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Designer Breaks the Mold to "Harvest" Chairs As They Grow

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Making wooden furniture requires a lot of time and energy, especially when you get frustrated by those stupid Ikea hex wrenches. A tree grows in a forest for years, even decades, chainsaws cut it down, trucks take the wood to the factory and then workers and craftsman reshape it into something new. Furniture designer Gavin Munro, the founder of Derbyshire, England's Full Grown, has found a way to make nature do all the work while eliminating much of the waste—he literally harvests furniture, utilizing an intricate system of plastic moulds that force trees to grow in the shape of a squiggly chair or coiled lamp. Each piece comes from a single chunk of wood and requires no joins, nails or cuts.

Munro describes his method as persuasion, not manipulation. Inspired by a bonsai tree that outgrew itself to look like a throne, Munro's system has been dubbed "botanical manufacturing," with each willow, oak, ash or sycamore tree planted to grow into a specific piece. He argues his way is more sustainable than traditional practices because it requires less labor and machinery. Those wanting to try out Munro's furniture need to be patient, though not as patient as the designer. The first official harvest of 400 trees, which have been growing for four years, will be cut in October.

· The Innovators: growing solid wooden furniture without the joins [The Guardian]
· All Furniture posts [Curbed National]