Nowadays, sustainable design is a hot topic, so growing furniture in-sync with nature might seem something quite revolutionary. Still, the natural world has always provided us with everything we need. Not only when it comes to natural and indispensable resources but also in terms of materials and utensils, already from prehistoric times.
Last summer, I visited the museum dedicated to Ötzi, the glacier mummy from 5300 years ago. One of the most significant discoveries was how well equipped he was, considering he lived during the Copper Age. He had a wide range of utensils and clothing, everything taken from nature. An item that struck me was a birch-bark container.
Full Grown is a company that creates a sustainable design by growing furniture from trees. Although it seems a radical approach if compared to the traditional way of furniture production, it has a close relation with ancient times and promotes a way of living in-sync with nature.
Gavin Munron, the founder of Full Grown, came with the idea of challenging the way products are made. He started growing furniture, such as chairs, tables, and lamps, by forcing the trees to grow in a mold. The result is very organic and has a tactile appeal, yet with a particular art nouveau flair. A sort of natural 3D printing, the process uses air, sun, soil, and dedication I like to add. The whole growing process takes between 4 to 8 years. Along the process, they realized that if trees are not happy, it is impossible to forced to grow them in a specific direction. They either die or branches pop where they want.
The process is fascinating, as involves nature, craft, and time; the latter an ingredient that often we don’t have. If you find this type of sustainable design fascinating and how the furniture grows in sync with nature interesting, you can visit the Furniture Orchard and witness with your eyes the first harvest in 2022-2023.
Illustration by Geoff Diego Litherland.