You Can Now Grow Furniture In A Field

An England designer creates innovative design.

A designer from Derbyshire in northern England has hit upon an innovative way to create fully-formed, one of a kind, furniture items by growing them straight out of the ground.

The process starts by training and pruning tree branches as they grow into shape around a specially made mould, with branches grafted together at certain points to build a solid piece of furniture that can eventually be harvested when mature.

Gavin Munro, who first began experimenting with tree growing in 2006, said the technique he has cultivated over the years is actually a more efficient use of resources than current methods for making furniture.

Munro stated from his 2.5 acre ‘Furniture Field’ that “The process that we go through to make a chair nowadays, the way we have been doing, is almost ridiculous. We grow these trees for sixty years before they are worth cutting down, and then we make them into smaller and smaller bits, only to stick them back together again in ways that can only ever come loose over time. And all the energy and all the driving around of all these bits and all the things that you need to make… why do all of that?”

The first pieces were grown from a type of willow salix viminalis because it shapes and grafts particularly well. Since 2013, Munro and his team have been growing furniture from a variety of other tree species, including ash, sycamore, hazel, crabapple and oak.

Successfully coaxing a tree into the correct shape was a task that took Munro years to perfect. His first chair prototypes were trained to grow the normal way up, but Munro soon realized that growing a chair more effectively meant turning it on its head.

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