The most common way of producing wooden furniture is fairly straightforward: grow the proper trees for a few decades, chop ’em down, cut them into smaller pieces and assemble the pieces into a chair. Derbyshire-based furniture designer Gavin Munro wondered if he could try a wholly different approach: what if he could just grow chairs? What if trees could be forced to grow in chair-like shapes and through strategic sculpting and grafting result in an annual “chair harvest.” After a lengthy years-long trial in his mother’s garden and a sturdy proof-of-concept, Full Grown was born.
Munro points out that the idea of growing furniture actually dates back millennia. The Chinese were known to dig holes to fill with chair-shaped rocks and had tree roots grow through the gaps, while the Egyptians and Greeks had a method for growing small stools. But Full Grown appears to be on a scale entirely of its own, with an entire farm destined to be harvested into chairs, assorted light fixtures, and other unusual objects. He shares a bit about the process which can take between 4 to 8 years:
In essence it’s an incredibly simple art. 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. 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.
Full Grown’s first prototype willow chair has already found its way into the permanent collection at the National Museum of Scotland, and Munro and his team just launched a Kickstarter to help them bridge the gap in the final year before their first harvest, nearly 11 years in the making. You can learn more on their website.
Although London-based designer Veega Tankun has only just graduated from the University of Brighton, she clearly possesses a strong sense of aesthetic and understanding of materials as evidenced in these comfy looking oversized stuffed knit chairs. Tankun says that she’s fascinated with rejuvenating old techniques in her design practice, bringing modern materials and color palettes to traditional production methods. “Traditional doesn’t always have to mean old and outdated, the trick is to make something that we know new and exciting again,” she shares.
This chunky chair is just one Tankun’s latest creations, you can explore more of her work on Design Milk and Instagram. Some of her pieces will also be on view at London’s Top Drawer starting next month.
In an installation titled Tails from 2006, Tatiana Blass (previously), presented several wooden chairs and other sculptural objects that seem to melt into the ground. The works merge with the floor through additions of specifically cut lacquered wood or fiber glass, solid forms that give the illusion of both brightly colored and woodgrain patterned liquid. The Brazilian artist is represented by Galeria Millan in Sao Paulo. You can see more of her past and present works on her website.
Collaborative duo No Studio, comprised of Polish artists Magda Szwajcowska and Michal Majewski, have placed several architectural interventions in their native city of Wrocław in an attempt to repopulate an area that has become forgotten about and neglected. The project fits site-specific chairs onto concrete stairs that lead to the city’s river, bright blue furniture that also acts as loveseat sunbeds for passersby. The pieces are installed as a part of the DOFA 2016 Lowersilesian Festival of Architecture, which is comprised of works around this year’s slogan of “Spaces for Beauty.”
If you’re looking to remodel your home or office with ultimate conversation starting furniture, look no further than the 737 Cowling Chair by Fallen Furniture. The behemoth chair is made from a genuine Boeing 737 engine cowling that sits atop a spun aluminum base in the same orientation you would find on an airplane and measures nearly 6.5′ square. It’s hard not to compare the curvy space age design to something Eero Saarinen might have designed. The Bath-based furniture company specializes in making functional objects from “reclaimed, authentic aircraft parts, from both military and civilian aircraft,” and you can see more of their designs on their website and on Facebook. (via Bored Panda)
The sleek build of Vespa scooters have been redesigned to remain stationary, dissected and rebuilt as office furniture. Fit for an Italian motorist, the Scooter Chair, is handmade by Spanish studio Bel & Bel in a numbered series with a large variety of color combinations to choose for your office or home. Although it may appear like a normal swivel chair from the front, when turned around you can see how the curves of the vintage Vespa parts match that of the faux leather chair to create a sleek and ergonomic design.
To further imitate their design inspiration, each chair also comes with functioning taillights. More than 200 of these up-cycled pieces have been sold around the world, and because each and every chair is built by hand, they are all certifiably unique. To understand the process of making one of Bel & Bel’s chairs, visit their blog. (My Modern Met)
Paris-based artist Baptiste Debombourg’s “Stellar” is, basically, 1200 chairs arranged to look like a rollercoaster. But what makes the installation even more hilarious is that it’s on display in Place du Bouffay, an area populated with cafés with chairs of the same design (and from which Debombourg drew his inspiration). See more images below!