Let’s say you’re in the market for a wooden armchair. If you stop to think about how it has been made, you’d expect the wood to come from a big tree that’s been cut down, sawn up and fitted together.
That’s not what happens on Gavin Munro’s furniture farm.
Munro says force-growing a tree, cutting it down and making it into smaller bits that can come unstuck once they’ve been glued back together “seems like an absolute waste”. Full Grown’s idea is to grow the tree into the shape it wants and then graft it into one solid piece. “It’s a kind of zen 3D printing,” he says.
Because of the effort involved in producing the furniture, Full Grown is only a small-scale solution to slowing deforestation. And with a price tag of £10,000, these chairs are never going to be mainstream.
But it is one of several schemes demonstrating there is an alternative to logging.
In Berlin, Geyersbach makes furniture out of wood reclaimed from local buildings.
The platform beds produced by US company Thuma are crafted from upcycled, repurposed rubberwood – and Thuma plants a tree every time a bed is purchased.
Fields for thought
Full Grown is currently growing 250 chairs, 100 lamps and 50 tables, and hopes to have a full harvest in 2022, with help from a crowdfunding campaign.
It takes close to 10 years to produce each piece, and they are already working on an order that will be ready in 2030.
It’s a chair for a customer’s retirement.