THE next time you sit on a wooden chair, don’t be surprised to discovered that the chair has been ‘grown’ and not manufactured in a factory. No nails, fixings or machinery are used in creating the furniture.
This novel way of creating or growing extraordinary household chairs and tables is the brainchild of British designer Gavin Munro who not only challenges the way we create products, but believes in letting Mother Nature do all the hard work.
As a young boy growing up in England, he noticed that his mother had a bonsai tree which was left to grow in its own direction. It eventually formed itself into the shape of a throne. He was intrigued by the idea of a chair being created directly from nature.
However, it was only when he moved to California – to get a degree in Furniture Design, an apprenticeship to a cabinet-maker and a long stint building with natural materials – that the idea of ‘growing’ furniture as a business took firm root. While in San Francisco, he spent his free time crafting furniture from driftwood, but the thought of his mother’s bonsai plant never left him. If a bonsai plant could grow into a chair shape, why not other furniture, he thought.
Returning to England, he founded his firm, Full Grown, in 2006, with one goal in mind – to create the world’s most eco-friendly furniture design company. “My chairs and tables are formed from one solid piece of wood. No joints, no nails, no weak points and no unnecessary waster.” he said in an interview recently in the Architectural Digest magazine.
How are these grown furniture made? He trains and prunes young tree branches as they grow over specially designed plastic moulds or formers. At certain points he grafts them together so that they object grows in to one solid piece.
The whole process of growing a chair can take between 4 and 8 years. Using this method, he’s already created several prototype pieces and has a whole field of willow trees in Derbyshire where he, his wife and their teams are currently tending a crop of 500 tables, chairs and lampshades which Munro hopes to harvest next year. It takes an immense amount of patience to get the job done. For every 100 trees, there are at least 1,000 branches that grow with them that must be shaped, coaxed and cared for. Also, the shoots must be trimmed at the right time to preserve the health of the tree while maintaining the desired shape.
‘Growing’ furniture is not a new concept. In fact, the ancient Greeks and Egyptians grew stools while the Chinese were known to dig holes and grow tree roots through the gaps of chair-shaped rocks.
As the first commercially-available chairs are expected to be ready for sale by mid 2017. Munro is in discussions with a few galleries. Other items such as geometric lamps and mirror frames, are expected to be available in the later part of this year.
As a final note to all Investors and Inventors, stay tuned for the latest inventions showcase at ITEX 2017? Haven mark your dates yet, fraid not! Pre-register now by CLICKING HERE.
Image Designed by www.fullgrown.co.uk