Grown furniture : a move towards design for sustainability
This thesis deals with the proposal that environmentally benign items of free standing furniture may be produced by the use of such well established techniques as training and grafting natural tree growth to shape. The project has been driven by the growing environmental concerns of which mankind has become aware in the late twentieth century, and which are starting to exert such a powerful influence in the twenty first. A broad history of man's use and control of natural tree growth, ranging geographically from Europe to Australia, and in size from hand held agricultural picks to eighteenth century sailing ships, is followed by a brief description of the ways in which the explosive increase in world popuanon. together with the expanding industrial activities of the Western consumer society, are feared to be threatening the stability of the natural environment. The various disasters and catastrophic accidents which have brought this situation to the attention of the general public are briefly surveyed, together with National, International and a range of Industrial responses. As one of the professions most closely concerned with the production of consumer items, the various reactions of the Design Community are similarly examined. In conclusion, the author's proposal for an experimental item of furnitureenvironmentally benign in production, use and disposal - is described and illustrated. A simple free standing three legged stool, the form of both the item itself and that of the jig required to control it's growth, are described and illustrated. The growth of examples of this, carried out on three sites across southern Britain are documented, experimental results reported and discussed. A further range of designs suitable to be produced using this method of controlling and grafting natural growth is proposed, and suggestions made for further experimentation.