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Growing Chairs from Trees: Gavin Munro’s Amazing Furniture

Growing Chairs from Trees: Gavin Munro’s Amazing Furniture
Jun 23, 2021 gnuworld
chairs from trees

There’s nothing new about wooden furniture – but Gavin Munro doesn’t make chairs. He grows chairs, from trees.

Munro has made a name for himself by coaxing young trees into the shapes of chairs and other furniture as they grow. In each case, the end result is a stunning and truly unique piece of furniture.

Zen 3D printing

Munro uses what he calls Zen 3D printing to grow furniture from trees. The trees are strategically shaped over time, to create chairs and other décor items.

Munro says he first got the idea as a child. He saw a bonsai in the garden that had spontaneously grown into the shape of a chair.

chairs from trees frames

Image source: BBC

Years later, when he needed back surgery to correct his spine, he began to think about how trees could be manipulated, changing their shape over time.

Open-air factory

The process of growing a chair or table takes a lot of patience. Getting a complete item of furniture can take from 6 to 9 years, with an extra year for drying time.

Gavin’s outdoor “factory” is a sight to behold, with rows of trees in an open field.

chairs from trees open air factory

Image source: Inhabitat

The young trees are slowly encouraged to follow the shapes of frames, which will determine their final shapes.

chairs from trees process

Image source: My Modern Met

“We grow the trees, shaping them as they go along, it’s a little bit like espalier – the process of training trees,” says Gavin.

“When they’ve formed the specific shape we want, they’re cut down and dried out, giving you a finished chair that has grown into one solid piece.”

Full Grown

Some of Gavin’s first items of furniture were made from driftwood that he would find on the beach.

With each new piece of ocean-worn wood, a unique piece of furniture would be born, not unlike his grown furniture items.

chairs from trees gavin and alice

Image source: BBC

Gavin and Alice Munro first planted trees as an experiment in about 2008, just to see if it would work. From there, the company Full Grown was born in 2013 and their first official harvest happened in 2014.

One-of-a-kind furniture

It’s rare for an item to be truly one of a kind, especially something you can buy but Full Grown’s chairs are truly unique and demand is understandably growing. Currently, their commissions are fully booked until 2030.

Even their “off the rack” items, so to speak, will only be available again at the next harvest which will be 2022 or 2023.

chairs from trees lampshade

Image source: My Modern Met

In the future, however, they hope to expand their operations so they can have more regular harvests and their chairs and furniture can become more accessible.

At K-Mark, we love interesting chairs. We can’t compete with these unique chairs but we do manufacture proudly South African office chairs and other office furniture that’s stylish, comfortable and reasonably priced. Browse our online catalogue to find out more or contact us for a quote.