When Gavin Munro was playing in his garden as a young boy, he noticed that an overgrown bonsai tree had the distinct appearance of a chair. Soon after, he got a spinal graft, requiring him to wear a back brace to heal and align his bones: “There were long periods of staying still, plenty of time to observe everything going on and reflect” he recalls.
Today Munro is creating a farm where planted trees can be grown around braces and harvested as fully formed chairs, sculptures, lamps, and tables.
While working on a series of tables and chairs made from driftwood, Munro began to wonder about the cycle of waste. What if instead of chopping down a 50 year old tree into small parts, expending more energy along each step of the way, he could grow the trees directly into their forms? Munro imagined a more efficient process: he’d plant trees, train and graft their shoots around frames, leave pieces to thicken for a few years, and then harvest, plane, and polish.
“It was only after doing this project for a few years a friend pointed out that I must know exactly what it’s like to be shaped and grafted on a similar time scale” the designer says.