-available chairs to be ready for sale by around mid-2017. Each piece will be marked with a Certificate of Provenance. And won’t they be real conversation starters!