Tuesday, 14 April 2015 05:56

How to grow your own furniture

How to grow your own furniture: Eco-friendly designer uses special moulds to guide branches into ready-made chairs, tables and lampshades - See more at: http://www.floridanewstime.com/regional/99142-how-to-grow-your-own-furniture-eco-friendly-designer-uses-special-moulds-to-guide-branches-into-ready-made-chairs,-tables-and-lampshades.html#sthash.2U17eZkl.dpuf
Trees Patiently Grown into Art and Furniture
Using ancient techniques combined with modern technology we grow, graft, nurture then harvest living trees into Chairs, Tables, Sculpture – anything you can imagine.
Each piece is unique, epitomising elegant cooperation between nature and craftsmen that could last for hundreds of years.
A Statement, an Heirloom and a Legacy.
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    These Molded Trees Grow Into Fully Formed Chairs, Tables, And Lamps
     
    U.K.-based company Full Grown offers a simpler, more eco-friendly way to manufacture wooden furniture with their forest of chairs and tables.
    Making wooden furniture from scratch is a complicated process: you grow a tree for 60 or more years, only to chop it down, peel off its bark, cut it up into little pieces, and then finally join it all back together into a whole new shape. When such furniture is mass-manufactured, the process is hard on the environment. It wastes wood, and uses lots of energy for powering trucks, chainsaws, and factories.
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    Gavin Munro, a furniture designer based in Derbyshire, England, has found a simpler and more eco-friendly way to create wooden furniture: he uses 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. Once they’ve matured, each tree has morphed into a fully functional furniture item made from a single piece of wood, no sawing or assembling necessary. Munro’s company, called Full Grown, aims to "rethink our relationship with trees and time," as the designer writes in an email.
    Full Grown is currently tending a small furniture forest of 400 trees in a field north of Derby. "If we want the beauty of wood in our furniture, why do we bother growing trees for more than 60 years, only to chop them up into little bits?" Munro says.
    After studying furniture design at university, "I 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," Munro says. Inspiration came when he was making driftwood furniture on a beach in San Francisco, and realized "it makes more sense to grow trees directly into objects." He remembered noticing the shape of a throne in an overgrown bonsai tree as a child, and then having to learn patience while sitting in a metal frame, waiting for a spinal fusion graft to heal. These memories formed the seed for Full Grown.
Using this method, growing an individual tree into a complete chair takes anywhere from four to eight 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." He likens the process to "a kind of organic 3D printing that uses air, soil and sunshine as its source material." After the tree has grown into the shape they want, they continue to nurture it as it thickens and matures before harvesting it in the winter. It's then planed and finished to show off the wood and grain inside. Each piece is as utterly unique as an individual tree.
Even though the basic process is simple, neatly organizing a small forest is not without its challenges. Munro is only making 50 or so pieces a year, but for every 100 trees you grow, there are a 1,000 branches you need to care for and 10,000 shoots you have to prune at the right time. "It’s an art-form in itself keeping track of everything," Munro says.
They’re still growing now, but when harvested and finished, Munro claims the chairs will be not just fully functional and ergonomic, but actually more durable and longer-lasting than current wooden furniture. Since they’re grown, grafted and fastened into one solid piece, there are no joints that loosen over time. "These could last for centuries," Munro says. "We hope and trust that this will eventually become an improvement on current methods." Still, it remains to be seen whether the model could be scalable as a method of mass-manufacturing furniture—it doesn't sound like furniture forests will be replacing IKEA factories anytime soon.
 
The first chairs will be ready for purchase mid-2017, for about $3,700 each (Munro expects potential customers to be looking for unique art pieces), and the geometric pendant lamps and mirrors frames will be ready late Spring 2016. Full Grown has a handful of pieces left for pre-order at fullgrown.co.uk. 
An ingenious British designer has come up with the ultimate environmentally-friendly way to create stunning household furniture - by letting Mother Nature do all the hard work.
Gavin Munro grows young trees into specially-designed plastic moulds, pruning and guiding the branches into shape before grafting them together to form ultra-tough joints.
Using this method he's already created several prototype pieces and has a field in Derbyshire where he's currently tending a crop of 400 tables, chairs and lampshades which he hopes to harvest next year.
Farm fresh: The field in Derbyshire where British designer Gavin Munro is growing his unique and beautiful furniture
Farm fresh: The field in Derbyshire where British designer Gavin Munro is growing his unique and beautiful furniture
Furniture farmer: Gavin Munro with a prototype wooden lampshade grown into shape using his ingenious technique
Furniture farmer: Gavin Munro with a prototype wooden lampshade grown into shape using his ingenious technique
Mr Munro, 39, a keen environmentalist, believes the technique - which has been dubbed botanical manufacturing - could one day be used to create sustainable and ecologically-sound furniture on a much larger scale.
He explains: '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 - I’m interested in the way this is like a kind of organic 3D printing that uses air, soil and sunshine as its source material. 
'After it's grown into the shape we want, we continue to care and nurture the tree as 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.'
Crops: A row of willow dining chairs growing directly into shape which Mr Munro hopes to have ready by 2017 
Sustainable: A chair takes shape
A table grown using Mr Munro's ingenious technique
Sustainable: A chair takes shape, left, while Mr Munro is also growing tables, right, and working on more ambitious designs 
Form and function: The technique creates furniture which is not only beautiful to look at but extremely strong too
Working together with his wife Alice, Mr Munro mainly uses strong, fast-growing willow for his designs but is also experimenting with ash, sycamore, hazel, crab apple, sessile oak and red oak.
He had the original idea while working as a gardener in San Francisco and making furniture from driftwood in his spare time.
Remembering an old over-grown bonsai tree in his mother's garden when he was child which resembled a throne, he decided it would be faster to grow furniture directly rather chopping a mature tree into bits.
As well as avoiding the need for nails, fixings and machinery, the designs should last longer than traditionally-made chairs as they don't have the weak points around the joins.
Wife Alice, 40, explains: 'Just like a broken bone will be a lot stronger where it heals, the points where the wood is grafted are extremely strong. 
The field in Derbyshire where the unusual crop is growing. Mr Munro hopes it will be ready to harvest next year
The field in Derbyshire where the unusual crop is growing. Mr Munro hopes it will be ready to harvest next year
A row of recently cropped lamp shades  in Mr Munro's Derbyshire field. The technique has been dubbed Botanical Manufacturing
A row of recently cropped lamp shades in Mr Munro's Derbyshire field. The technique has been dubbed Botanical Manufacturing
Technique: Grafting the wood together creates stronger joints than traditionally-made furniture which means they should last longer 
'It means you don't have joints which come lose like with a traditionally made chair so they should last a whole lot longer.'
The first prototypes were grown in Alice's mother's garden before Alice persuaded her husband to give up working as a gardener and web designer and focus on the project full time. 
Mr Munro, who has named his company Full Grown, has already harvested chairs, a table and lampshades and is currently working on more complex designs including a bookshelf and a chest of drawers.
But it's not simply a matter of setting up the molds and sitting back and letting the trees grow into shape. The technique involves copious amounts of pruning, coppicing and grafting.
Tragedy struck early on when a herd of cows rampaged through the field damaging many of the young trees. 
But the Munros recovered and weather-permitting they hope to have their first big crop harvested in 2016 and ready for sale in 2017.
Most of the pieces have already been pre-ordered with the chairs selling for £2,500 each and the light shades priced between £1,000 and £1,500. 
Two of Mr Munro's prototype designs. He is currently planning a  bookshelf and a chest of drawers
Finished articles: A beautiful table grown directly into shape using Mr Munro's special moulds
Finished articles: A beautiful table grown directly into shape using Mr Munro's special moulds
Mr Munro added: 'The whole process takes place over seasons and years - between four and eight years to grow a chair for example.
'But when you look at how long and how much effort it actually takes us now to go from having no tree to final wooden object then you realise that the craft we’re a part of developing is not just more cooperative with the natural world; it has an elegant efficiency all of it own. 
'I’m only making 50 or so pieces a year but for every 100 trees you grow there are a 1,000 branches you need to care for and 10,000 shoots you have to prune at the right time.  It’s an art-form in itself keeping track of everything.'
- See more at: http://www.floridanewstime.com/regional/99142-how-to-grow-your-own-furniture-eco-friendly-designer-uses-special-moulds-to-guide-branches-into-ready-made-chairs,-tables-and-lampshades.html#sthash.2U17eZkl.dpuf
How to grow your own furniture: Eco-friendly designer uses special moulds to guide branches into ready-made chairs, tables and lampshades - See more at: http://www.floridanewstime.com/regional/99142-how-to-grow-your-own-furniture-eco-friendly-designer-uses-special-moulds-to-guide-branches-into-ready-made-chairs,-tables-and-lampshades.html#sthash.2U17eZkl.dpuf
Read 1858 times Last modified on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 06:13

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