Have you ever heard about ‘organic 3D printing’? No? Well, this brilliant designer will introduce you to a revolutionary approach to furniture design. He creates tree furniture straight from the ground up by growing the pieces from the ground. Yes, you read that right. He is able to make chairs and tables without having to chop down mature trees. And all without the need to saw and nail the pieces of wood together.
For being a relatively lightweight yet extremely resilient material, wood outperforms even steel when it comes to furniture design. Furthermore, wood is the only building material made from sun, rain and carbon from the air. Thus, making it the most environmentally-friendly and infinitely renewable raw material. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. But designer Gavin Munro pushes the boundaries of traditional furniture design with his groundbreaking technique called Full Grown. With this ingenious method, he can create wooden furniture that comes out as finished pieces straight from the ground.
A designer introduces a technique that can grow tree furniture from the ground up
This new technique involves strategically planting trees and grafting them as they mature. The wood parts are then shaped into specific structures in the shape of chairs, tables and lamps. So, they come out as pieces of furniture when harvested. As we stated earlier, these furniture pieces don’t require assembly as they are already shaped into functional furnishings. The outcome is beautiful sculptural pieces mostly produced by natural elements with minimal human intervention.
Munro originally entertained the concept of growing tree furniture from childhood when he saw a bonsai in the shape of a chair. But he only took the idea seriously a few years later, when his illness forced him to stay at a hospital. Munro was aware that the technique would entail an extreme level of patience as the entire process would take years to see an actual result. But he pushed through with this innovation anyway.
“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 into one solid piece. I’m interested in the way that this is like an organic 3D printing that uses air, soil and sunshine as its source materials,” Munro explains. “After it’s grown into the shape we want, we continue to care for and nurture the tree, while it thickens and matures, before harvesting it in the winter and then letting it season and dry. It’s then a matter of planing and finishing to show off the wood and grain inside.”
Designer Gavin Munro and his Spiral Hexagon Pendant Lamp
Full Grown’s Willow Chair Becomes a Permanent Piece in the National Museum of Scotland
The company has an open-air factory where they grow and nurture the furniture
Munro and his Full Grown team launched a Kickstarter campaign back in 2016 to make this concept a reality. The company has a four-acre open-air factory, located in the UK, with more than 3,000 trees planted and powered by the sun, rain and wind. Each piece of furniture is grown as a single piece.
They start by adding a modular frame around which the tree grows into shape. The team was able to produce 500 pieces for the first production. And one of Full Grown’s prototype, the Willow Chair, has been selected as a permanent collection piece by the National Museum of Scotland.
Watch the Full Grown story on the video below