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A Forest Of Furniture Is Growing In England

Lumber usually goes through a few stages of refinement before it's considered worthy of being used to craft furniture, but in England there's a forest where wooden lamps and chairs aren't just growing on trees- they are the trees.

Or more precisely the trees in this forest in Wirksworth, England are the furniture, because their trunks are trained into the shape of tables, chairs and lamp shades by furniture farmer Gavin Munro. (previously featured on Neatorama)

Gavin started his visionary furniture company Full Grown back in 2006 as a way to change how people think about furniture manufacturing, knowing his business would take at least a decade to get off the ground:

It might take a day to assemble enough flat-pack furniture to fill a house, but the timber cut down to make it all needs decades to grow. Even the cheapest wooden chairs require a wealth of time to create. Munro’s big idea was that he would guide trees to grow into chairs, tables, and lamps that could be harvested right out of a field. The trees, selected for their ability to grow new sprouts from their stumps, would regenerate. His forest would yield furniture the way an orchard yields apples. ...

The chairs grow upside-down, their four legs stretching up toward the sky. Lound grabs hold of one that’s almost ready for harvest. “It’s thickening up at the right level,” he says, as if describing a prized farm animal. “It’s just level and sturdy. If you do that”—he shakes the branch—“the whole tree moves.”

We’re looking at one of the most promising chairs in the field, which represents years of trial and error. According to Munro’s original plan, the first crop of chairs should have been harvested by 2016, but most of the pieces, more than 500 in all, are still in the field, including a row of squat, spiral lamps planned as a quick cash crop. “Making trees do what they don’t want to do is really bad, and see how shallow we’ve laid these branches?” says Lound, pointing at one of the lamps. “That’s not what a tree wants to do.”

Read A Forest Of Furniture Is Growing In England at Atlas Obscura

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