Wooden furniture has a beauty and mystique unlike any other, which inevitably stems from having once been a unique, living organism. But current production processes are both time consuming and wasteful: trees are grown for around 50 years, before being chopped and reassembled in often unstable ways. Offering an eco-friendly alternative, artist and designer Gavin Munro founded the Full Grown furniture farm in Derbyshire — where chairs, lamps and more are grown from willow, oak, ash and sycamore trees, and will be harvested whole in the coming years.
Munro began planting his creations on a one-hectare field in Derbyshire in 2006. Each piece is assigned a plastic mould which encourages the tree to grow into the desired shape — whether that be a seat or a mirror frame. The young trees are shaped around them by bending the growing tips. Later, as they develop, Munro and his team preen, shave and guide the tree — so that it grows as one solid piece of wood. Once the shape if formed the trees are left to thicken and mature — all the while emitting oxygen and absorbing CO2 — making it an infinitely more eco-friendly process than mass-manufacture, which uses a vast amount of energy and resource.
There are currently 400 items of furniture growing and the first to be harvested will be the lamps and mirror frames, which will then be processed and put on sale in spring 2016. Each piece will be unique and Munro hopes they will be viewed as a work of art and an investment. Chairs are expected to be exhibited in 2017 and sold for approximately GBP 2,500.
What else could be grown using botanical manufacturing?