Three Characteristics of Wood

This post is about reclaiming materials and energy. Each project is explained more in depth below.

What I love about the designs that Cappello and Maya Lin have developed, the wood takes on a collage look. However, Cappello’s looks more functional.

The Idea of the Tree by Viennese designers Mischer’Traxler fascinates me because one bench or lamp shade is made a day. The machine starts at sunrise and ends at sunset. The more sunlight, the darker and thinner the bench is in that “moment”. The Idea of the Tree is similar to my previous post about Quipu and 3-D records of Inca History by using knots, except now the bench is a record of the weather shown through thickness of material.

Fabien Cappello had a projected posted on dezeen today. His project’s nature was reclaiming Christmas Trees to make furniture. Every part was used, even the needles!

Cappello harvested timber from the 1.8 million Christmas trees discarded on the streets of London each January.The trunks become timber, the branches became dowels, and the needles became a new compressed board material. Cappello says the project is not about waste collection or recycling, but rather how people integrate with urban environments.
Here are more details from Cappello:

This project is build up around the waste generated by the Christmas industry. There is 1.8 millions Christmas trees in the street of London in January. I took advantage of this huge amount of wood shipped every year in the city. I collected these trees and treated them with basic wood tools that one could find in any local timber wood shop in London. I used the trunk of the tree and the wooden tree stand as wood, the small branches as dowels and I made a new material out of the needles. For the first collection I created a serie of small occasional piece of furniture, that can, because of their scale, go easily in the homes and broadcast the aesthetic and the vision of the project. I like to imagine, at a next stage, that temporary Christmas tree farm could use wasted space in the inner London. (e.g. a space waiting for refurbishment.) The open farm would provide a little greenery and Christmas trees for the local community and an ‘extra-local’ wood.

Maya Lin is featured in the Cooper Hewitt in a show called “Design for a Living World”.

Design for a Living World asks us to think about the products we use- where they come from, how they are made and the impacts they have on our planet. The Nature Conservancy invited ten designers to create new objects from sustainable materials sourced from around the world. Wood, plants, wool and other organic materials were transformed into intriguing objects, revealing extraordinary stories about regeneration and the human connection to the Earth’s lands and waters. Together, designers and consumers can reshape our materials economy and help advance a global conservation ethic by choosing sustainable materials that support, rather than deplete, endangered places.

FSC-Certified Red Maple.
Maya Lin ccreated striking piece of furniture that highlights the beauty of an individual tree. For her piece, Maya Lin used red maple harvested from The Nature Conservancy’s Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)- certified property along the Upper St. John River in Main. All forests certified by the FSC must balance the economic use of working forests with the stewardship of biological diversity. Protecting the forest also preserves its long-term economic value.
Rather than use milled lumber or flat sheet goods to make a plane, she pieced together lateral slices of timber to create an irregular plinth with a broken, wave like surface. Lin’s Terra bench is a poetic rumination on how the vertical landscape of the forest is cut and aligned for use for seating, tables and other functional objects


Viennese designers Mischer’Traxler have created a solar-powered machine that makes furniture, with the shape and colour of each product determined by the amount of sunlight available during manufacture. The machine, called The Idea of a Tree, makes benches, containers and lamp shades by drawing thread through a tank of dye followed by a tank of resin, then wrapping it around a mould that’s rotated by a solar-powered machine. The speed at which the machine spins the mould and draws the thread is dictated by the amount of sunlight falling on it; the portion of a component made during a cloudy period will be darker and thinner than that made in bright sunshine.Each piece takes one whole day to make and the resulting variations in thickness and colour-saturation along its length record the variations in daylight and shadow falling on it throughout the day. The machine automatically starts at sunrise and stops at sunset; an item made in the winter will be shorter than one made in summer.


you could use the bandsaw


2 Responses to “Three Characteristics of Wood”

  1. 1 cmuarch2013student
    2009/07/03 at 12:32 pm

    color, hardness… and hardness

  2. 2 Liza
    2009/07/04 at 12:07 pm

    long live Scott Smith

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