Future of the Environment

This UK furniture maker doesn’t build chairs, it grows them

Shaping the trees as they grow Image: Full Grown

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Future of the Environment

Let’s say you’re in the market for a wooden armchair. If you stop to think about how it has been made, you’d expect the wood to come from a big tree that’s been cut down, sawn up and fitted together.

That’s not what happens on Gavin Munro’s furniture farm.

Have you read?

On 2.5 acres in England’s Peak District, the co-founder of Full Grown and his colleagues plant, train and prune young tree branches into the shape of a chair, lampshade or table. Each piece is then harvested, dried out, and planed before it’s ready for sale.


Munro says force-growing a tree, cutting it down and making it into smaller bits that can come unstuck once they’ve been glued back together “seems like an absolute waste”. Full Grown’s idea is to grow the tree into the shape it wants and then graft it into one solid piece. “It's a kind of zen 3D printing,” he says.

 It takes the company four to eight years to produce a specially grown chair.
Image: Full Grown

Because of the effort involved in producing the furniture, Full Grown is only a small-scale solution to slowing deforestation. And with a pricetag of £10,000, these chairs are never going to be mainstream.

But it is one of several schemes demonstrating there is an alternative to logging.

In Berlin, Geyersbach makes furniture out of wood reclaimed from local buildings.

German recycled furniture company Geyersbach uses wood reclaimed from local buildings.
Image: Geyersbach

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about deforestation?

The platform beds produced by US company Thuma are crafted from upcycled, repurposed rubberwood – and Thuma plants a tree every time a bed is purchased.

Trees play a vital role in slowing climate change. Deforestation and forest degradation cause at least 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, we cut down around 15 billion trees a year.

Fields for thought

Full Grown is currently growing 250 chairs, 100 lamps and 50 tables, and hopes to have a full harvest in 2022, with help from a crowdfunding campaign.

 Full Grown’s lamps are grown from willow.
Image: Full Grown

It takes close to 10 years to produce each piece, and they are already working on an order that will be ready in 2030.

It’s a chair for a customer’s retirement.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Future of the EnvironmentSustainable DevelopmentForestsClimate Crisis
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